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Kintsugi, Kelp and Art Therapy with Michele Rattigan and Denise Wolf

Welcome to Episode 94 of the Think UDL podcast: Kintsugi, Kelp and Art Therapy with Michele Rattigan and Denise Wolf. Michele Rattigan and Denise Wolf are both Associate Clinical Professors of Art Therapy and Counseling in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies, College of Nursing and Health Professions, at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In this episode, Michele, Denise and I talk about the myth of perfectionism, teaching interventions to reach a variety of students (with an equally vast set of skills), what to do if you want to include art and creative expression in your classes as to expand your multiple means of expression options but aren’t an artist or an art therapist, how to face skill deficits with a lens of growth and renewal, and we even make a foray into questioning the system of making an art therapist. Yep, we cover a lot of ground, and yes, we all have an arts or art history background, so art interpretation and a certain body part come up (as often happens in art and therapy), so please enjoy this rousing (or should I say arousing) conversation.


Find Michele Rattigan via email: and Twitter @art_is_healing

Find Denise Wolf via email:

Follow what is going on at Drexel on Twitter:  @drexelcnhp, @drexelonline, @drexeluniv

“Be real not revealed”. Coined by group therapists Gerald Corey & Marianne Schneider Corey.

Corey, M. S., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2018). Groups: Process and practice (10th ed.). Cengage.

Dr. Valerie Young and perfectionism as a category of imposter syndrome:

Wilding, M. J. (2022. March 8). 5 different types of imposter syndrome (and 5 ways to battle each one). The Muse.

The Faculty Four: Using 4 techniques to make your content accessible. These include alternative text, captions, transcripts, and audio descriptions.

Tobin, T. J., & Behling, K. T. (2018). Reach everyone, teach everyone: Universal design for learning in higher education. West Virginia University Press.

Michele adds: “Art therapists are in a position to share what we know about media and materials, and how to use them mindfully. I wrote about this in a book chapter in 2021 for helpers and caregivers of persons with substance use disorders who wanted to use visual arts with some guidance. Some of what I talked about in the podcast and the list I put together can be loosely traced back to this:

Rattigan, M. D. (2021). Can this bottle stay here? The power of visual art making in the treatment of substance use disorders. In R. C. Carroll (Ed.), Complementary and integrative approaches to substance use disorders (pp. 141-174). Nova Science.

Here is the guideline of using art media and materials in in the classroom shared in the podcast:

  1. Why am I doing this?

Just like gamifying a lesson, it has to have a purpose, and not be art for arts-sake. Some learning activities that invite arts-based knowledge expression include self-reflection and observations made in leadership development, socio-cultural learning, organizational and group dynamics, and the biological sciences to name just a few. hand drawn vs. digitally-produced.

  1. Be mindful of the materials

Keep in mind all possible hazards of the provided materials (i.e., toxic, sharp, hot, fumes, etc.). Be mindful of, and familiar with, any art materials you offer to another.

  1. Are you good with messes?

Do not be concerned with neatness or spills. Provide an appropriate space that can get messy (or if neatness is an issue, limit the materials to more structured types such as pre-cut collage images, paper, and a glue stick.

  1. Be supportive

There really is no right or wrong way to create art for personal expression.

  1. Treat the art with respect

The art is an extension of the student.

  1. What just happened?

Monitor changes in before, during, and after the art making process. Did it wake up the class? Did it create an atmosphere you did not intend? Be curious – don’t interpret.

  1. Can the art be a springboard for discussion?

Sometimes it can, and when discussing the art keep it connected to the learning objectives and avoid interpreting the artwork.

  1. What is art?

Not all artwork is drawing. Perhaps the person has difficulty with fine motor skills due to a disability and may feel less anxiety and more control utilizing pre-cut collage images or shapes. Allow choice: Does it have to be hand drawn? Can it be digitally-produced? Student’s smart phones offer so many options and things they can do with photographs and videos, and for most students, it is already a familiar media.

  1. Keep it simple

Keep art directions simple and keep it structured. If you are supplying a person with directions, tasks with multiple steps can be presented one at a time, as each step is completed, rather than all at once in the beginning. You can also have these steps written down to support the individual’s organization.  

  1. Don’t have a set expectation.

You may have a pre-set idea of how the person you are helping may respond. Avoid this as you may be easily disappointed.

  1. Try it Out First!

If you have not used it yourself or tried it out first, don’t do it! And this is another example of embodying the UDL framework, right? When we feel into the process, we can truly know what it’s like for us, and potentially understand what it might be like for some of our students.




udl, students, art, people, art therapy, learner, learning, classroom, education, bendy, important, thinking, create, educators, instructors


Lillian Nave, Michele Rattigan, Denise Wolf

Lillian Nave  00:02

Welcome to think UDL, the Universal Design for Learning podcast where we hear from the people who are designing and implementing strategies with learner variability in mind. I’m your host, Lillian nave. And I’m interested in not just what you’re teaching, learning, guiding and facilitating, but how you design and implement it and why it even matters. Welcome to Episode 94 of the think UDL podcast. Kintsugi, kelp and art therapy with Michelle Rattigan and Denise Wolf, Michelle Rattigan and Denise Wolf are both Associate Clinical Professors of Art Therapy and Counseling in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies, College of Nursing and Health Professions, at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In this episode, Michelle, Denise and I talk about the myth of perfectionism, teaching interventions to reach a variety of students with an equally vast set of skills, what to do if you want to include art and creative expression in your classes so as to expand your multiple means of expression options, but aren’t an artist or an art therapist, how to face skill deficits with a lens of growth and renewal, and we even make a foray into questioning the system of making an art therapist. Yep, we cover a lot of ground. And yes, we all have an arts or art history background. So art interpretation and a certain body part come up as often happens in art and in therapy. So please enjoy this rousing or should I say arousing conversation and a special thank you to the folks at the UDLHE network that stands for Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education Network for their financial support of the think UDL podcast. Thank you to our sponsor, Texthelp, a global technology company helping people all over the world to understand and to be understood, it has led the way in creating innovative technology for the workplace, and education sectors, including K 12. right through to higher education for the last three decades. Thank you for listening to the Think UDL podcast. So I’m very happy to have Denise Wolf and Michele Ratigan with me, both from Drexel University in the Department of Creative Arts therapies at Drexel University. So, thank you very much, Michele, and Denise, for joining me today.

