Rebecca Levi and David Malek came today to talk about how they began in the Conservatory Lab Charter School. It was wonderful to be able to interact with two of the fellows from last year and to hear how they began their adventures. They discussed inquiries mostly about the hiring process, aligning beliefs with the curriculum, assessment, and scheduling.
David and Rebecca believe in music literacy, and they structured their curriculum around this philosophy. David said musicians are trained to access music from the past, but have not been trained to have access to their own voice. The equivalent of only being able to speak the dialogues from plays and never being able to communicate your own thoughts.
Another thing that struck me was the amount of emphasis put teacher development and creating a nurturing environments for the teachers as well. The teachers are also learning continuously, and are always looking for ways to connect with one another. The teachers use the CATS framework, Citizen-Artist-Teacher-Scholar.
Citizen: The teacher has patience, self-esteem, perseverance, self-awareness, and develops the community through his/her teaching.
Artist: “The ability to learn and master artistic processes, resulting in highly skilled musical performance, composition, listening, analysis, reading, and reflective thinking skills, as well as knowledge of musical works, creative processes and learning skills”.
Teacher: “The ability and desire to provide musical effective instruction, coaching, and personal mentoring in wide range of musical settings that include the ability to present talks about musical works and advocate music education to general audiences and musical leaders”
Scholar: “The ability and desire to research, reflect, advocate, and otherwise think about one’s personal, artistic and educational work while taking into account a wide range of historical psychological, social, and artistic perspectives and sources.”
The teachers were selected based on teaching auditions, not just on experience and CV. The cool about this program is that teachers are given flexibility with the way they teach. Rebecca said “ you get great teachers when they are in love with the content”, so they are creating ownership in the program. Also the teachers are evaluated and assessed just as much as the kids’ progress. David and Rebecca are awesome people, and I appreciated them sharing their thoughts and experiences with us!