Lincoln Center using art to train teachers

July 19, 2010 2:42:12 PM PDT
Some teachers from all over the world are spending their summer in Manhattan. A program at Lincoln Center helps them to improve their skills in the classroom through exposure to the arts.

For 35 years, the Lincoln Center Institute has reached out to educators and their schools. Educators come for exposure to various forms of art.

Educators commonly use part of their summer for professional development, the term used to describe teacher training. The Lincoln Center Institute is devoted to using the arts to help teachers develop those skills.

"We're asking them, then, to start...think about how they are going to take it back to the classroom; how are they going to engage their students in it during the school year," said Scott Noppe-Brandon of the Lincoln Center Institute.

You would never know it by watching their movement exercises, but the participants are school teachers, exploring their creative side.

"What I love about this class is it really makes me reflect on things I ask the kids to do," said Beth van Blaricom, a teacher.

The exercise in movement is meant to encourage self expression by interpreting the movements in a film on the subject.

"This film, this dance could also apply to the skills needed for a math...their math concepts as well, or other subjects," said Marjorie Folkman of the Lincoln Center Institute.

The teachers discuss how to apply what they learn at Lincoln Center.

"We were talking about to use that in your classroom, not only through works of art, but just in everyday teaching" Jolynn Dean, a teacher, said.

The program includes tours to view public works of art, like sculptures at City Hall Park.

"They can help their students notice their surroundings more and they can make more connections between and their own lives, especially the urban kinds of outdoor art that we have across the city," said Jackie Davis, a teacher-trainer.

The Lincoln Center Institute hopes to expose teachers to a new way of thinking about teaching.

"For many of them, they saw a new way to think about developing imaginative thinkers in their classroom," Cathryn Williams of the Lincoln Center Institute said.

The program may also be a good answer when their students ask how the teachers spent 'their' summer vacations.

Online: Lincoln Center Institute