Michele Rattigan  02:51

Thank you for having us. 

Denise Wolf  02:53

For sure.

Lillian Nave  02:54

I’m very excited about this. Because we’re going to get into some, you know, barrier busting and some systemic things, but also what we can do to have multiple modes of, of reaching our students and hearing from them. So I’ll start off with our first question, always to my guests. And I will start with Michele on this one. And that is what makes you a different kind of learner.

Michele Rattigan  03:22

Mine is actually a developmental answer. Okay. So mine is that I’m an anxious learner. Okay, an atmospheric learner, an experiential learner, a relational learner, and a resilient learner. So I have to explain that. Yes, please. So I’ve always had anxiety. This hasn’t been diagnosed until I was an adult and treat it recently. But it really presented a lot of barriers for me in my learning as a child. And you know, I’m not very young. So when I was in school, I went to a private school. And it was at a time when it was actually okay to unfortunately, at the time, threatened children with physical harm, or to hit them with rulers. And so I witnessed that, and that really took a toll on my learning. So I never really learned how to be a learner. But I learned how to behave. So I flew under the radar. Yeah, so it really wasn’t until I was in high school in my later years in a public school where they had different kinds of resources that I learned how to be a learner. And what I learned was that with those resources that I thrived on an experiences I I thrived on an atmosphere that was conducive to Learning where people were compassionate, and relational. And I learned how to be a resilient learner from that experience. And now I can’t stop learning. So even now, I’m back in school, I’m getting my doctorate in health sciences from Drexel University. So I can’t stop learning. So I feel like that experience really helped catapult and changed my trajectory. If I didn’t have that experience. In my later years in high school, I would have had a very different outcome with my learning journey.

Lillian Nave  05:35

Yes. Wow. And what a big difference it is. From being afraid or anxious, and obedient to being an expert learner. Those are two very different things, being obedient learner, and being an expert learner.

Michele Rattigan  05:50

Absolutely, absolutely.

Lillian Nave  05:52

I appreciate that answer and helping us kind of understand, I think about in our classrooms, what we expect from our students. And certainly, we want respect, but there’s a big difference between that obedience and, and learning. Really, right. So yeah, thank you. Okay. And, Denise, I have the same question for you, what makes you a different kind of learner?

Denise Wolf  06:19

Lillian, this was such a fun question for me to answer. And it really unpacked a bunch of stuff that I only recently became aware of, I connect to what Michele said about being both experiential, and relational, I think about that as kind of being an aspect of learner and that, like, I, one, definitely need my educators to spark something in me, right, I need to like feel connected, I need to intensely like them or dislike them or be curious about them. Otherwise, I can’t pay any attention to you and I am gone a million places in my mind. I also need to, like, touch things and move around, I feel like I’m constantly like singing songs and like clicking and tapping and bouncing. And so you know, some of that punitive stuff, Michele, experience, you know, sit down, be quiet, Stay in your seat, you know, didn’t work for me, but definitely need to feel like connected and emotionally engaged in some way. And I’m thinking on that I started to reflect on my own teaching practices, which, you know, I know we’ll get into later, and identifying, you know, sort of what I think of is less sort of traditional, or maybe there’s less speaking and awareness of these kinds of different ways of learning. And so much of the way we teach is the way that we experience learning.

Lillian Nave  07:51

Yes, yeah. I love asking this question. For people who have been teaching a while, and who have that time to reflect on when you first get into teaching, you teach the way you were taught, because you think that’s the only way. And then after a while, you realize, oh, there’s other ways and people are different than I am. And it just, it’s takes this developmental, you know, time to figure that out. And when you were talking, I must say, when I was in high school, Denise, I had a math teacher who I absolutely admired, adored loved, he was we call them chemo, like from the stand and deliver movie about the AP calculus teacher who had a great relationship with his, you know, kind of underprivileged children. And then they all did amazing on math. And, and he would, you’d be kind of a counselor after school. And I loved math. And I wanted to go into math in college because of that. And then I had history and very good teacher, but did not click, and I hated history. And so I did not take AP, whatever it was because of the teacher. Turns out, I was completely wrong in the subjects I liked. Because it was about the teacher. I went into math thing, I was gonna be a math major in college. And I was like, Oh, I don’t like this. This is not my subject at all. And then turns out history was totally my jam. But I had been kind of cross wired, because of that relational part and how important it was, but I had no clue. You know, when I was 18, how much that influenced my desire to learn only on reflection. Yes, yeah. So I want to start out with Michele, a couple of questions for you before I get into some with Denise but of course, Denise add on, if you’ve got some answers as well or want to add some nuanced, more understanding, because you both are in the same department and you’re both doing amazing things. As an art historian and you’re in the arts therapy program. I’m really interested And so we’ll start with Michele, and ask you what is the myth of perfectionism? And how can UDL help dispel this myth in the arts based classroom?

Michele Rattigan  10:14

Well, you know, this is very close to my heart and soul, since I totally just revealed that, I guess that I’ve had a fear of making mistakes practically my entire life. And while this is something I’m still working through, you know, the idea of failing forward is really essential. And I know in your experience is Lillian as an art historian, you may be familiar with the Japanese art form of Kintsugi, of taking broken pottery and putting it back together with precious metals such as gold. And while the different historical functions and practices of it have different stories behind it, a lot of people find the practice of that, and the metaphor of it of embracing flaws, and acknowledging the imperfection of life, like really quite beautiful. So you know, what happens with us is, we’re really terrible, right? With ourselves with compassion, we’re so much better with other other people and giving other people’s space and grace, even statistics, right standard deviation has a margin of error. We don’t give ourselves a margin of error. We need to recognize it and honor it and be gentle with ourselves. But your question is, you know, how do we use UDL and bring that message in the classroom with you know, two decent, higher our teaching graduate students, most of whom they’re pretty hard on themselves at that level, because they’ve already have their undergraduate degrees. And they’re very focused on becoming clinicians, right there in a professional program. So my take on this is, we need to use the engagement part of UDL through role modeling, multiple means of representation and building an opportunities with self reflection and expression, through challenges and discoveries. So in other words, I make mistakes. These historical figures make mistakes, and you make mistakes. And here are the things that we can make out of the broken pieces. You know, here are the things that we have learned from doing it wrong. And these are the things that we’ve invented that we did not intend to invent, like these mistakes or tools, right. And then to connect it back to perfectionism. There’s actually a woman, Dr. Valerie Young, who talked about perfectionism is one of the five categories connect it to impostor syndrome, okay, and said, it’s actually impostor syndromes default mode. But if we employ UDL in the classroom, and we embody UDL as an educator, then we can teach students how important it is to embody a margin of error. Right? And honestly, how boring is it if we’re all perfect?

