Al-Bustan was fortunate to have three graduate students and aspiring artist-educators from Temple University join us for our After-School Arab Arts Program this year, Mary Kate MacFarland, Sophie Shields, and Charlotte Calautti. Check out the reflections of Sophie and Charlotte below, as they talk about what they learned from observing the program!
During my time observing the afterschool program at Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, I had the privilege of sitting in on Hafez’s percussion class and Lisa’s art class. I learned a great deal from their teaching styles and am sure that I will be able to think back to this experience in my own career. Hafez’s class was very energetic and got all of the students engaged. Lisa had endless knowledge of art techniques and artists. She allowed the students freedom to create what they were interested in and encouraged experimentation. With everything being online I was worried, as so many of us were, that the format would make the learning experience difficult, however the students were fully engaged throughout the classes and I am sure that having a welcoming community outside of school to embrace them during a challenging time was valuable for them. It was so nice to see their skills improve in each class and their willingness to be active in the space was inspiring. It is clear that the student-teacher relationship is strong at Al-Bustan and I feel that this substantially contributed to the amount that the students learned. I am so thankful that I was able to share this experience with my class.
–Sophie Shields, Practicum Student at Temple University
In observing Al-Bustan’s after school program I really learned so much! It was amazing to see how music and Arabic culture can connect in incredible ways. It is great that music can give kids an outlet by encouraging creativity in these crazy times. This program uses technology to engage singing and learning even through a computer screen. It uses music almost as a creative distraction to students. This program allows students to share and connect with each other by learning about music and culture. I loved how excited the kids were each week to share their new favorite songs with the class. It was also neat to see how they learned rhythm and instruments used in the specific music that they loved, along music in Arab culture. It was such a great experience and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have observed this program!
–Charlotte Calautti, Practicum Student at Temple University