Danielle is the Interim Director of the MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University. Currently, Danielle is Poet Laureate of the City of Boston. The City’s Poet Laureate is tasked with raising the status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of Bostonians, acting as an advocate for poetry, language and the arts, and creating a unique artistic legacy through public readings and civic events. The Poet Laureate is a ceremonial appointment.
On Arts and Education
Why are the arts important in education? The majority of the students I work with here at Lesley are practicing teachers seeking a broader understanding of how to enhance instructional practices in their areas of concentration. We explore how the various art forms, especially poetry and writing helps create critical thinkers, educators, and human beings. My students are doing the great work of teaching not only our future readers and writers, but future our nurses, engineers, social and cultural workers, scientists, and beyond. The arts create powerful pathways through which educators can reach all kinds of learners.
Teaching Philosophy Notes
I believe that all students can learn and that most subjects are teachable provided the appropriate connections are made. I believe that to be an effective educator, one must also be a learner. What students bring to the classroom, I feel, should be part of what teachers consider in working with curriculum. Learning should be connected to the real lives of students. I feel that educators should bring to learning a number of “vocabularies” that allow for the recognition of student strengths, experiences, and challenges—and with which to explore content. I see the practice of interdisciplinarity as a real strength in the classroom. Education, for me, does not happen only in schools—and educators should take advantage of what is available beyond classroom walls, in the virtual and “real” worlds. I feel students should be encouraged to play active roles in their learning, and that teachers should help students do this. It’s important to me that students be involved in their own assessment whenever possible. I feel that while theory can precede practice; practice often precedes theory—and that effective teaching works moving in both directions.
Finally, and often first, I draw on the theoretical frameworks and approaches of the arts traditions: arts and education, the fine arts, and arts integration. I feel that the arts allow us to experience different perspectives in powerful ways, and allow students to appreciate and reconsider boundaries of identity, culture, and perceived or understood ability. I feel art is a powerful tool for inquiry, reflection, and knowing; and that art practice allows for critical engagement and the development of valuable critical skills—in essence they operate as epistemology. I feel that art allows for complexity in the complex world that students inhabit; that we all inhabit.
BS, Communication Studies, Emerson College
MFA English, Creative Writing, New York University
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Emerson College