Lillian Nave  13:22

Yeah. It’s

Michele Rattigan  13:25

It’s so boring. We have to name it, own it, address it, like call it out. And the beginning of every course, in my clinical practice, I actually worked with this adolescent, who was just amazing. I feel like every session with her was a life lesson for me. And she had these incredible mood swings. And she drew this picture one time of just these, like crazy up and down lines all over this page. And we were talking about it and she said, You know, it’s not perfect, but at least it’s not flat. Because if it was flat, then I’d be dead. Oh, wow. Right, like a flat line on a heart monitor. I will never forget that. And, you know, for me, that also ties back to the idea of perfectionism. Like what is a perfect line? So even when I’m working with adult clients, and they’re like, oh, art therapy, I can’t even draw, you know, a perfect straight line. And I’m like, Well, thank God because that’s pretty boring. Yeah. So this whole idea of we we have to break out of this idea that perfect is somehow something we’re striving to be.

Lillian Nave  14:31

Yeah. As you’ve probably heard, perfect is the enemy of the good, right? Yes. Yes. Afraid to start a project because it won’t be perfect afraid to fail, because it won’t be. Yeah, I’m afraid that you will fail. Because you won’t see it as perfect and therefore we neglect even starting or trying. Yeah, and I know like I can hear so Someone who might be in the sciences and be like, Wait, we need to have perfection if we’re a doctor, if we you know, we’re doing it’s also an art. And we’re talking about this, the learning, right? How do we learn how to make the right choices? Well, we probably have to make a mistake in the classroom before we can figure out what the you know how we’re going to be doing this in, you know, another situation, and it’s okay to make these mistakes. So

Michele Rattigan  15:26

it is and it’s great when it happens in the I guess I can use the word safety and the safety of the classroom, where you’re going to get that immediate feedback, right? You take the risk in the classroom, where you’re going to get the feedback, where you’re going to try it out where you can have that innovative experience before you go out into the real world. And I think you had a podcast with Harriet Schwartz and talking about authenticity, yes. And also like embodying that, what there’s actually counselors, Marianne and Gerald quarry who talk about being real not revealed with your clients. And I thought about that when I was listening to that podcast with Harriet Schwartz and talking about being authentic, like you don’t have to spill all of your personal everything to your students, but you can share some real world experiences about oh, yeah, my manuscript was rejected. Yeah, right. And talk about those real world experiences. You’re not perfect, you don’t have all the answers. But just because you’re standing in front of the room, delivering content, right, that’s not your role. And I think that when we are when we accept the fact that we’re human beings, right, and not human doings, right, we can we can be real not revealed. Our students feel more comfortable to be in that space with us and take that educational journey with us, as a collaboration of learners together on that learning journey to take a risk. And it creates such fertile soil for growth and those learning spaces.

Lillian Nave  17:09

Wow. Yes, yes, it does that vulnerability. But I really appreciate that I hadn’t heard that before be real, but not revealed. is creating that space that as you said, Is that safe space where we can fail forward, fail? And then find out what did I do what and learn from it? Those are such incredible experiences. Those are the times when I learned the most is when Oh, that did not go well. I see the consequences, at least in this area, what can I do to make it better? And so that means we have to design for it. That means like not high stakes, you get one chance and then otherwise, you fail, right? You have to have lots of chances, or various ways to make it known, like what UDL tells us to do. So you do have to design so that it isn’t just a one and done kind of thing.

Michele Rattigan  18:08

Well, that also ties into the ungraded assignments. Yeah, right. And that’s something that I’ll do a lot in courses, too, is to provide opportunities for self expression and self reflection in ungraded assignments, where students say create their own learning objectives in parallel with the required learning objectives for the course. Yes, and then they do like an initial midway, and then a final assessment. So just doing the assignment is giving them points towards participation. But it’s not a graded assignment. And then they’re also getting feedback from me. And then they’re getting feedback from their peers, because they’re doing it in you know, breakout groups, because it’s not an online class where we’re, you know, meeting at a brick and mortar experiential classroom. Yeah, that we’re not in COVID. I mean, we’re not really out of COVID yet, but we’re meeting in person right now. And so these are really important things to do. And then the students are truly learner centered. And they’re really like, Oh, I am a part of this process. You’re not just unzipping my head and dumping information in

Lillian Nave  19:16

Right, exactly. And, Denise, did you I see you nodding and I, our listeners can’t see if you wanted to add on to that as well.

Denise Wolf  19:28

Thanks. Yeah, I like to invite failure in there’s a lots of not lots some organizations that celebrate failure, the failure bow, the pink boa award, seeing failure as an opportunity for growth and for for learning. So art makers will say to me, like oh, I don’t want to draw I’m gonna make a mistake. And I say, Yeah, of course you are. That’s not the question. Right. The question is, what are you going to do when that shows up? Who Are you going to be in that moment? You know, how are you going to resolve it? Or so I talk, you know, in the teaching in a lectures, I’ll share errors, you know that I’ve made mistakes. And I say, oh, you know, I said to myself, I’ll never do that again. And then I do it again. I’m like, oh, man, I’ll never do that again. And each time there’s a shift, whether it’s a shift in approach and practice, a shift in self compassion and curiosity. And I think it’s really important to model that for our students to invite that into on purpose, because that’s where creativity shows up in those, you know, sort of errors in clinical education. A few years ago, I brought this new text in a class. And it was lovely in with the exception, that the therapist shared all these vignettes that magically sort of resolved themselves. I mean, not magic, but like, you know, there was a really challenging client, and then, you know, she did XYZ and everything was resolved. And the students said, Does she ever make a mistake? So I offered the assignment of writing, like the anti vignette, right, like, write or draw multiple ways of showing, right, what happens when things go wrong? Because all sorts of creative alternatives showed up?

