Habla Teacher Institutes are highly interactive and participatory, introducing a variety of readily accessible tools and arts-based approaches for deep and rich engagement with academic content by teachers and students as artists - as designers who are creating their own pathways to receiving and creating new knowledge, who learn from and with each other, and who take positive action in the world. This institute focused on our powers, individually and collectively, as protectors - as guardians of precious resources, of narrative plentitude, and of each other - at a time when our very survival on the planet is at risk. We placed a special emphasis on our profound relationships with water - in all its aesthetic, biological, spiritual, personal, and scientific significance and wonder.
As always, teaching and learning at Habla was organized around the following elements:
- Essential questions/concepts
- Meaningful texts
- The production of original artistic and written products
- Performances of understanding
Grounded in these core principles:
- Building community
- Honoring multilingualism
- Supporting peer-to-peer teaching and learning
- Creating beautiful work
- Connecting the world of the text to the lived world of its readers
- Peer-to-peer co-construction of artworks and knowledge
- Documenting our processes and products
- Reflecting on our work
The institute was intentionally designed to be multi-modal – moving from the investigation of literature, to the creation of new artworks in response, to reflection on our varied experiences and responses. Challenging texts were demystified by paying close attention to the actual language (its sounds and silences when read aloud, its resonances, its images, its textures); by sharing multiple interpretations of and associations with particular pieces of text; by transmediation (re-representing the work in different media); and by embodying our inquiry through performances of understanding to be seen and heard by others.