Comments from participants in CALTA21 Professional Development Institutes:
What do I love about CALTA21?
On the one hand CALTA21 provides extensive resources, training, contacts in museums and colleges and on the other, it respects individual teachers who are at different stages of familiarity with the process, and have different ways to make it their own. Thus, even as there are many components in CALTA21 that are set and stable, its character is alive and growing and evolving, responsive to whatever different teachers, different student populations, different museums offer.
What you are offering is the opportunity for speakers to participate in REAL DIALOGUE/AUTHENTIC INTERACTIONS and become autonomous discourse participants. Participating in discourse–that’s what democratic classrooms are all about –but where are democratic classrooms??? Where is the real discourse, that is, debate? – Calta21 is doing the Deweyian ideal: engaging students in REAL THINGS, REAL ARTS & CULTURE inviting them to pay attention & engage in reflection and, as people debate points of view, conversations become nexus for extended & cooperative argument.
In contrast to most classroom conversation, CALTA 21 conversations are NOT predictable. Who knew you were going to find a bull in the Picasso? –even you did not know!! That moment is at the center of what you are offering–genuine inquiry requires genuine risk & genuine coping skills as you have no idea where you are going in the moment. There is no script you are co-creating meanings, contributing responses that, you hope, make sense in the community –responses that are contingent upon the last utterance–not contingent on what it says in a book, or in a prescribed syllabus.
This professional development institute was a transformational experience. It changed my practice as a docent.