Holistic Educators Saturday Meetings at OISE in Toronto 2017-2018

The Holistic Educator’s Group meets Saturday mornings from 10am - 12 noon approximately every two months from September through April. The meetings are open to all who may be interested in holistic teaching and learning and are not exclusively for those who are associated with studies at OISE/UT. We have a number of captivating workshop leaders each year who join us to lead the sessions which tend to be interactive and participatory. Meetings also provide an opportunity to network with those who have common interests. There is no need to register in advance and there is no charge to attend the workshops. Please invite others who may be interested in our meetings.

Our meetings are at OISE/UT, 252 Bloor Street West between St. George Street and Bedford Road on the north side of the street. The room number for the meeting is posted  at the security desk in the lobby. The main floor coffee concession is sometimes open on Saturdays or there's a Tim Horton's just east of the building on Bloor.  Parking on Saturday under the OISE building is fairly reasonable. There is a Green P parking lot on Bedford just north of Bloor. Of course TTC is always a good option (St. George Station on the Bloor/Danforth line).

Special Announcement:  Holistic Educator Conference September 2017  https://inside.sou.edu/education/holistic/index.html

Holistic Educator Workshop Presenters at OISE for 2017-2018:  All Workshops are in Room 5-280

October 21 - Sean Park
Prototyping the future of holistic education: A design workshop
How might we co-create the future of holistic education?  What radical experiments must we run to keep spirit and mystery alive in our teaching and learning?  This highly interactive workshop draws from design thinking and expressive arts as scaffolds to help us creatively and performatively cook up new ways of being and doing our work.  We will go through an iteration of a creative design process which includes dis/un/re/covering inner resources, reframing our challenges, ideating wild possibilities, and crafting embodied expressions (prototypes) of the more expansive, sacred contexts we seek as educators. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring a burning question they’re wrestling with.

Sean Park is an educator, facilitator, coach, and scholar. He holds a PhD in contemplative and arts education from Simon Fraser University having studied with Heesoon Bai, Avraham Cohen and Celeste Snowber.  Sean has training in Theravadan Buddhism, Daoist martial arts, theatre work, Afro-Brazilian percussion, counselling, and solution-focused coaching.  He is presently a student of Dr. Bradford Keeney and Dr. Hillary Keeney in ecstatic healing.

He once served as a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts (IDEA) program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and recently lead the Studio Y fellowship for youth at MaRS in Toronto. He currently teaches design thinking and creativity at McMaster University and freelances as a writer and creative life coach.

Sean lives with his wife Stephanie and son Theo in West Hamilton.  You can sometimes find him freestyle rapping with kids at the Ryerson HAAA park. He is also becoming an expert at writing his bios in the third person.

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November 18 - Lynda DelGrande
Caring Clown: The Humour Solution
Working in long-term care homes, Caring Clowns create a holistic and joyful environment to help stimulate the well being of residents, especially those with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. This playful session will introduce participants to basic clowning skills and how they are applied in a health care setting.  Residents, staff and the clowns themselves reap the benefits.  Experience first hand the fun behind the red nose. Participants will be able to share their personal experiences and ways of adapting the skills to suit their unique situations.

Lynda Del Grande is a retired high school teacher who found a new passion in becoming a Caring Clown. Since 2008, she has taught Caring Clown at Ryerson’s Program for Adults 50+. Clowns thrive on surprise, and true to form, Lynda was overwhelmingly surprised how Caring Clown ‘found’ her. Now entering it’s ninth year, Caring Clown graduates volunteer at long-term care homes across the city of Toronto.

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January 13 - Dr. Larry Nusbaum
Drawing on Your Own Strength
In this workshop you will experience a powerful and fun technique designed to help you access your deep intuition for healing, problem solving, self-care, or for whatever you most need. This learnable tool blends: drawing, emotional awareness, and playful inner dialogue in ways that release the natural powers of imagination. You will leave with a take home guide that you can use on your own and share with others. No artistic skill required. Music will be part of our time together.