Lillian Nave  21:31

Yes, absolutely. Yeah, we need to also be helping our students, especially in what you are doing as graduate art therapy, you know, teaching folks who are in practice or going into practice, what is the real world like, right? What do you do when it goes sideways? What skills can you cultivate to deal with that? Right? Yeah, and I also see that universal design for learning helps me to think about what those multiple ways are or to, to offer it like there’s not going to be one answer. When things go sideways, like, depending on the person, the instructor or the client, whatever, like, oh, there, they’ve got to be some multiple answers. It’s just not cut and dried in so many parts of the world, not just in art therapy, but in so many, pretty much life, right? It’s Yes.

Denise Wolf  22:24

And that’s to where innovation shows up. I have a background in special education. And so this one course on error analysis, right? So in teaching math, which sounds maybe Dr. And it was so exciting. So, you know, giant, multiple pages of math problem. And so the student has the incorrect answer. And so my role was to like find the error, you know, the error in thinking or whatever, where the error was. And so that’s really useful for so many reasons. One is to write, how did that error show up? Why did that error show up? And was it an error? Or is there something to be gained from that? Is there a divergent way of thinking or a new pathway?

Lillian Nave  23:10

Wow. Yeah, it is. It’s intriguing how you can get there. Thank you. So failure, number one, and I think it’s good. It’s, we need to design for it. And I really appreciated Michele, you bringing in the idea of Kintsugi, which is that mending the broken parts, and it’s more beautiful than it was before, I often see that in pottery, and the broken pieces are put together using gold. And so you see the gold on the inlay. And that’s how I’m familiar with it. And what is broken is now beautiful. So I love that idea. So I’ve got a follow up for you, Michele. And that is, you have a very broad spectrum of students, like all of us in higher ed, in your art therapy, graduate courses, and they have a wide range of skills. And they’re experts in some areas, and they are novices and other areas. So how does UDL inform your experiential classroom with that big, wide spectrum and diversity? And what specific interventions? have you incorporated to reach all of your varied students? long question?

Michele Rattigan  24:23

Yeah, it’s a long question. So I’ll give you my short answer first, and then the details. So the short answer is our choices. Asking students preferences at the beginning of the course. Not assuming and being bendy. And for the specific intervention, my answer, definitely 100% is accessibility. Okay, so for the choices and tying that into the multiple means of engagement, representation, action and expression, we know and you’ve already To set this Lilian in the in the real world, there’s multiple ways to get there, right? There’s, there’s more than one answer, there’s more than one way to take in information. There’s more than one way to solve a problem or address a situation. So why not model that and encourage that now. So being in a supportive learning environment is the best way to try out a new approach or innovation. So our graduate program is an accredited program. So there are student learning objectives and competency standards that we have to abide by. But as long as the choices that we’re offering, align with those competency standards, why not offer choices? Right? Why does it have to be one way? So then when it goes to the preferences, I always think to myself, you know, how would this assignment look in the real world for the student? And why am I asking them to do it this way? One of the things I think is important is to, like I said, asked preferences at the beginning of a course. But I also asked them, along with these preferences, what can I do as an instructor to support these preferences? Okay, right. Like, I’m really surprised by some of the answers because I, there we go, I make assumptions, right? If I have a class of students who are fresh out of undergrad, I make make the assumption that they all like things that are digital. Yeah. And that may not be true. I might be really surprised that someone says I like everything handed out, or I like traditional lecture, or I don’t like to do and I actually had someone say, I don’t like to do any readings. And I was like, Well, you’re in graduate school. So that’s been it’d be really hard to kind of eat that 100%. But we’ll see what we can do. Yeah. But you know, it’s really helpful to have that. And I actually recently made a mistake, admit, I took a miss step with, okay. I had an epic failure of a class, because I didn’t do that. And I made an assumption. And it was a failure of a class because I looked at this class and said, they’re all young. They’re gonna love doing all these digital things. They did not like doing all of the digital things at all. So we can never assume every group and every class is going to be different. Yeah. Yeah.

Lillian Nave  27:43

I think that’s a big point, too. We assume that all of our students now are digital natives. And that we can’t, we just can’t assume that at all. Lots of different backgrounds, lots of different access to technology. And they may be incredible with you know, tick tock, and certain things, but have a real deficiency and knowing about some other things that we think are basic, too. So yeah, we can Yes,

Michele Rattigan  28:11

we can. And that being bendy. I love that that comes from a former student, and supervisee, who is now a colleague, and he was working with young children in his art therapy practice. So when they were doing a cognitive behavioral framework of art therapy practice, they were teaching kids about how to be flexible. But they were using the idea of being bendy and comparing it to different kinds of trees and how they withstand storms, and how trees and tropical areas tend to be bendy and withstand very strong tropical winds. So I apply that to, you know, UDL and teaching that we’re we’re flexible. We can withstand some pretty challenging situations. Yes. And so UDL offers flexibility for instructors and for students. And what I like about it is that it’s also democratizing. And it also doesn’t put students in a position where they feel singled out, if they did need accommodations, right? It’s a win win for everyone in the classroom. It really is.

