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The Habla Teacher Institute

+ The Annual Habla Teacher Institute
Are you ready for a professional adventure?
Are you looking for dynamic ways to teach literacy and language in your educational setting?
Are you interested in gaining a new set of tools for integrating the arts into your teaching practice?
Would you like to contribute to an international community of educators?

The Habla Teacher Institute is a professional development experience in Merida, Mexico for all educators interested in activating their own creativity and finding new ways to explore the intersection of literacies, languages, and the arts.

At the institute you will work with international leaders in the fields of education and the arts. Habla documents and shares best practices for using the arts to transform schools and communities. At this institute you will experience these best practices, share your own, and learn ways to fuse the arts with literacy in your educational setting.
The Habla Teacher Institute will be led in English and Spanish. No Spanish language background is necessary.

+ Program Highlights
  • Participate in professional development hands-on workshops led at the Habla center by international leaders in the field of education.
  • Have conversations and share teaching practices with an international group of educators attending from around the world. An average of nine countries are represented at each teacher institute.
  • Receive a copy of the Habla Best Practices Handbook, which documents powerful teaching practices for integrating the arts collected from around North and South America.
  • Celebrate throughout the week with social events including the legendary closing fiesta in a gorgeous quinta (estate) outside the city.
  • Enjoy Yucatecan food served daily for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
  • Engage in optional experiences at night led by international visiting artists that extend the day’s learning from the institute.
+ How you will benefit
  • Acquire a set of practices, tools, and activities for integrating the arts meaningfully with language and literacy development in your educational setting.
  • Experience a model of cross-cultural education involving multiple languages with participants from a range of backgrounds and ages.
  • Learn a set of cutting-edge tools from various leading organizations for documenting and sharing student learning.
  • Compare model educational practices from different parts of the world that help to teach creativity to students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Explore ways to develop a community in the classroom by engaging in meaningful sharing of work through multiple mediums.
  • Understand how to foster an educational environment of multiliteracies that fuses art forms and technologies.
  • Reflect on ways to build a multilayered classroom environment that engages students in thinking critically and creatively about problems and their solutions in our global society.
  • Leave with a clear structure for transferring the experience of the institute directly to your specific grade-level and/or educational context.
+ Who is the institute for?

In past Teacher Institutes, participants gathered from Brazil, China, Mexico, the United States, Argentina, Canada, England, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, and Australia from a range of professional backgrounds including

  • Public school elementary teachers from the United States of every grade level
  • A doctor setting up a literacy program in the Dominican Republic
  • Spanish language professors from Ivy League universities
  • Literature professors from universities in Mexico
  • An educator who works in rural Mexican schools for a non-profit organization
  • An arts education administrator, poet, and educator from Minneapolis
  • A literature teacher in a KIPP charter middle school in the United States
  • An artist who facilitates arts programs for kids in Mexican orphanages
  • A state arts council administrator and visual artist from the United States
  • Elementary and Secondary visual arts teachers from the United States and Australia
  • Graduate students interested in exploring new ways to teach language and literacy
  • A Spanish language professor in a rural liberal arts college

Although everyone of any professional background is welcome, the institute is especially relevant for

  • Literature, language arts, and literacy educators
  • Elementary school teachers
  • Foreign language teachers
  • Arts teachers (all disciplines)
  • Teaching artists
  • Community educators
  • Educational administrators

+ Partners for the Habla Institute Include
+ Comments about past teacher institutes
"The institute was so planned out and professional but also offered that personal touch. The environment allowed for immediate vulnerabilities to be shared and for long-lasting friendships to be forged. I am permanently changed as a person and teacher as a result of the institute - and that has not usually been the case with teaching seminars/institutes. I will be back!!!!!!"

Kelly Lane, 1st Grade Teacher


"When I reflect about the institute, I cannot think of it as divided by days and hours and sessions, moments of work, or conversation, or performance. In retrospect, it seems to be like a timeless intense moment in which we went from one layer of depth to another, guided by discovery and wonder. Working and collaborating on equal footing with everyone, regardless of who we were and what we did, was truly revealing, profound and inspiring for me. It gave me a glimpse of what could be achieved by working in this manner with our students and colleagues. I had never before had the opportunity nor the privilege of working with such talented yet humble, wonderful artists and other educators from different walks of life. It was as if all of a sudden, I had become another person or maybe the real me that had been hidden, fearful of showing itself to others. It was an experience of deep joy, peace, inspiration, and energy."

Nidia Schumacher, Director of the Language Program in Hispanic Studies at Brown University


"I learned how well the exploration of text and writing could be enriched through work in the art forms. Sometimes we focus too much on the medium and technique in the arts – not on what you will use the medium to express. The opportunities to read and write during the institute gave me something I wanted to have images for. This was very apparent as everyone eagerly worked on their book projects. I was amazed by how rich and personal the final products were."
Ruth Piispanen, Arts Education Director, Idaho Commission on the Arts


"What I think it changed the most in my teaching, is the way I see myself now as a person in front of a class, how I am committed to the moment and have the confidence to experiment and be more creative."

Dani Evia Duarte, Language Educator and Yoga Instructor, Mérida México


“In all honesty, my experience at the Habla Teacher Institute reaffirmed my decision to become a teacher. Being around so many dynamic educators awoke a passion that I had, until now, been stifling. The Institute made me see teaching itself as an art form and one with incredible opportunities for creativity and imagination.”

Rebekah Bergman, Brown University Student


“At the institute there was no hierarchy between the professors from Brown University or Columbia College and elementary school teachers like myself. This is extremely unusual in an education conference setting. The culture and structures at Habla echo Paulo Freire. The teachers and the students were co-learners and co-teachers in the truest sense.”

Anne Thulson, Visual Arts Educator and Artist, Denver, CO
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