Professional Development Workshops to Promote ZEAL for Teaching

The following workshops are designed to promote ZEAL within teachers—to rekindle the fire within. Each workshop will utilize authentic aesthetic methods with teachers through hands-on experiences exploring specific skills and methods that can be applied within classrooms, curriculum and school communities. It is a goal of each workshop to nurture the love of learning and teaching and to ignite the creative force within teachers. The following list of professional development workshops may be adapted to your district goals, school mission statement, school goals and teacher goals. Drs. Clark and French have presented a variety of staff development workshops to faculty and administrators in the Newtown, Avon, New Britain & Hartford Public School Systems of Connecticut.


·        Common Core Standards and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Unit Design

This workshop will present strategies to plan cutting edge interdisciplinary units of design supported by the Common Core Standards. Teachers will work in teams and complete a unit outline by the end of the workshop. Authentic performance tasks, journals, scrapbooks and other unique forms of authentic assessment will be presented.  Differentiation strategies will be explored that celebrate children’s interests and promote critical and reflective thinking skills.

·       Creative Classroom Community Commons
Dr. French’s research in ecojustice over the past eight years will inspire teachers to address collective social and ecological issues that impact our daily lives, communities and world. Working in cooperative teams, teachers’ views and beliefs will be unlocked to investigate ecologically and socially sustainable teaching practices that will drive transformational instructional decisions and curriculum initiatives. Workshop experiences will impact teachers’ ideas, sense of identity and imaginations as resilient, creative and compassionate teacher leaders for ecological and social change. By the end of the workshop, teachers will have the tools and strategies needed to create an authentic creative commons for their own classroom, school and community.



·        Aesthetic Education and Writing: Celebrating Children’s Creativity

This workshop will guide teachers to learn a variety of aesthetic methods that reveal and celebrate children’s voices in their writing. What they know... what they think about... and what they wonder about.

By the end of the workshop teams of teachers will retell a story using a variety of expressive arts including puppets, music, visual art and drama. Teachers will be able to identify aesthetic entry points for performance assessment and differentiation within language arts lesson plan design.



·        Making the Invisible Visible: Civic Agency in Our Communities

Where do we come from?

What are we?

Where are we going?

Based on these questions, this workshop will present a variety of aesthetic education methods such as storytelling, masks, literature, theatre and great works of art, highlighting how social and eco-justice themes may be explored in unit design promoting civic agency for our children.



·        Moral Imagination of Children

 Based on Dr. Clark’s research over the past eight years teachers and administrators will explore the moral imagination of children. The workshop will be designed to celebrate the expressive, aesthetic and transformative strategies that reveal and celebrate children’s perceptions of their life.


·        Compassionate Community of Teacher Leaders

This workshop will present the aesthetic of storytelling as a lens to explore diversity and cultural relevancy in the classroom and school community. The power of storytelling creates a space for the sacred and imaginative realm within children’s hearts and minds. The power of storytelling runs through apresentation of Robert Cole’s research and experiences meeting Ruby Bridges. Cole’s relationship with Ruby and her family during the 1960s desegregation movement in New Orleans will be presented and discussed.


Clark, B.A. & French, J.J. (2012). ZEAL: A revolution for education, unmasking teacher identity through aesthetic education, imagination and transformational practice. Critical Questions in Education. 3(1).


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