Partnering with Hawai‘i teachers to develop greater creativity and imagination in the classroom
In partnership with The Creative Core, the Merwin Creative Teaching Fellowship offers Hawaii’s teachers the opportunity to experience W.S. Merwin’s living legacy first-hand and receive unparalleled guidance and support, providing them with the renewal, rejuvenation, and inspiration they need foster their own creativity, engage their imaginations, and gain new tools to make creativity and imaginations come alive in their students.
For the pilot year of this program, The Merwin Conservancy’s Education Programs Committee will hand-select a cohort of talented Hawaii teachers from public and private schools, who teach students between the age of 10 and 15, to be part of a unique professional development opportunity on Maui and on the grounds W.S. Merwin’s residence and his world-renowned palm garden.
THE SUMMER INSTITUTE: June 20-24, 2018, Maui, Hawai‘i
Fifteen teachers from across Hawai‘i will gather on Maui in June 2018 for an all-expenses paid, intensive five-day program that includes professional development and immersion in W.S. Merwin’s beloved palm garden and his poetry, facilitated by nationally and internationally recognized educators and authors, including Naomi Shihab Nye, Cathy Song, Marnie Masuda Cleveland, and the Merwin Conservancy’s Director of Programs, Sara Tekula.
At the Institute, teachers explore their own creative potential, discover ways to identify and support creativity and imagination in their students, and will gain new tools to use in their classrooms. Teachers return to the classroom with new perspectives and knowledge, prepared to share their inspiration with their students, and better equipped to foster social-emotional learning and creativity in their classrooms.
FELLOWS’ COHORT MEETINGS: Fall 2018 & Spring 2019
Fellows’ Cohort Meetings are held twice during the school year: during the subsequent fall and spring semesters. The Fall 2018 meeting will be done virtually (video meeting), and the Spring 2019 meeting will be held in-person on Maui. These meetings allow Fellows to reconvene as a group, study important issues related to their teaching and learning, while developing camaraderie as a community of teachers. During these meetings, Fellows have the chance to work with a variety of experts and engage with new resources.
YEAR-ROUND MENTORSHIP & PARTICIPATION IN ONLINE COLLABORATION
Building a community of teacher-scholars depends on communication, but distance can be a challenge in our state. That’s why we are developing an online environment to facilitate collaboration and communication among the cohort, and providing year-round access to the experts and resources of this fellowship. During the 2018-19 school year, teachers will implement new tools for creativity in their respective classrooms, while connecting, sharing and refining ideas with their cohort in the “Greenhouse,” a web-based collaboration space set aside for the Fellows.
The current Merwin Creative Teaching Fellowship engages 15 teachers from throughout the Hawaiian Islands who will teach and engage 1,500 students throughout the 2018-19 school year.
Fellowship Outcomes for Teachers & Students
- After the Summer Institute, teachers feel a sense of restoration, revitalization and readiness as they return to their classrooms in Fall;
- Teachers will implement new lessons and social-emotional learning strategies in their respective classrooms, which will:
- Awaken, celebrate, and sustain creativity, imagination, and compassion in themselves and their students;
- Identify and assess the growth of creativity and imagination in themselves and their students
- Develop and refine curriculum and personal tools to stimulate and support creativity and imagination in themselves and their students
- Include W.S. Merwin’s story and the story of The Merwin Conservancy in their classroom curriculum;
- Throughout the 2018-19 school year, teachers will share their pedagogical and creative writing, ask questions, develop lesson plans, and review student work with fellows and mentors;
- By the end of the 2018-19 school year, teachers will share their “shining star” lesson(s), reflections, student work samples, and personal writing on a new education space on the Conservancy’s website and at free community forums on their home island(s).
Fellowship Outcomes for the Community
It is the shared goal of The Merwin Conservancy and The Creative Core to cultivate an engaged classroom experience for teachers and youth throughout Hawai‘i. We envision passiontate, committed teachers providing a supportive, fertile platform that results in students’ emotional intelligence and imaginative ideas rippling into the community. We envision students becoming engaged, compassionate and creative citizens.
Research shows that:
- Mentorship and professional development for teachers has a positive impact on teachers’ performance and on their retention (Ingersoll, Kralik 2014).
- The impact of social emotional learning not only improves student achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students (Durlak et al., 2011).
- In the long run, greater social and emotional competence can increase students’ likelihood of high school graduation, readiness for postsecondary education, career success, positive family and work relationships, better mental health, reduced criminal behavior, and engaged citizenship (e.g., Hawkins, Kosterman, Catalano, Hill, & Abbott, 2008; Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015).
The Merwin Creative Teaching fellowship is made possible with the generous support of
The Merwin Conservancy is seeking additional sponsors and donors to support the pilot year of this Fellowship. Please consider making a donation and confirming your support of teachers across the state.