SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

May 16, 2013

The art of learning

Grad students' show focuses on the creative process

The diplomas that students will pick up at graduations this week are symbols of what they have learned. But graduates of Endicott College’s master’s program in education arts and learning program will also put the process of their education on display.

“In many ways it will look like a traditional art show with non-traditional art,” said Enid Larsen, an associate professor at Endicott and assistant dean.

The show, which will be held tomorrow from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Cyber Cafe in the Van Loan School of Graduate and Professional Studies, will include displays of pottery and painting, along with performances of poetry and dance.

While the 20-month program in which these works were created bestows a degree in education, it isn’t just for teachers.

“‘Educator’ has a wide definition in this program,” Larsen said. “We draw students from so many other disciplines.”

Unlike many of the other students who will graduate this week, the engineers, therapists and college professors in the arts and learning program often have careers. The challenge they often face is the feeling that they have stalled, or are repeating themselves in their chosen paths. The key to getting unstuck, Larsen said, is taking risks.

“If you do things that are unfamiliar, your learning is challenged and enhanced,” she said. “If you keep doing things that you’re comfortable doing, there’s no new learning.”

By creating projects in five areas — visual arts, music, poetry/creative writing, drama and storytelling — students explore their own creative processes.

“The whole idea is to trigger and stimulate their own idea formation, to understand how that actually occurs,” Larsen said. At the same time, students are challenged to apply what they’ve learned in their work.

The program has been offered at Endicott for 14 years, with enrollment ranging from five to 16 students, Larsen said.

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