Lillian Nave  29:22

Yes, often when we design for kind of the margins, everyone is all of those boats rise. And I remember I cannot remember if this was in the, the Temple Grandin movie, I think it was, but there was a quotation from that, that said, Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. And I thought, that is the best beatitude I have ever heard blessing are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. And so true, right? We get sorted Have cramped and inflexible in maybe our ways of thinking and our ways of doing things that when something comes against that we get bent out of shape, which is kind of an app for ism for mad and upset about things. So I really appreciate that bendy principle. Yeah, it’s

Michele Rattigan  30:21

awesome. And then for the accessibility part, you know, it’s interesting because one of the signature pedagogies in art therapy education is hands on experiential in an art therapy Lab, which looks like an art therapy studio. Because we’re constantly learning by doing so. For for me, I can only speak about my own experience as an instructor. But for me, the accessibility part is not recognizing that I need to offer multiple means through this creativity and innovation. But it’s the quote unquote, traditional parts, right? It’s the lecturing, it’s the reading. It’s the writing. And I think sometimes, and again, I can only speak for myself as an educator in this field. That because you’re in a high level of education, and there’s this concept of rigor, and academia, and you say it with your mouth closed, like your teeth, like academia, right? I mean, not good to me. All right. We’re fancy we come from the Ivory Tower, right? So there’s this idea that you have to make it hard, right? Or you have to like, go through some things to survive, to get this high degree, which personally, I think is a bunch of whatever. But I think, for me, as I get older, and I’m getting better, and I’m doing better as an educator, I was under this assumption that when I would put things in the learning management system, some magical fairy was making everything accessible for me. And I’m realizing it’s not true. Yeah, I’m also realizing that, you know, up to 80% of students are not reporting a disability to the disability office. I’m also realizing, from my own experiences, that there may be adult students who don’t even know that they have a disability that they can report. Yeah. So it’s my job to make things accessible. You know, I learned this from Dr. Tom Tobin over the summer, you know, the plus one strategy or, you know, the faculty for of like picking for different things that you can, you can try out to make things more accessible. So, something I’m really working on now is really looking at what am I asking students to take in? Can it be read on a screen reader? Can it be listened to? Could it also be printed out? If it can’t be all of those things? Then I don’t have them read it. Yeah. And if it’s something that I think, Oh, darn, that was really good content? Well, then I’ll pull it into a lecture and I’ll present it in a different way. I will find something else that’s parallel or similar. And maybe it’s not a reading, maybe it’s a viewing that they’re taking. And that also has a transcript with it. So it’s, it’s my job to do that work. And I’m also just making friends with all the librarians. Oh, realizing, yeah. Right. Realizing that here is a goldmine, and an amazing resource of amazing people that I need to be best friends with.

Lillian Nave  33:50

Yes, that is, that is such a good advice. By the way, my eyes totally lit up when you said that our librarians are amazing. So helpful for any discipline, they are so fantastic. I’ve had we have wonderful librarians, and upstate that have helped me to find the things I need to make sure what I’m giving to my students is accessible. And also just amazing ability to get things for me that I couldn’t find myself. So I’m not perfect, that’s for sure.

Michele Rattigan  34:21

Yeah, yeah. Case in point. There’s an article that my wonderful colleague Denise Wolf, I think you might know who she is, yes. wrote about working with adolescents in an art therapy group. And it’s a fabulous chapter. And, you know, the, the book is not available online. It’s not in our library online. And so what did I do, Denise? I reached out to you and Sid, right.

Denise Wolf  34:51

Can you help me make this accessible for you? No screen readability and right so we work with the interwebs magic And, you know, and made that possible, you know, a reality for our students made it accessible.

Lillian Nave  35:06

Yes. Just antastic Yeah. And, you know, when you said you had a student who didn’t want to read anything, I get that a lot. In fact, I don’t like reading so much books, I’d rather listen to a book like a longer selection, I’m reading all the time reading all the time on my screen. And I’ve found that I make, it wasn’t a heavy lift for me to make sound recordings. Of course, I have a podcasting microphone and things like that. And so I spent, you know, an hour reading some of the chapters. And I’ve had that now for several years for my students where they can listen, go on a walk, and listen to me read them the chapter. And I don’t think that’s handholding at all. I think it’s just another way for students to get the information. And I and I’ve told them, I said, some chapters, this is great, go on a walk and listen to it, because I really want you to get the stories and the concepts. This other chapter, it’s probably best if you’re reading and listening and taking notes. While maybe, you know, maybe you listen to it, but it’s, you might need some more like circle this or, you know, printed out or that sort of thing, because they have it in a regular book form. They also have it as a readable PDF, and then they have the audio. And they could take the readable PDF and use some sort of voice to text or text to voice. And that means that so many of the accessibility letters that I get that most professors get from an office of disability services, I don’t have to do anything, because it’s already been done. And it’s been done not just for those students, but also for my students who may be caring for someone at home, I have a lot students who have younger siblings, and, and maybe students who have a job and they’re listening in their car. And isn’t that great for to listen to that when you’ve got two hours on a commute during your four days of work. And they can kind of stuff it in during that time. So it ends up working for a whole lot more. And one thing when you’re talking about accessibility and art, something that that I’ve also benefited from are things like descriptions, just like, if you’ve got something, work of art, you also have to have an alt text or a description of what it is. And it might, you know, for a Rothko, he’s a color field painter, which means it’s not a person, it’s not a thing. It’s not a landscape, it’s maybe some blues and reds and some floating rectangles that are overlapping, you know, and so you want to explain that, or you might need to explain, here’s a stick figure of two young girls with red curls, you know, something like that same thing. The other way I see that as very important are in the STEM fields, when you’ve got a really complex image, like the evaporation and water cycle, and it goes up and then it condenses. And then it comes down and then it and then it evaporates in you might have like 47 arrows that explain what is going on. And that can be overwhelming to and so having that description and alt text is also very important. And it’s just not something that was around when I was a student that, you know, that I knew of. And it’s so helpful. In fact, when I read art descriptions, I’m like, that’s, that’s not exactly what I was seeing. And I’m like, that’s very helpful to you know, to see it in that way. So accessibility is it’s not just the e reader stuff, but it’s all these other ways we have to make that perception more available for our students.

Michele Rattigan  38:49

And you know, what else is really beautiful, too, I saw, I feel bad because I don’t know who the art teacher was. But I saw this online. There was an art teacher who was hosting a gallery of her students artwork, and it was young children. And she had the children voice record descriptions, about their art and what it meant. Because you know, in working with children, especially Denise and I see this all the time. Everyone misinterprets children’s artwork, yeah. And so, you know, if you have children, you may see one of their first markings when they’re toddlers is they start to make a circle with lines coming out of it. And the first thing an adult will say is, Oh, they’ve made a son. And that’s actually not what it is. It’s a radii right? It’s a radial, and it’s their first image of starting to create a human person, a human person. We all know humans are persons. Figure is what I meant to say. So what it is, is children don’t necessarily make bodies they make arms and legs coming out of a head because That’s how they experience themselves later later that figure grows a body. So when you’re seeing the circle with the spokes coming out, that’s their first attempt at a human figure. But we as adults project it to be a son.