Larry Nusbaum is a physician, psychotherapist, storyteller, and musician who lives in Toronto. He designs inner guidance tools that help people heal their lives and live well, and has been teaching these methods internationally for 23 years. Larry loves to share what brings balance, joy, and hope into his life and into the lives of others.

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February 24 - Jack Miller
Love and Compassion:  Exploring their Role in Education by Jack Miller

Book Launch:   This book explores different forms of love- self-love, love of others, impartial love or compassion, love of learning, love of beauty, nonviolent action, presence and universal or cosmic love.  These different forms will be discussed in the workshop in relation to teaching and learning. The book will be available for purchase.

John (Jack) Miller has been working in the field of holistic education for over 40 years.  He is author/editor of 20 books on holistic learning and contemplative practices in education which include Whole Child Education, The Holistic Curriculum, The Contemplative Practitioner, and most recently Holistic Education and Embodied Learning. His writing has been translated into nine languages. Jack has worked extensively with holistic educators in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong for the past 20 years.  Jack teaches courses on holistic education and contemplative education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto where he is Professor. http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/ctl/Faculty_Staff/Faculty_Profiles/1265/John_Miller.html

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March 24 - Benjamin Hicks & Misha Arbarbanel

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE IN-BETWEEN? Exploring the potential of Contemplative Arts Based Data Analysis

This workshop will explore the development of a unique approach to qualitative research that combines visual arts-based data analysis and contemplative practice. Contemplative Arts Based Data Analysis (CABDA) recognizes the particularly complicated ways that data collection, data analysis and data representation can interact for qualitative researchers whose subject matter overlaps with their personal life experiences. It offers one possibility for remaining more present and connected with the people, processes and potential of our academic work. The visual component of this workshop will help to demonstrate how CABDA has functioned in practice for me as a teacher/researcher whose transgender identity intersects with the queering-spaces work that I do with educators. Examples from my MA thesis project will demonstrate how I use a cyclical process of drawing, painting and reflective writing combined with compassion meditation (Tonglen) to trouble my own academic analysis. During the workshop, there will also be opportunities for group participation in various aspects of these processes. My visual examples include multi-media inquiry questions as well as the graphic stories that develop alongside my academic writing. These visual translations correspond to my written analysis, but they also honour the ways in which research is emotional, that emotion involves memory, and that memory always impacts our present perceptions as researchers.

benjamin lee hicks is a visual artist, elementary school teacher and PhD candidate in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development at OISE/University of Toronto. benjamin’s current research considers the way that teachers feel about “not-knowing”. They are interested in how uncertainty affects the willingness of teachers to act publically on their felt-desire to support trans/gender diverse youth in schools, and the potential of holistic professional development to help teachers shift their own relationship to fear/inaction.

Meta-Emotion: how do we learn (and teach) to feel?

Metacognition, useful in helping students understand their thinking processes, has become attached to the Achievement Chart in many subject areas across all grades; educators see its importance in helping students self-assess and develop their thinking. However, most students who struggle in school, and even ones who don’t seem to struggle, do so because of emotional factors. Working with students to help them get underneath their own feelings can help them un-block their education, whether those blocks manifest as apathy, anger, substance abuse, lack of confidence, some combination, or something else entirely. This workshop will borrow from the realms of counselling and psychotherapy, hopefully presenting some useful frameworks and tools for helping students cultivate their Emotional Literacies, if you will, and will certainly invite contributions, sharing of experiences, and  discussion from those in attendance, as well.

Misha Abarbanel is a high school teacher in the Toronto District School Board, served for years as an English and Literacy Curriculum Leader, and is currently completing his PhD in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development at OISE/UT. Misha writes on education and politics for the Huffington Post and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and volunteered for many years on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Student Debating Union.

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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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Workshops: 2008-09  |  2009-10  |  20010-11  |  2011-12  |   2012 -13   | 2013 -14   |  2014 -15  |   2015 -16

your host - Dr. Selia Karsten
September 2017