California Educator

June 2011

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ne might think that Kathryn Ervin spends more than enough time being cre- ative at work. As a professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at CSU San Bernardino, she directs dramatic works as well as hip hop operas, and teaches courses in directing, acting, creative drama, and Af- rican American theater, film and culture. While she may have a dream job when O it comes to being innovative, Ervin doesn’t plan on spending her summer re- laxing on the beach with a good book. Instead, this California Faculty Associa- tion member plans on discovering new ways of becoming even more creative, which she hopes will ignite her students to do the same. One way she will do this is by attend- ing the California Art Project’s Coura- geous Creativity Conference in Anaheim. It will be her third consecutive year at the event, which provides keynote speakers, panels, behind-the-scenes tours in the en- tertainment industry, and breakouts into the nexus between arts, media and enter- tainment career education. “It’s a really interesting and exciting conference,” she relates. “There are lots of K-12 educators, postsecondary educators, counselors, school board members and others who are all talking about how to be Get creative creative. We ask questions such as: How do you recog- nize creativity in your stu- dents? How do you encour- age it? What kinds of exer- cises help them to be cre- ative? How can teachers help students find jobs that are creative? How can we keep creative students from dropping out? Some might see a student doodling in the back of the room as wasting time, but perhaps that student is gifted in a particular kind of way, and as educators we can help them refine their gifts.” Participants at the con- ference will be asked to re- visit their own experiences as ar t ists, says Ervin. “There will be activities with theater, music and vi- sual arts that will rejuvenate my passion for the arts. I think that by getting in touch with my own creativity, my students can get in touch with theirs.” She also plans on attending the Black Theatre Network Conference in North Carolina, where scholars, students, artists Theater arts professor Kathryn Ervin will explore new ways to be creative at summer conferences. and directors gather to talk about issues in black theater and regular theater. “During the bulk of the year, my time is taken up with teaching, so summer is my chance to be myself, the artist re- sponding to art,” she says. “And for me, it always comes back to the classroom.” tographer with her sister, has volunteered to take underwater photos. Research will focus on seeking solutions to impacts on species such as turtles, manatees, dolphins, whales, sharks and seabirds. “They told me I should be comfortable in 15 feet of water for up to three hours at a time,” says the Riverside City Teachers Association member. Williams believes that her students will benefit vicariously from her fellowship, which is funded by the Riverside Educational Enrichment Foundation. “As a teacher of students with mod- erate to severe disabilities, any addi- tional hands-on experiences and visuals that I can acquire to share with my students would be beneficial,” she says. “My students have a great interest in ocean life, and this is one of their fa- vorite units of study each year. By add- ing personal experience in this field, I believe, it will increase their interest and desire to learn.” She also believes it will inspire her stu- dents to venture out more in the world. “The more I step out of my classroom ABOVE: Laura Williams tells her students about manta rays and other sea creatures she will study in the Bahamas this summer. LEFT: Student Ismael Mendoza finds a place for a hammerhead shark on the display board. and comfort zone, the more I can en- courage my students to do the same — even though it’s on a smaller scale. The more teachers become involved in the community and the world, the more in- volved our students with disabilities will be, too.” JUNE 2011 | 15

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