Lillian Nave  40:14

Yes. Wow. Right. Oh, yeah. I’ve seen that from my children.

Michele Rattigan  40:18

Yes, exactly. So how great is it that this art teacher had these QR codes that people can scan and they could hear the child’s voice and tell a story about their artwork? A little bit different than what you’re talking about with the alt text? But here’s another idea, right? Yeah, of something that people can do to add a little more context to potentially really complex images. Personally, I would love to hear Mark Rothko’s voice about about his paintings, because he’s one of my favorite painters. And I can just lose myself for hours and just the layers and the textures of his colors.

Lillian Nave  40:58

Yeah, yeah, me too. Absolutely. And Denise, did you want to add to that, I saw you vigorously nodding your head again.

Denise Wolf  41:08

That happens a lot. I’m really I’m resonating so much with what this during Michele just shared, you know, connecting that to UDL, in that UDL, when done sort of effectively enriches the educational experience for everybody. So here are these, you know, audio recordings of the children explaining their drawings, which increases access, and you know, and provides such a richer experience. And I think folks see, UDL as one more thing to do having worked in with public schools for a long time. There’s a lot of frustration from some teachers who are saying, I’ve 30 kids in my class, and 20 of them have IEP s and how am I going to do you know, all of these different lessons, and I want to re message that, as I’m sure we all do, that. It’s Oh, my gosh, Michele was talking about being bendy. I have this metaphor of being like kelp, which was given to me in a training for therapists, this woman said, be like help. And she stood in front of the lecture room, and firmly planted her her feet in the ground and then swayed back and forth with her arms. And she said, you know, kelp has these tiny little roots called hold fasts, which is lovely. And so they grip into the shallow, you know, waters, and bend with all of the, you know, the movement of the water through storms through calm water. And they also their blades are the green parts create habitats for all sorts of other sea life that needs shallow water and sunlight. So I think about UDL, like, help that we have these holdfast, right, which are small, but mighty, to sort of the learning outcomes, the student learning outcomes, the learning contract, and then we have this great flexibility, which creates this lovely habitat for an enemies. And also right, so that’s the richness that’s the audio that’s added in, that’s the alt text straight. So and it gets the same thing. And it’s not, it’s not harder. It’s different.

Lillian Nave  43:26

Yeah, yeah. Oh, absolutely. I love that, that vision or that image, and I do feel like, Isn’t that wonderful goes back to what we first started talking about, which is that relational part with our professor or teacher, if they’re creating this wonderful environment for growth, really, and for life and for learning, then, like a kelp is creating that. And then we have this wonderful opportunity as students to grow and, and really thrive in that environment. So and I have to add one small story about being a parent with young children creating artwork, as an art historian and I don’t know if every other mom, I don’t know, I’m probably, well, we’re all different. I’ll just go with that. But as an art historian, there’s a lot of human body and narrative, especially as a Greek art historian. There’s a lot of nudes, okay, there’s still hundreds and so in lots of art, there are naked men especially, and my kids would come home and I remember for a long time, everything looked like a penis. I would never say that. But I was like This seems there’s I was a great thermometer you know, like when they create a thermometer and it’s got the like the red coming up on it and it’s kind of like a bulbous bottom. And it was on a pink sheet of paper. And I was just had to bite my tongue on that one. About what you know all wood they would bring home their stuff and I’m like, Oh, tell me about this. You’ve just, that’s what you have to do when your kid brings home artwork, and you don’t know exactly what it is, or you think you do. And you just say, Oh, that’s wonderful. Tell me about this. And that’s, I think that’s a good advice for life. Right?

Denise Wolf  45:18

Yeah. And UDL right, like so then not to bring our own assumptions. And might look like a penis or a son. That’s a weird metaphor, but that happened. But to come with non judgmental curiosity, like, tell me about this. What’s happening for you right now? How were, you know, what, how are you experiencing this? What are you communicating?

Lillian Nave  45:39

Yeah, exactly. That’s, that’s exactly what I did. I was just trying to mask my oh. Oh, good. Okay, so Well, let’s not sorry.

Michele Rattigan  45:56

No, it’s okay. It’s also very normal. And I was thinking, Did she go to graduate school with us, Denise?

Denise Wolf  46:02

Oh, yeah. We have a lot of those moments. And usually, like, you know, sort of behind the scenes, there’s comments, you know, like how you do it.

Lillian Nave  46:12

All the time, all the time. Art historians? I’m sorry, it’s us all the time. Okay. All right. So yeah, my, my professor had written a book called The reign of the phallus. So it’s all over there. Okay. Yeah, we’re right with you. Yeah. All right. So, okay, so let’s say we’re not artists, we’re not our therapist, but we want to include multiple ways for students to express their knowledge, maybe even using Artistic Media. So Michele, let me start with you. How can we do that? Are there pitfalls to avoid? And what are your first steps that you recommend?

