Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Inner-city school teachers benefit from hands-on drawing workshop

Published:Sunday | May 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Stanford Watson,visual arts coordinator with The MultiCare Youth Foundation (MYF), helps Donia Thomas of Calabar Primary & Junior High School, at a hands-on Drawing Workshop on Friday May 18. Looking on is Sandra Hamilton, also of Calabar Primary & Junior High School.

A hands-on drawing workshop for art teachers, hosted by The MultiCare Youth Foundation (MYF) on Friday May 18, received positive response from the 14 teachers who attended. They represented nine inner-city schools, mostly at the primary level.

The drawing workshop, held at the St Michael's Primary School on Tower Street in downtown Kingston, featured a hands-on approach, using pencil, charcoal, and ink.

This was the second this year in an ongoing series of Train the Trainer Workshops and a vital part of the MYF's support for development of the visual arts in the 31 schools it serves.

The visual arts programme, supported by the CHASE Fund, includes workshops for students and teachers, assistance with provision of materials in schools, an art-on-the-street programme in downtown Kingston, and exposure for the youngsters' artwork in a series of exhibitions.

MYF visual arts coordinator Stanford Watson said: "Although new requirements by the Ministry of Education call for children at the primary level to have at least one hour of art instruction per week, very few of these schools have specialist art teachers. As a result, it is often a teacher trained in another subject area who is assigned to teach art. In some cases, untrained teachers have to fill the role of the art teacher. The MYF's support for these teachers is, therefore, critical."




Talbert Taylor, a BFA graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, was one of the two trained art teachers who took part in the drawing workshop, said: "MultiCare's input at the school really helps to reinforce what we are teaching. If you as a teacher are weak in certain areas, you can get assistance, and if someone from a different space comes to teach the children, they are more likely to believe it."

Workshop participant St Joseph's Teachers College graduate Donia Thomas has been teaching art at Calabar Primary School for six years but has recently been required to take on other subject areas. She currently teaches art to grade four students but is hoping to expand the visual and creative arts programme to all six grades at her school. She is appreciative of MYF's help, especially because the foundation's team checks to see what the school would like help with before offering it.

"We have benefited greatly from demonstration visits by the foundation staff," she said. "They have also provided workshops on topics like screen and block printing, weaving, and painting, and they provide materials like fabrics. This makes a big difference because once the students are enjoying what they are doing, their work means more to them. They use it as a means of expression."

"The MultiCare Youth Foundation, in partnership with the CHASE Fund, has brought some resolution to a social justice situation," Watson said.