The chronicle of TaPS
By Helen Szymcak
I was introduced to ISTA 17 years ago and it has been a beautiful, meaningful and highly rewarding journey so far. As well as being an artist for ISTA, leading ensembles at TaPS events in the United Kingdom, United States and Asia, I am also a teacher who is lucky enough to bring her own students every year to TaPS.
The TaPS experience is like no other. I bring my students every year without fail and they thoroughly look forward to it. Two and a half days of intense and rigorous workshops with artists who are experts in their fields, workshop leaders who are or have been IB Theatre teachers and examiners, and two live theatre experiences that often highlight the culture of the city where the event is held. Students also connect with like-minded peers who all have a common interest and many of my students have forged lifelong friendships.
I see the immense benefit when I return to the classroom, although students have learning and knowledge behind them, the immersive and rigorous nature of the experience allows them to fully focus on their IB Theatre course. It allows them to cement and enhance their knowledge, and understand the nuances of the assessment criteria.
The TaPS experience truly encompasses the IB learner profile and its focused inquiry-based learning. Students are encouraged to be risk takers, communicators, inquirers, thinkers, knowledgeable and open minded, while being caring and balanced and reflecting on process and outcome.