Michele Rattigan  46:48

I just want to first say, I love this question on so many levels, because it seems so good to ask in our western culture here in the United States, because other cultures are is just a natural part of like living and breathing, right. And in some cultures, it’s like, oh, you have to have certain accolades to call yourself an artist, or even have access to art materials, or that art has to be a certain way. And like when we think about our educational system, some people kind of stopped doing art in middle school. Right. So it’s not uncommon for adults to draw at a 10 to 12 year old level. Yeah. And I think we do ourselves a disservice when we don’t put steam into stem right, and we forget about the A. One thing I do feel good about, though, is that a lot of educators and early childhood educators are getting involved in mind brain education, work, where there’s a lot of arts infusion in that, which is, I think, really exciting to see. But to go back to your question, I made a list of things that people can do to infuse art into their instructor work. And also, this is not uncommon. Question that Denise and I get, because as art therapists, we do a lot of inner professional work with counselors and psychiatrists, and psychologists and social workers. And so even in clinical work, people might want to infuse creativity and art media into what they’re doing. And they’ll consult with art therapists and say, Hey, this is what I want to do. I just want to make sure that you know, this is cool, or I’m on the right track. So even with this list, I just want to put out there that Denise and I are at your service. So so if you are an instructor and you want to employ some of these things in your classroom or an assignment, and you’re kind of like, I’m not sure, and you don’t have access to knowing someone who is an art therapist, we would be more than happy to consult and collaborate because that’s our jam. We love that. Right. So with that, I will just mention that some people may also think that’s kind of silly. These are just art supplies. Like why do I have to have guidelines around art supplies? These are not scary things. But if you think about it, a lot of people haven’t touched art supplies in a really long time. Like, if anything the art supply anyone has been touching maybe their smartphone. Yeah. And that filters on their on their smartphone, right? Yeah. So unless you’re using the smartphone as a media and material, which by the way is not a bad idea. Right? You can do that. There are things you need to consider if you’re thinking about quote unquote, more traditional hands. on materials. And the reason why is because we don’t learn how to defend things in our art things can slip out, right? Like you’re asking the question, Lillian, and I’m processing it, and I’m thinking about it. I’m actually thinking about it in an image before it’s becoming a word. And before it’s transferring and coming out of my mouth, okay? In art, that doesn’t happen. It goes from image right out into an image, right? So we don’t have that ability to defend. Also, there’s less control, it might feel childish, it might be regressive. It can bring up old unexpected memories and feelings. And that’s why it’s important to have some guidelines around it. So without further ado, first first question, why am I doing this? Right? Just like gamifying a lesson. It has to have a purpose. It can’t just be art for art’s sake. It can’t be an instructor feeling voyeuristic, right? I want to see what their artwork looks like, and I want to interpret it. But their start, there are some things that we do as instructors that would really invite it like self reflection, or observations made in group dynamics, or leadership development, or biological sciences to name a few. Right. Another thing is to be mindful of the materials. Some things may be toxic, or sharp or hot or have fumes. It’s just important to be really mindful and have familiar familiar ality I can’t say that word correctly familiar out already. Yes. You know what I’m talking about. I do yes, with anything that we offer. Also, another thing is, Are you good with a mess, if you’re going to provide something and it’s messy, and you are a neat freak, and you don’t like messy things, or you don’t like things that are, you know, touching your hands, or your students don’t like that, like that’s something really to think about and provide an appropriate space that can get messy. Or if neatness is an issue, limit the materials to like pre cut collage, paper and glue stick. I remember one time I was going to be running a group in a hospital at an outpatient center. And it was something new that I was going to be doing for them. And I said, Well, I’m going to need a room with a table and chairs. assuming there’s that word again, that they knew what they knew what an art therapist did. They gave me a board room with leather chairs. And I said, you know, I’m bringing pain, right? We’ll get you another room. Yeah. The other thing is to be supportive, especially if you’re asking students to do some kind of personal expression or self expression. There’s no right or wet, right or wrong way, right or wrong way to create art, right? Yes. So I think that’s really important. Also, treating the art with respect, I think a lot of times people don’t recognize that it’s just not this thing. Like it’s actually an extension of the person. Right? And so it’s not like something that you would just like fold up and like shoved somewhere like that’s, that’s a part of that person, always treat it with respect. Also, if it’s something in a classroom experience that you’re witnessing, be curious and monitor what’s happening in the room. That doesn’t mean that you have to interpret it and tell the classroom. Oh, this is what I think just happened. But just notice, like, did the classroom get really quiet? did get really loud? Did something unexpected happen? Just monitor changes and be curious about it? Another thing you can consider is, can the art be a springboard for discussion? And if so, definitely keep it connected to the learning objectives and avoid interpreting the artwork. Sometimes the artwork can be really seductive. Maybe not as seductive as the book that your professor wrote about phalluses but but you know, we can get sucked in to you know, the content of the artwork. And then for Wait, what were we just talking about? What What were the learning objectives of what we just did? Yeah, so just making sure to keep that really structured and maybe have like guided questions like ready to go. Also, what is art? Right, like not all artwork is drawing. And this is where UDL gets really strong because we have to think about hidden disability. Yeah, anxiety. with fine motor skills, you know, people who have graphic concerns and disabilities, these are really important to consider. And then also just performance anxiety, someone may have skill and someone may not have skill in that area. And if you’re in a classroom doing it together that can bring up a lot of concerns and issues, people comparing themselves to one another. So it’s important to allow choice does it have to be hand drawn? Is this something that can have a digital component, again, may be this is something where they can be using their smartphones, there’s so much you can do with photographs and videos, you know, using that little computer, they’re all carrying around in their hands all the time. Yeah. And that’s probably for most students, the Art Media and material they’re most familiar with already, right? And I would say, keep it simple. Keep it really structured, make sure that directions are provided in multiple ways, both spoken and also written down. And don’t have an expectation. Because if you’re presenting something, don’t have a set idea of what it’s going to look like, because you’ll be easily disappointed. Yes. And then the final one is try it out first. Don’t ever do anything without you sitting down and doing it yourself. Yeah, 100%. And that’s another really great UDL tool, because you’re embodying it. And when we feel into the process, then we can truly know what it could potentially be like for our students.

Lillian Nave  56:46

Great. Wonderful. Those are great points. Yes, go ahead, Denise. And some

Denise Wolf  56:52

like with doing it yourself to problem solving, right? Like, oh, I didn’t realize that, like the hot glue guns are hot, or, you know, or that hot. And it’s sort of some error analysis ahead of time. I’d had to to some sort of containment in some way. So maybe keep it small. If you’re asking the students to create an art engagement, you know, you might want to think about a frame limit, masking tape on the table and a mark out like, this is my space, those things can feel grounding and decrease anxiety. I think what’s the teachers are like, everyone will art it out. And like Michele said, there’s a lots of stuff that can show up there and lots of vulnerabilities. collage is another great tool, people still have magazines around. And the addition of a prompt of using line shape and color. Right? So we’re taking away subtracting the expectation that it has to be realistic or be comparative. Right. There’s, again, multiple ways to show what you know.

