Teaching can be a difficult thing to do, and those of us who are teachers struggle at times with how to do it well. Given the educational culture that emphasizes techniques, tips and tricks to reach assessment goal it becomes even more difficult to teach with both heart and mind. I started this blog because I believe we have lost a part of our humanness as teachers, and in turn our students and all of education suffers. The arts are part of my pedagogical practice for deepening awareness by drawing upon my intuitive abilities as well as logical and linear thought processes. For me, the arts facilitate inner awareness, self-expression, increased self-knowledge and support emotional-regulation through both process and reflection. This turning inward supports and nurtures my inner life as a teacher. It is my hope that this blog will offer a place of respite and tools for nurturance, contemplation and creativity in the life of other teachers by providing an outlet to explore the inner life though visual art, poetry and creative writing. I hope that many of you will join along–sharing words, visual images and poetry and in so doing, share your experiences in a community forum.
“When we bring our inner lives into our work, whatever we are working with ceases to be an object to be manipulated and becomes instead a partner to co-create with. That’s what good teachers do with students, good doctors do with patients, good writers do with words, good potters do with clay.” Parker Palmer
Jane Dalton an Assistant Professor of Art Education at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. Her teaching includes designing arts-based professional development seminars for public school teachers, preparing pre-service art education teachers and studio art.
She teaches with the arts at the center of learning, believing they are a powerful tool for motivating students to make connections across content area, work cooperatively, think critically and creatively by tapping in to multiple learning styles and modes of expression. Through the arts, her aim is to support individuals to become richer, more whole, perhaps more compassionate because of greater self-awareness and a deeper understanding of their place in the world.
She is the co-author of The Compassionate Classroom: Lessons that Nurture Empathy and Wisdom. Her research interests include: teacher renewal, art and contemplative educational practices. A textile artist, Jane’s work been exhibited throughout the United States, and can be found in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and China.