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MALI Winter Retreat

March 6, 2019

Amazing day

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) held the annual Winter Retreat on Saturday at Waterville Senior High School. Thank you to music educator and teacher leader Sue Barre who provided and arranged for a space for us to meet, exchange and share ideas, and most importantly to learn from each other. This is the foundation of the MALI community.

2019 MALI Winter Retreat

I was curious about words that are related to community. On a recent google search I found the following: amity, benevolence, cordiality, friendliness, friendship, goodwill, kindliness. civility, comity, concord, harmony, rapport, charity, generosity. affinity, compassion, empathy, sympathy. chumminess, familiarity, inseparability, intimacy, nearness. affection, devotion, fondness, love. In Japanese the word is コミュニティ pronounced Komyuniti. In Greek the word is κοινότητα and pronounced koinótita. The Greek community is directly related to the culture and emerged and rose to great heights in 525 BC to 350 BC. The traditions that exist today are built on the original ideas.

When MALI educators come together the opportunity is about connecting with people, their idea, and all of those words in the previous paragraph that I found online. In addition, new learning is offered and depending on individual experiences educators enter the conversation from their own place. Everyone is a learner no matter how much experience they have with teaching, learning and/or living. MALI teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders range in teaching experience from 2 years to 49 years.

On Saturday we revisited the work that teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders have underway in this phase (8) of MALI. During this session we looked at the MALI “This We Believe” statements that are each defined. The titles include Arts Integration, Advocacy, Assessment Literacy, Creativity, Effective Educators: Teaching and Learning, Student-Centered Learning, Teacher Leadership and Social Responsibility. The revised definitions will be posted soon for each topic. I’m sure you’ll all agree that these are critical topics to the success of teaching and learning in arts education.

We were fortunate to have Brittany Ray, Director of TREE (Transforming Rural Experience in Education) speak with us about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and how trauma interrupts the brains capacity to learn. Heavy stuff but so worthwhile to learn more. I will write more about this in later blog posts.

We had a chance to paint using Process Painting as a jumping off place. Listening to music and painting provided an opportunity to think about where we were as educators. And, the day finished out with information on HundrED and the resources and opportunities the organization provides. It’s difficult not to get excited about an organization that believes that the purpose of education is to help every child flourish, no matter what happens in life. HundrED is looking for Youth Ambassadors so if you have students who are interested in leading check out their Youth Ambassadors webpage.

The last of the Phase 8 MALI Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders stories will be posted this next Tuesday on the blog. I hope you’ve had a chance to read about their journey’s.

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