An innovative international programme that uses the power of art to help students think, explore and connect to the topics they study in school is coming to Bermuda in October. Artful Thinking was developed by researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is part of the Visible Thinking Initiative at Project Zero.
Designed for use by teachers in any grade and in any subject, Artful Thinking's purpose is twofold: to help teachers create rich connections between works of art and their curriculum and to help teachers use arts experiences as a touchstone for developing students' intellectual capacity.
The Bermuda Education Network (BEN), which is the local organizer of the event, believes the conference will equip teachers with strategies for teaching students how to think through a series of routines that build intellectual capacity.
"Most educators recognize the importance of teaching children to think," says Becky Ausenda, executive director of BEN. "The development of thinking skills is critical to helping children learn complexity and dimensionality."
The conference will take place on October 10, 2011, when Dr. Shari Tishman and Bermudian Harvard graduate student Katie Davis will be on the island to moderate the event at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. "Since 2010, the Bermuda Education Network has worked with Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation and the Bermuda National Gallery to create more opportunities for children to have increased exposure to art during their school experiences," says Ausenda.
"The Artful Thinking Conference 2011 will build on these initiatives by training local educators on how to use art to teach students to develop better thinking processes."
Project Zero is a research group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education that investigates the development of learning processes in children, adults and organizations. Founded by the philosopher Nelson Goodman in 1967, Project Zero began with a focus on learning in and through the arts. Today, while the arts remain a central concern at Project Zero, the 11 senior researchers lead studies on a range of topics in learning and teaching, including complex causality, interdisciplinary ethics in the digital age, educating for the unknown, knowledge development in organizations and the assessment of group learning.
Dr. Shari Tishman has been with Project Zero for more than two decades. Her research has focused on the development of thinking and understanding, learning in and through the arts and learning in museums. She is currently the director at Project Zero as well as a member of the faculty at Harvard Graduate School of Education, teaching courses on learning in museums and object-based learning.
Katie Davis is an advanced doctoral student in the Human Development and Education Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on the psychosocial development of adolescents and emerging adults, with a particular focus on identity development. For her doctoral thesis, Katie has undertaken a research project in Bermuda's secondary schools entitled "The Development of Self and Relationships in 21st Century Contexts."
The project explores the role that digital media technologies play in adolescents' personal and social development.
The Bermuda Educational Network is a registered charity that provides support to students in the public system. BEN works to connect public schools with other education organizations and private-sector businesses to develop curriculum add-ons and alternative learning tools that can help inspire students about learning. Many of BEN's projects involve field-trip or museum-based learning for primary-, middle- and senior-school students.
To receive more information about BEN, Project Zero or the Artful Thinking Conference 2011, please call Tracy Astwood at 505-7935 or e-mail Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org.