When does learning come alive for you?

Think back on a time when learning was very alive for you. What do you think brought you to life as a learner? What was happening within you, and in the environment around you? Was it sounds and textures of the space, or perhaps the inspiring mentor who patiently guided you, or the passionate teacher eager for you to go on a learning odyssey, or the group that encouraged you to take a risk and overcome a personal challenge?

I took part in this exploration in early September, during the first of five sessions in the El Otro Lado training for teachers and teaching artists. This inquiry is centered in the Academy’s pedagogical practice of bringing awareness to experience – in this case a memory of when learning was exciting, engaging and inviting – in order to discover who we are as learners, and what ignites our capacity to invite learning in others. In this way, we can keep the love of learning alive for others and ourselves.

As the cohort educators and artists explored their personal experiences with teaching and learning, we took a dive into the heart of the Academy’s learning model. Through creative experiences, deep reflection and group inquiry, the cohort honed their awareness of teaching and learning beliefs and practices. This consciousness then becomes integrated into the implementation of the El Otro Lado in the Schools program.

Nine exceptional artists and educators working in Santa Fe public schools are embarking on the El Otro Lado in the Schools journey during the 2017/2018 school year. Using the power of story, the co-teaching pairs engage in a collective creative process with young people that explores their connection to land, culture, sense of home and belonging, and their own unique story. Classrooms come alive through journaling, painting, poetry, photography, music and movement evoking greater empathy between teachers and students. Follow this special group as they journey to the other side of learning and teaching and discover the stories that connect us.

Artwork created by El Otro Lado in the Schools cohort member, Laura Mayo-Rodriguez, 6th grade teacher, Nava Elementary. Above photograph of 3-dimensional creative expression of Laura’s journey map with moments when learning came alive.

Learn more about bringing El Otro Lado to your classroom or community.