The 100 Artist Program is TFI’s initiative to bring teaching-artists into their classrooms to provide students with artistic exposure, and to provide teachers with an opportunity participate with arts-education in action. We had the pleasure of working with a team of TFI Fellows, each accompanied by a teaching-artist (lovingly provided by ASTEP, a organization of world-changers with whom we've had the honor to partner with both in Ecuador and India) to pilot what arts-integration can look like in TFI classrooms. We ran professional development workshops with the team of fellows and teaching-artists; investigating the value of arts-integration for students, the challenges faced in testing it for the first time in classrooms, and empowering the fellows to embrace their own creativity in finding new ways to integrate the arts into their classrooms. We also had the pleasure of intimately working alongside two teaching fellows with their students; one 3rd-standard class, and one 7th-standard class.
In our 3rd-standard class, we took a group of students with widely varying ages and exceptionally limited English-language comprehension skills and, over several weeks, explored the classroom values of honesty and respect through the creation of a completely original music-drama. After adapting a Dr. Seuss story, they created new characters and story-elements, music, lyrics, a script, and choreography, and then performed the piece in front of their family, friends, and faculty. Click here to see selections from their original music drama.
Those students also planned and executed their own Lovefest; a school-wide event sharing their work, what they learned during the process, and inspiring other students at their school to creatively engage with problems within their school and their community. The scale of the event that they organized, the sincerity of their words, and their enthusiasm for the entire creative process was inspiring.
Our time working with TFI was our lengthiest and most ambitious undertaking in India. Fortunately for us, we had help from a group of some of the hardest-working, most invested and inventive teaching fellows we could have asked for. Teach For India does an exceptional job recruiting committed teachers and high-character human beings, and we were honored to benefit from their collaboration. Project Creo left Pune having both helped a group of teachers enthusiastically navigate their way through successfully implementing their first experiences with art-integration in the classroom, and having taught academic curriculum through the arts, all while creating a more loving, more collaborative, more participatory classroom environment.