Poet Gale Jackson (MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts faculty) is actively engaged in work that involves storytelling as practice and conduit for research. She has helped develop Storyteller in Residence / Poet in the House Collaborative for public school students in New York City.
Says Gale: “Storytelling is our oldest site of pedagogy, wondering, imagining, discovery, socialization, and language instruction. The Storyteller in Residence / Poet in the House Collaborative draws on our world griot traditions of interdisciplinary engagement and community building to facilitate a learning collaboration with students and teachers centered in the old magic of humanist education through the arts.”
Gale leads multilingual multiage group sessions that include a Women Writer’s Workshop or Men’s Workshop for writers over eleven; the Seven Tongues: Explorations of Language and Studies in Translation; Talking Book Storytelling Circles; Studies in Chinese Calligraphy and Poetics.
“This pedagogical model of student/practitioner conversation,” says Gale, “is the root…of education through the arts. It explores the arts in education using apprentice, guild, and storyteller forms of old, as well as contemporary methodology in progressive learning.”
In a report about The Poet in the House Collaborative by Ms. Nana, ELA teacher at The Computer School, a middle-school student writes:
“The Poet in the House Collaborative is very important to me. Through Professor Jackson’s teachings, I learn to think more deeply about who I am and about the world around me. For example, I had never really thought about language before. I had only thought of it as the way people communicated with each other. Professor Jackson taught me that it is more than just that. She taught me that the roots of language go back to a time when everyone was connected and that somehow all languages are similar.”
Through her work, Gale is able to use story and storytelling to transform the lives of children and their families; this in turn becomes critically important for communities that value collaboration and imagination.
Note: an abridgment of this story appears in the article, “Is Activism Dead?” in the Clockworks Fall/Winter 2015 issue on page 9.