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Professional Development for Teachers
The Creativity Workshop is an interactive, experimental workshop dedicated to help teachers and their students learn how to be more creative. We work with K12 through University educators. For those seeking professional development workshops for teachers, we have developed a series of simple and effective exercises aimed at keeping the creative juices flowing both in the classroom and in one’s personal life. The Creativity Workshop offers professional development courses for teachers from all over the world, creating a unique experience that combines learning, global travel, CEUs, and association with peers from different nations and backgrounds.
With the professional development for educators it offers, The Creativity Workshop has helped thousands of teachers and their students:
- Develop creativity and innovation in math, IT, the arts, creative writing, languages, humanities and science.
- Get over writers’ block and combat fears that stifle self expression and new ideas.
- Employ the creative process to develop leadership and teamwork skills, as well as peer respect in the classroom.
- Engage and focus each person’s innate curiosity and imagination to foster a lifelong love of learning.
Detailed Information on The Creativity Workshop
Some of this information may be helpful if you are applying for funding.
The Creativity Workshop has provided professional development workshops for teachers to educators and students all over the world, from preschool instructors to university professors, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, in public and private school systems. Participant teachers have come from the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Britain, Paraguay, Mexico, Poland, the Czech Republic , Hungary, Greece, Ghana, India, Singapore, Turkey, and Australia, among other countries. They have been specialists in literature, performing arts, visual art, filmmaking, and creative writing, as well as math, business, science, psychology, and computer technology to name a few. Our teacher professional development workshops offer tools and techniques that educators can implement to help students develop their creative, collaborative, artistic, and writing skills, as well as out-of-the-box thinking, self-confidence, leadership, and respect for peers. Our experiential exercises are concentrated in the following areas:
1. Getting Over Fear of Creativity
In order to channel creativity and maximize its potential, many individuals first need to overcome such obstacles as self-criticism and writer’s block. Our techniques in free-form (automatic) writing and drawing, along with our visualization and relaxation exercises, help individuals get over the hindrances that make them afraid to express themselves, say the wrong things, paint a bad picture, take a stupid photograph, write a foggy paragraph, or sing off-key. The workshop works against self-censorship in the early stages of creation so that critical analytical skills will come into play later when they can be more effective.
2. Team Work
We believe that by sharing work in intimate groups, students (at times without their instructor) can learn to develop and feel secure in their academic endeavors. Such work also helps individuals learn self-confidence and respectful listening toward others. Our professional development courses for teachers involve several modules in which collaborations, ranging from two-person teams to a whole class, are explored.
3. Map Making
Every creative and analytical project has a process or “way.” As part of the professional development for teachers it provides, The Creativity Workshop shows educators how they can make journey maps or scrolls with their students to illustrate the process and progress of their work. The maps, which are a visual and written representation of the ongoing work in the classroom, help students see where they are in their projects and where they can go with them.
4. Free-Form Writing And Automatic Drawing
Those seeking professional development for educators will learn how to use these “writing from the right side of the brain” techniques with their students in order to help those students find their innate ideas and develop them. The workshop also teaches imaginative editing techniques through our “writing a jungle” exercise, which involves making an editing trail through a jungle of words.
Storytelling, be it visual or literary, is vital to how we perceive and share our perceptions of the world. We do several exercises centered on this theme, including the telling of stories inspired by found objects, as well as having participants conduct interviews in groups of two, after which they must “become” the other person. These activities also teach listening skills, which greatly enhance our abilities to express ourselves and learn from our peers.
6. Changing Perceptions
How we see is important to what we see. We teach a variety of techniques aimed at altering perceptions physically (through cameras, cutout shapes, kaleidoscopes, telescopes, microscopes) and emotionally (through fairy tales, memoir writing, or inter-generational interviews), which assist students in broadening their sense of the world they live in.
7. Using Your Environment
We teach participants how to use their natural surroundings to generate ideas. Exercises carried out in local cafes, libraries, cafeterias, the woods, and the mountains show that inspiration can come from the most everyday and surprising of places.
