We provide quality-driven resources and professional development to movement-based instructors and mental health professionals working in difficult environments by hosting ‘learning labs’, a structured sampling of various mindfulness, movement, performance and peace modalities in a fun and welcoming academic environment. In addition, mingling within these eclectic classes allows learning from people outside our normal scope of experience, who may hold new ideas, different than our own, (…with understanding comes compassion!) and practice methods with which we are unfamiliar. These labs have been useful in countering teacher burnout and peaking interest in future directions of growth.
Is your organization interested in hosting a Humanity Moves Learning Lab? Please contact us!
Quality, Mindfulness, and Habits of Mind
Having worked as movement educators in a variety of settings, including schools, orphanages, and with military populations, we found that highly-qualified and compassionate dance artists and yoga instructors were leaving jobs in public service because of lack of support at the classroom level. Among the many factors contributing to this career turnover was a lack of a common definition for quality work, quality collaboration, and quality learning environments.
At Humanity Moves, our definition of Quality teaching and learning is informed by Project Zero’s Qualities of Quality Research Publication (Harvard Graduate School of Education and The Wallace Foundation). As such we believe quality has as much to do with the caliber of powerful, meaningful, experiences of the learners and the teacher, as it has to do with materials and curricula. Often, because of time and budget limitations, arts-enrichment programs are heavily focused on lesson plans and curriculum, there is little time for thoughtful reflection by either the students or the artists. We believe reflection, active documentation, and other meta-cognitive techniques are hallmarks of a quality learning environment.
Our organization empowers the teaching artist to create these quality learning environments by teaching techniques in mindfulness and conflict resolution that we hope will help guide the teacher as she or he encounters challenges in the classroom and studio. Many of these techniques are approaches that stem from mind-body practices such as yoga, MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction, Kabat-Zinn) techniques, Insight Dialogue, and A. Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.
Finally, true to our goal of providing a common language from which to define and practice quality arts education, we encourage our teaching artist to engage with Studio and Classroom Habits of Mind (E.Winner, Project Zero) to deepen their practice as artists and movement educators.