Storyteller and music writer Stuart Stotts teaches arts integration at ACES

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

American author, musician and storyteller Stuart Stotts visited the Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) from Monday, December 10th through the 14th, to show teachers how to integrate arts in their teaching methods. Some of the strategies included drama, movement, and music to make lessons more interesting, and interactive, rather than using traditional methods.
Stotts, a native from Wisconsin, USA has been holding these educational training in schools around the world for the past 30 years. The opportunity to come to ACES and San Pedro Town stems from an online teaching program from the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh, in which some ACES teachers are currently enrolled. Stott often works with this teaching program that involves arts integration and thus, was asked to visit ACES. “You can only teach so much online. You need some on the ground interaction at some point,” said Stotts.
Teachers and students expressed their satisfaction with the lessons that took Stott from the infant level to the senior students in the fifth and sixth levels. According to him, the activities such as drama and movement allow students to concentrate better. “It makes lessons more interesting, students learn more deeply, and it is much easier for them to remember things,” said Stotts. “They also learn other skills like creativity, cooperation, and communication.” Besides acting out a lesson and showing what students have learned by movements, music is another method used as well. One example was using music in Mathematics to remember formulas easier and make the class more interactive. These activities are also expected to improve teachers in their approach and use arts more often in the classroom.

ACES Principal Amanda Burgos was happy to have Stotts come to the school and share his experience. She believes that these new teaching methods will not only make their staff better professors, but students will have more fun while obtaining a quality education at the school. She thanks the people from the Wisconsin University who have been very supportive to ACES as they strive to provide a good education for the island’s children. Burgos added that in January 2019, a group of student-teachers from Wisconsin will be visiting ACES to work along with teachers and students during their stay on the island.
Located south of San Pedro Town, ACES has been expanding to accommodate more students and improve its facilities. On October 24th, the school inaugurated a new two-story building equipped with a classroom and a conference room on the upper floor, plus two classrooms and a kitchen/cafeteria on the ground level.
For more information on ACES call 226-2226.

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