TerraNichol Academy of the Arts

Teaching Team Newsletter and Reflection

Welcome

Each year brings to TerraNichol Academy a feeling of rebirth. To learn from the years past, to move forward, gaining greater knowledge and understanding on our journey. We are lucky to have one of the most rewarding careers, inspiring young children! We encourage you to learn as much from them as they from you, to dance as if no one is watching, to play with abandon, and to give yourself 110% each day. Thank you for joining our team of educators.


This year our focus is on our vision. We are encouraging everyone in the program from teachers to students, parents to business contacts to participate in the vision. Each person provides an important role in bringing the vision to reality. Take some time to reread "Creating a Vision" and reflect on what role you play in carrying out the vision.


The Art of Awareness-Reflection

Being an educator in a Reggio Emilia Environment requires teachers, enrichment teachers to be constant observers and make meaningful reflections about students, involvement in activities, and outcomes. "When we neglect to see who children really are, we deprive ourselves deeper sources of delight. We miss the opportunity to witness the profound process of human development that is unfolding before our eyes." This year we will be taking a journey together in observation to further meet the needs of our students and excel our program to a greater level of understanding of the young child. This issue features our first Study Session which we will take together. Read through the session in its entirely to plan what you will need to reflect upon in the first weeks of your experiences at the program this year. You will be asked to post your insights and thoughts into the comment section of this newsletter which will then be forwarded to the team for sharing. Remember education is a journey which does not end when we are grown for this is the time when we can do our best thinking! Enjoy!!!

Study Session 1: Learning to See

We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs. To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment.-Lisa Delpit


Learning Goals for the Study Session:


  • Reflect on your own mental filters and how they influence your perceptions
  • Distinguish the difference between descriptions and interpretations
  • Recognize the components of observation skills
  • Practice seeing the details of an observation
  • Explore flexible thinking with perception exercises

Reflect on the Quote


When learning to observe we have to begin by examining our own experiences and perspectives. Reread the Lisa Delpit quote above, and think about these questions:


  1. What does "seeing through our beliefs" mean to you?
  2. What experiences does it remind you of?
  3. How do you think this idea relates to your work with children?


Art of Awareness Activity

Practice Exploring the Influences on your Perceptions

Before you can observe children with a new set of eyes, you have to recognize your own filters. What influences the way you see things? This is the first step in developing the utmost sensitivity in your perception.


  1. Observe the photo provided below that shows children involved in an activity or interaction together.
  2. Look closely at the picture and record what you see. Notice your emotional reactions to the photo as well as the details that you see. Next put the photo away and describe the picture giving as much detail as you can.
  3. After a few days time take a look at everyones comments. Reflect on the differences of what everyone saw in the photo.


  • What were the differences in what each person noticed in the photo?
  • Why do you think each of you reacted this way?
  • What from your background, experiences or values may have influenced what you saw in the photo?

Conclusion



Each of us walks around the world making meaning of what we see, hear, and experience. We have an amazing capacity to take in information and instantly make sense of it. If we become more aware of our interpretations we can analyze the influences that come into play. Past experiences contribute a big part to how we make sense of things. Our values and beliefs rush in as we interpret and judge a situation. This photo activity offers a reminder of the differences we each bring in making sense of any situation. Some people describe the concrete physical aspects of a scene, while others notice the relationship between the people and objects in the scene. Some describe the details while others describe the feelings that get from the situation.
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