Professionally supporting your development

9 August 2023

by Sophie Galton

ISTA Education Development Manager

Educators and artists are always thinking outside the box. It comes with the territory. A last minute change to a lesson plan, a new teaching approach to reignite distracted students or the creation of a new workshop can often come as easy as breathing to some educators. Artists and educators of the arts are a unique breed. They have the ability to offer both planned structure and creative freedom tied into a nuanced 60 or 90 minute session that subtly adjusts the lives of the young people who experience it.

However it can be difficult to find the time to focus on yourself as an educator. As the school year starts and you soon enter into assessments, school shows, performances, reports, exams, meetings, (oh the endless meetings) it can be difficult to explore opportunities for you to develop, not just as an educator but as an artist. In some situations we can find ourselves losing sight of why we entered into the profession. It can be hard to find the centre point of why we do what we do when we are so busy doing other things for other people. This is where ISTA hopes to support. Here at ISTA we are always exploring and developing the professional development we offer educators and we want to ensure we offer a balance of professional development that compliments your role as an educator but yet feeds your creativity.

What might this look like?  One of the ways that we have approached this type of learning is through a special initiative focusing on one of ISTA’s areas of work: Migration, displacement and home.

We started in November 2022 when we advertised a Studio workshop that took place in Amman, Jordan in partnership with Amala education. A group of international educators attended a workshop ‘Staging your Story, changing the world’. The workshop was a combined approach of educator training and learner immersive. Day 1 was focused on the role of the educator, a practical exploration into storytelling, allowing the educators to all work together with workshop practitioners. However, days 2 and 3 were about the educators becoming the learners and being immersed in the sessions with the Amala students. The impact? Hear it first-hand from one of our participating educators at the link here.

This experience got us looking at the impact professional development can have not just on an educator but on their learners and their school community. We need to think outside of the box when exploring what we offer and recognise that by developing the educator, it is then paid forward in the way they teach, explore and contribute to their own educational environments.  

Moving forward we recognise this is an ongoing discussion, one that we want the ISTA community to be part of. We will be returning to Amman this year with a similar format (you can apply to be part of here) but we want to widen our reach and offer development opportunities that offer educators an experience and one that develops them as a human being, an educator and artist.

To see what we currently have on offer for professional development please see our website here.
Or get in touch with ISTA’s Education Development Manager to take the conversation further.