Holistic Educator Workshop Presenters for 2016-2017:

September 17, 2016 - Room 5-250

Isabella Colalillo Kates Ed.D.
Creative Writing and Personal Creativity as Rituals of Spiritual Intelligence

Exploring personal creativity through art and writing can be viewed as rituals that support self-healing and self-growth.  As we revisit old emotions, storied memories and experiences, as we follow moments of inspiration and wonder through writing and other aesthetic forms we find the voice and presence of the authentic self that guides us more deeply into alignment with the spiritual self.

Creative activities promote the deepening of emotional intelligence and, in time, evolve our spiritual intelligence.  In this workshop I invite you to explore ideas and creative modes that open up spaces where wholeness and well being become possible as we resolve and give voice to inner stories and dramas that keep us fragmented.  Creative pathways that invite the presence of our spiritual self, help us to mend the fragmented self, discover and express its stories and promote self-understanding, authenticity and self-healing.

Isabella Colalillo Kates Ed.D.
I am a writer, poet, editor, professor, researcher, psychotherapist and creativity consultant.  My research, teaching and writing explores the meme of creativity as spiritual intelligence. My work is rooted in elements of humanistic, transpersonal psychology and shamanic traditions.

I lead seminars, workshops and classes in Creative Writing, Exploring Creativity and Altered States of Consciousness. I work with transpersonal approaches derived from Shamanic traditions, Oracles and Divination, Transformational Fantasy and Psychosynthesis, Mental Imagery, Visualization and Meditation practices.

My latest poetry book, Marlene Dietrich’s Eyes (2014) was published by Ekstasis Editions under my pen name Isabella Colallilo Katz.

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November 19, 2016 - Room 5-280

Larry Swartz
A Literacy and Drama Approach to Creating Caring Classrooms

This practical session will provide a framework for creating a caring classroom community.  Participants will experience strategies that build joyful active learning through talk and drama responses. Children’s literature will be used as sources for exploration.  Handout provided.

Larry Swartz
Larry Swartz has been an educator for almost four decades working as a classroom teacher, consultant, author and university instructor. Larry’s works is centred on using children’s literature to promote response and to build community. Each year Larry has been a RFTLOI presenter and is passionate about sharing his favourite books and strategies that promote active joyful learning. He is the author of several publications including Dramathemes, 4th edition, Creating Caring Classrooms and “This is a great book!”.  Website: larryswartz.ca

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February  4, 2017 - Room 5-280

Dr. Njoki Wane
Is Decolonizing the Spirit Possible?

Decolonizing has been circulating in the academy for quick some time now.  There are many scholars who feel that decolonizing as a category has been overused and as a result has no effect.  My position in this workshop is that, before we completely throw away decolonization as a form of reclaiming or resisting neo-colonization, how about the spirit. Spirituality by its very nature is a personal enterprise. It encompasses a holistic epistemological understanding inclusive of mind, body and spirit and is not something separate from each other or from the world around us. Spirituality is about connection, relationship, belonging, and being as one within universal systems of kinship ties. Spirituality is connected to natural ecology, to local knowledges, and to the community-based social actions from where each one of us is situated. We experience our spirituality as fundamentally experiential and intuitive rather than conceptual.  Is it therefore possible to colonize the spirit?  The presentation will examine how the spirit can be decolonized.

Dr. Njoki Wane
Njoki Wane is a professor in the department of Social Justice Education (JSE at OISE/UT)  She has written articles and books in the following areas: gender, indigenous knowledge practices, black, feminism and anti-racist education.  She teaches courses in these areas as well as a course on Spirituality and Schooling.

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March 11, 2017 - John Rossini and Keith Brown - Room 5-260

John Rossini: Spirituality and Images: Of the paths towards spirituality, there are many that can be followed.  In this seminar, we meditate upon one of these paths – that is, one offered to us by the domain of the visual arts. Using selected images, seminar members will collectively explore how images are both manifestations and entry points into spirituality.
John Rossini  M.Ed.
John is a flex time doctoral candidate in CTL.  His inquiry explores the intersection of wisdom and art through the spirituality of Thomas Merton.

Keith Brown: Study on Loving-kindness meditation for teachers
Loving Kindness Meditation (metta, in Pali tradition) is a meditation practice rooted in Buddhist traditions which has more recently been adapted to secular environments in North America. In this workshop, I will describe my Master’s Thesis Study, which explored teachers who did Loving Kindness Meditation for a 3- week period, and how their attitudes toward students gradually transformed in the process. I describe Loving Kindness Meditation as a journey into personal exploration and acceptance, rather than as a technique for “emotional management”. This workshop will also demonstrate, through a brief guided meditation, how Loving Kindness Meditation can be used in daily life to foster openness toward others as well as self-compassion. Participants will learn how to use Loving Kindness Meditation as a daily life practice.

Keith Brown
Keith is a recent graduate of Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), where he obtained his Master of Arts in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL). His academic focus has been on spiritual practices in the Buddhist traditions and how they can be adapted to secular contexts to influence teacher’s development, well-being and outlook. Keith currently resides in Toronto, where he is co-facilitating weekly Chan Buddhist group meditation sessions at University of Toronto’s Multifaith Centre.

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April 8, 2017 - Kelli Nigh - Room 5-260

Kelli Nigh - Touching Nature: Alchemy and the Garden
Alchemy is the study of organic processes within the belief that the mind and body are not separate from Nature. Psychologists Carl Jung and Wilhelm Reich believed that one of the most effective ways to practice wholeness was to fully attend to and engage with organic processes. I will present a brief overview of the ancient practice of alchemy, with the aim to highlight how this practice provides opportunities for embodied inquiry.

One educational milieu for organic inquiry is in the garden. There is a growing body of research on the relationship between gardening and well-being. The workshop will review the benefits behind plunging one's hands into the soil, making compost, growing vegetables and learning the mystery behind gathering and sowing seeds. I will provide opportunities for hands-on activities and present examples from my own garden. The participant of this workshop will experience both personal and educational practices for future application.

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and  thrift; above all it teaches trust.
Gertrude Jekyll."

Kelli Nigh has taught drama in public and private schools. She earned her doctorate at OISE in the field of Holistic Education and since then has been editing, researching and writing. Her current manuscript titled, Nature and Learning: A Depth Perspective will be published in 2017.

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