In our busy, multitasking world, we seldom feel we have enough time to create. Participants taking the workshop for the purpose of professional development for teachers will walk away with the valuable lesson of how to “stretch time” and use 15-minute blocks to do satisfying creative work on an ongoing basis.
Teachers spend so much of their time encouraging and supporting their students. At times, teachers forget to nurture themselves! As part of the exercises geared toward professional development for educators, The Creativity Workshop devotes time to the importance of self-nurturing, curiosity, and not always knowing the “right” answer.
10. Professional Development
Many schools offer funding for professional development for teachers, and many workshop attendees have received financial aid to attend our sessions from their school district or from national programs such as Fund for Teachers. Costs for the workshop and related educational travel expenses may be tax deductible if the course is relevant to your profession. In addition, if you are completing an advanced degree, you may be able to take The Creativity Workshop as an Independent Study course. In this way, your university can give you credit for it. The Creativity Workshop was taught as a regular course at the University of Iowa for many years, offering 3 credits and open to graduate and undergraduate students through the International Writing Program.
“Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel use the human imagination as their tool for instruction, and each day took us on fantastic journeys of creative exploration. We wrote plays based on tiny, found objects like coins, shells, and charms; we drew images of creatures we imagined as our avatars in the animal kingdom; we wrote letters as our fathers to us at age 16; we relaxed our bodies, and subsequently, our minds and fought our inner critic. And quite frequently what we discovered was the importance of the exercise over the result.”
Andrew Sidle, PHD, Upper School English Teacher, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School, Alexandria, Virginia
“We brought back a flood of new ideas for introducing new lesson plans and formulas for tapping into our students’ creativity and expanding their knowledge and ability to learn on a much more creative basis!”
Jack Degelia and Catherine Huvar, Fund for Teachers Recipient, Katy Independent School District, TX
“I cannot tell you how inspiring your workshop was! I continue to draw inspiration from those few days!”
Deborah B. Reeve, Ed. D., Deputy Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals, Washington, D.C.
“The Creativity Workshop was presented by Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel for 110 members of our faculty. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One of our teachers even told me she thought this in-service was our “best ever!”
Why was this workshop so important? Because we we learned that creativity is a muscle: use it or lose it; we learned that we must help our students understand that we all “fail, then then fail again”, and hopefully, “fail better”, and that we must send the message to stop trying to be perfect”
Deborah Whalen, Principal, St. Agnes Academy, Houston, TX
“The experience that I had in New York at The Creativity Workshop was not only rewarding, but it was life changing. I went with the idea that I was going to learn ways that I can ignite my student’s imagination and lessons that I can apply in my classroom, but instead I came back with an experience that would change the way I teach and the way I perceive each one of my students and their unique creativity.”
Xochitl Rodriguez-Carias, Fund for Teachers Recipient, Houston, TX
Many educators taking the workshop receive help from The
Fund for Teachers to attend our summer Workshops outside the United States. Recipients receive up to $5,000 each.
Also, there maybe financial help from your school district or university. Contact your Professional Development office.
You can receive a Certificate of Attendance and CEUs for attending our Workshops. Certificates of Attendance and CEUs are available at no additional charge.
What educators say about the workshop:
“I only wish that more people could experience what you have to offer. You gave me a feeling a freedom that I NEVER felt before. Shelley and Alejandro have a great gift to share with others. They give of themselves in a way that is incredibly beautiful. Thank you for touching my soul, for helping me soar!”
Dianne Stuckey, Teacher, American School of Dubai, United Arab Emirates
“I wrote my first published memoir because of this class. The instructors are magicians! They gently pushed us into discovering our unique creativity.”
Carroll Blue, Author of “The Dawn at my Back” and Professor Emerita of Film Studies, San Diego State University, CA
“Thank you for the great, great inspiration and fun of The Creativity Workshop. It helped me get a whole screenplay done. It was great for me and my film directing students. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them so happy.”
Doris Doerrie, Award winning Filmmaker of Men (Munner), Professor, Munich Film School, Germany
“The Creativity Workshop transformed my art and teaching. It is a gift that I treasure and at every opportunity and share with my students. It gave me new ways of “seeing” and interacting with my images.”
Savneet Talwar, Artist, Associate Professor, Georgetown University