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Community of Learners: K-12 Teacher Training

Hood Quarterly, winter 2013

Every year, thousands of regional schoolchildren visit the Hood to learn about the art and cultures of diverse historical periods and regions of the world. Since teachers arrange these visits, they are a vital constituency for the museum and we offer a range of professional development opportunities and resources for educators. In the fall, we offered a daylong teacher workshop in conjunction with Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art that was attended by twenty-two teachers.

To help us understand teachers’ level of familiarity with Aboriginal Australian art, and so that we could tailor the workshop to their needs, we asked registrants to tell us whether they had taught with similar works of art before and if so, what aspects of Aboriginal Australian art or culture they focus on, what resources they need to help them integrate the exhibition into their courses, and how this exhibition or type of art fits into the school curriculum overall. The teacher workshop included an introduction to the exhibition by Stephen Gilchrist, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art at the Hood, a demonstration by museum educators Rebecca Karp and Vivian Ladd of the interactive teaching strategies that our docents use to help students learn about the art while they are at the museum, and an art-making activity related to the exhibition led by museum educator Neely McNulty. Teachers left the workshop with a packet of resources that provided all of the information they needed to connect the exhibition to the school curriculum.

The Hood provides online resources related to this exhibition for all teachers through our website. These resources include a PowerPoint overview of the exhibition and a “Learn More” pdf that provides an extensive bibliography of books, films, and websites on Aboriginal Australian art and culture. Over the course of the fall, hundreds of regional schoolchildren visited the museum for free tours of the Crossing Cultures exhibition, and we look forward to welcoming hundreds more students to the exhibition this winter.

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