Why it’s okay to make your students confused

This term, I am teaching a class that class pushes students, through trying out new tools and materials, to develop their natural drawing or painting styles in new directions. We began with abstract mark making and embracing the unknown. This experimentation was thrilling, but also nerve wrecking. It was rewarding but also frustrating. These are the extremes my students experienced, and that I tried to


March 5th, 2014 0 comments Best Practices / Intuition / Student Driven Classroom / Student engagement

So you want to be a Teaching Artist?

It’s undeniable. Teaching is one of those tricky careers in which experience is required. Which begs the question, how to do you get experience if no one will hire a teacher without experience? And as an educator and administrator, I am often point blank asked this question.

I have compiled some thoughts and tips for young artists who want to teach but aren’t sure where


October 24th, 2013 0 comments Professional Development

Teaching Reflections from Viljoenskroon South Africa

Last summer I received a small innocent e-mail from a friend of a friend asking for help spreading the word about the great NGO she worked for, Dramatic Need. That e-mail happened to reach me when I felt that I needed to experience something new, to stretch, to explore, and to expand my ideas. A year has gone by, and now I am in Viljoenskroon,


July 10th, 2013 1 comment Best Practices / Meeting our students where they are / Reflection / Teaching Artistry / Time-Based Media

The Intuition of an Assistant Teaching Artist

Although I have been teaching at Marwen for years, this spring, I was thrilled to return to the role of assistant. Before leading my own classes, I assisted a dozen different Teaching Artists over the course of a few years. Through witnessing and supporting a variety of teaching styles, I absorbed wisdom that would have taken decades to learn on my own.

This spring, I


June 17th, 2013 0 comments Intuition / Professional Development / Spotlight: Marwen Course / Time-Based Media

Pedagogy versus Andragogy

At Marwen, I teach young students, grades six through twelve. However, I also teach a wide spectrum of adults at Spudnik Press Cooperative. Previously, I taught at a long-term care facility. I have literally taught students ages 12 to 100.  Research, assessment, critical thinking, and professional development opportunities regarding how, what, when, and why young people learn is a growing field. However, I have had


March 20th, 2013 0 comments Assessment

Marwen’s First Teaching Artist: Marge Kelly

This blog entry started with curiosity about Marwen's early days. I wasn't the only one curious about this topic: Marwen's Student Advisory Board beat me to the punch with 25 @ 25, which interviews a myriad of people who have worked with Marwen over the years. Nonetheless, I was excited to interview Marge Kelly, Marwen's very first studio programs Teaching Artist who has been with


March 10th, 2013 Uncategorized

Just Seeds

In my work as a teaching artist, one goal that consistently informs the classes I teach is to enable students to feel a real connection to their surroundings. Why is this important?

I grew up in a small town in Michigan, and spent my youth playing in dirt on a potato farm. I moved to Chicago when I was 19 to study at the School


February 14th, 2013 0 comments Art practice connected to teaching practice / Meeting our students where they are / Printmaking / Spotlight: Artists

Facets of Understanding

When I recently told a friend that I have been trying to figure out the best way to incorporate assessment into my teaching practice, she dug through a binder from her graduate studies at Erikson Institute and yanked out a chart called “Performance Verbs Based on the Six Facets of Understanding”.

The chart simply lists verbs that can help us clarify precisely how we hope


March 29th, 2012 Uncategorized

Seeking the Unexpected, Unscripted and Unusual

This summer I spent two weeks at Ragdale, in Lake Forest. I was there as part of a unique residency designed specifically for teaching artists. As part of the experience, we worked with two amazingly kind and insightful individuals, Cynthia Weiss and Jorge Lucero. Cynthia and Jorge both fluidly combine the roles of artist, teacher, and administrator. They encouraged us to do the same. We


March 28th, 2012 Uncategorized

Marwen Teaching Artists' Best Practice Chart


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March 21st, 2012 Uncategorized

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