21 June, 2023

Embracing the Artistic Journey A Transformative Experience at The Juilliard School

Embracing the Artistic Journey A Transformative Experience at The Juilliard School-Embracing the Artistic Journey A Transformative Experience at The Juilliard School-Blog header 1317  741px

We are delighted to present an insightful article penned by our esteemed Head of English at Themaid Campus, Mr. Starkie, sharing his extraordinary journey along with other Nord Anglia teachers in Compass International School and Nord Anglia International School in Al Khor. Mr. Starkie takes us through his invaluable experience at The Juilliard School.

Join us as we delve into his reflections on this transformative trip, where he explores the impact of Juilliard's Professional Development program on his teaching approach and the immense value it holds for our students' artistic growth.

Embracing the Artistic Journey A Transformative Experience at The Juilliard School-Embracing the Artistic Journey A Transformative Experience at The Juilliard School

Dear Parents, Students, and Staff,

I am thrilled to share with you the incredible experience I recently had attending The Juilliard School's Professional Development program for teaching dance, drama, and music. Alongside my brilliant colleagues, Laura Opperman (AL Khor) and Sara Connolly (Gharaffa), we were chosen to pilot a new scheme that will certify us as specialist Juilliard teachers upon completion of a year-long course. The journey so far has been nothing short of inspiring, and we are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.
Our time at The Juilliard School began with a warm welcome and an exclusive tour of its renowned facilities. The energy within those walls was palpable, as we walked through the corridors that have nurtured some of the greatest artistic talents in the world. The history and legacy of The Juilliard School were awe-inspiring, reminding us of the rich heritage we are now a part of.

The workshops we attended were thoughtfully designed and delivered with meticulous precision to enhance our teaching abilities and expand our pedagogical approach. From the delivery of engaging lessons to skill-based techniques, each session provided valuable insights into effective instruction. The driving question being, how do we teach creativity? We explored the importance of reflection, learning how to assess our teaching methods and adapt them to meet the needs of our students more effectively, to allow creativity to bloom within the walls of our studios. This emphasis on continual growth and self-improvement resonated deeply with our collective commitment to providing the best education possible.

One of the most thought-provoking aspects of our training at The Juilliard School was the exploration of teaching and fostering creativity—an abstract concept that holds immense power in shaping our students' artistic journeys. Through engaging workshops and lively discussions, we delved into the depths of what it means to cultivate creativity in the classroom. We explored techniques to spark imagination, encourage risk-taking, and embrace the beauty of unconventional thinking. These sessions reminded us that creativity is not limited to the arts alone; it permeates every facet of our lives. 

Curriculum planning was another key focus of our training. The Juilliard Creative Classroom site, with its interactive lessons, offers an abundance of curated lessons designed by curriculum specialists at The Juilliard School, to have the opportunity for open dialogue with the people who designed these units of work was invaluable. We discovered innovative ways to integrate the arts into our students’ wider school lives as well as our own communities, fostering interdisciplinary connections and igniting students' curiosity. 
One aspect of our training that truly stood out was the concept of taking agency of pedagogical approaches. The Juilliard School encourages students to explore. In every sense of the word. To infuse exploration and curiosity, as a vessel for learning, is a trademark of their unique teaching styles and the best way to truly appreciate the richness of the arts. This approach celebrates personal learning journeys and enables us to foster a supportive environment that honours each student's individuality. By tapping into their creativity, we empower our students to explore their passions, express themselves, and develop a lifelong love for the arts.

Cultural competency was another essential aspect of our training, and it profoundly impacted our understanding of teaching in a global context. Interacting with educators from around the world, including South East Asia, Europe, the Americas, broadened our perspectives and enriched our cultural awareness. This global network of educators allows us to create authentic connections, expose our students to diverse perspectives, and nurture a sense of global citizenship.

As we move forward in this year-long course, the excitement and enthusiasm within our team are impossible to hide. We are eager to implement our newfound knowledge and skills, with renewed energy and passion to provide your children with an exceptional arts education that goes beyond the traditional boundaries.
Our experience at The Juilliard School has inspired us to cement the foundations of our Performing Arts departments in curiosity and exploration, in reflection and in experimentation, in success and in failure. The only goal is to nurture your children's artistic talents, foster their creativity, and empower them to become confident, well-rounded individuals. Through the arts, we will open doors to endless possibilities and equip them with the skills they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

We are grateful for the opportunity to embark on this transformative journey, and we extend our deepest appreciation to the Nord Anglia Education network for making it possible, and to The Juilliard School for their hospitality, generosity, and knowledge. We will continue to bring the spirit of The Juilliard School into our schools.
Special mentions must be made to individuals who played instrumental roles in making this experience possible. Firstly, we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to Richard Mannoia, Director of the K-12 Programs at The Juilliard School, and the whole curriculum team. His expertise, passion, and unwavering commitment to arts education shone through in the meticulously thought-out, incredibly insightful, and enlightening workshops and seminars. 

Additionally, to Matt Scott, Senior Programme Manager at Nord Anglia Education, for his unwavering dedication and incredible attention to detail in a flawless week that saw over 60 participants from around the world participate. His tireless efforts behind the scenes ensured that every logistical aspect ran smoothly, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the enriching programme. 

Finally, I would like to say one last thank you to you; parents and staff for your ongoing support and trust in our abilities as educators which allowed us this opportunity. We look forward to sharing this remarkable journey with you and witnessing the growth and success of our students as they embark on their own artistic adventures.

Warm regards,

Jake Starkie
Head of English Faculty.