Lillian Nave  58:02

Yeah. Oh, great. Thank you. This is helpful to for as an art historian, I’m as also like a super organized, not messy, and I mean, that’s one of the things I love about art is I just never felt that freedom. And I loved when artists showed that to me. And, and but I still have trouble with Oh boy, this is gonna get messy. And I found with having three children that I needed to let that go quite a bit, but I still have a rule. I’m very anti glitter. That’s my one thing can’t do glitter on now. Sorry. So at least I know my limits.

Michele Rattigan  58:45

That’s okay. There’s glitter glue. Yes,

Lillian Nave  58:47

exactly. Good.

Denise Wolf  58:49

Students share. He said glitter is like the herpes of RTS.

Lillian Nave  58:55

Exactly. I’ve heard that too. Absolutely. Okay, so, Denise, I’m going to start with you on this next question. And it’s a long one too. But I wanted to ask about our students who are increasingly diverse, they come to college with various backgrounds, strengths and differences. However, one thing is common in the past two years, and that is the radically shifted educational environment to online and virtual. So thinking about high school students coming into college and, you know, every step of the way. And so that shift for our students in the last several years has been very pronounced. So we are now seeing the effects of this in life in social and academic skills, deficits across all educational strata. So I wanted to ask you about this. How does UDL inform your teaching practice that focuses on growth and renewal in regards to these current

Denise Wolf  59:53

issues? For sure, yes, that there’s Yep, lots lots packed in there. Yeah. I’m so gosh. So first I’ll say that yes, deficits for sure. I’m not a fan of the term learning loss. And when we lose something or when something is missing, or absent or gone, there’s this space that’s created from that absence. And so within that space is growth and resilience. So the very short answer, is that right is to look at what’s being left out. In terms of if something’s left what showed up, right, so these students have endured a few years of multiple hardships. With increased anxiety in response to the pandemic, ongoing structural racism, what many, many social ills, right, so they’re still here, they’re still here. They’re, they’re coming to school. And for Michele and I, they’re coming to graduate school. So first and foremost, to get curious about what they have done, this brought them here that’s been effective and growth for them. In clinical terms, we will talk about vicarious resilience, or post traumatic growth and healing, I imagine, you know, you’ve experienced this as a as a parent. Oftentimes, when our kiddos get sick, like physically ill, or they made it they have a flu or my daughter had chickenpox, even though she was vaccinated. Fun fact. And so after when they’ve recovered from the illness, there’s often a new sort of developmental milestones. Now they have the pincher grasp, or suddenly they have, you know, complete sentences where they only had words before. So the same thing is true for, you know, psychological sort of experiences, when we undergo something, there’s oftentimes a growth. So to get curious about that. In terms of some of the, the gaps re that for students over the past few years, first, I want to communicate to educators, as we say, in therapy land, to not should all over ourselves. See, that’s

Lillian Nave  1:02:32

a Ha, I see what you did there.

Denise Wolf  1:02:35

Why thank you. And so there’s, I hear lots of talk of, well, the students should know how to do this, they shouldn’t be able to do these sorts of citations, or they should be, oh, okay, give yourself a high five for saying no, what are you going to do about it? Because they’re in your classroom? And they don’t have those skills? So are we going to be punitive? Are we going to say, we’re going to meet our learners where they’re at? and support them to get to those? holdfast? Right, or whatever our student learning outcomes are? So, so, yes, that this, there’s a lot of social gaps, right, that we’ve all sort of collectively experienced through COVID So how can we get those learning opportunities to show up in our classroom on purpose? If you, you know, say, our, our students are maybe chronologically 25 or 22, but emotionally, womb 1718, right, because of this, this period of, oh, my gosh, I don’t even know what I want to call it the past few years. So there’s a growth that that needs to happen, we can get that to show up as part of our education. So to invite that in, rather than, you know, finger wagging hands on hips, you know, lamenting that it’s not there.

Lillian Nave  1:04:08

It’s not helpful when we do that.

Denise Wolf  1:04:15

So and then, you know, UDL design, right, like so what we know about UDL about learner engagement, right about making it relevant to the students. Affective experiences right resonate, they’re easier to access from long term memory. So how can we use those tools on purpose to address both the learning content as well as the process? If I just add my use

Lillian Nave  1:04:46

is yes, yeah. Like the UDL has made a conscientious effort to separate knowledge, goals and skills goals. And so oftentimes, we put a barrier in our assessment if we put like five different things there. And we didn’t realize we put five different things there. But if I want to know that you understand these three concepts, but then I make you write an essay with a certain citation style that you’ve never learned, then I can’t grade you on the actually what I want to grade you on. Because yeah, there’s this barrier in the way. So,

Denise Wolf  1:05:22

yes, right. So and some of that true comes from the student’s own assessments of needs, right. And so I think educators sometimes are afraid to ask students or have a fear that students won’t be authentic, or they won’t be aware. I think in some ways, folks hold students to really high expectations and like, you will be able to do XYZ, and then really low expectations in that will they won’t be able to speak to their own needs. And that doesn’t make sense to me. How, what ways do you learn best? What have instructors done that help you learn what or I often start classes that way five things instructors have done, that have helped me learn, and five things instructors have done that are a barrier to learning. And right, that’s, that’s andragogy, right? That’s like the adult learner taking responsibility.

Lillian Nave  1:06:23

Yes, exactly. And there again, from the very beginning, we don’t necessarily want to create obedient learners, we want them to be expert learners. So instead of them wanting just for us to tell them what to do, that’s not going to prepare them to be full citizens in the world, because it’s not always people telling you what to do. In fact, it rarely is. And so right? How do we create these learners who are going to give us feedback and who are going to really take control of their own education, we have to provide those those pathways, right.

Denise Wolf  1:06:57

One of the best kind of phrases that I’ve heard and used often is I’m not the sage on the stage, I’m the guide on the side. Right, and I’m here in support of you. And so yeah, what do you want to get out of it? Michele, and I were just talking about a student who was a little bit resistant to doing the work and kind of, you know, just like, Well, I’m not gonna do that. And Michele’s response was like, well, oh, you know, it’s okay. But like, that doesn’t impact me, this is your learning. So, you know, what’s your barrier? Why not? What, what, you know, what’s in your way of wanting to get that information?

Lillian Nave  1:07:38

Yeah. Right. Great. Um, and, Michele, did you want to add on to that?

Michele Rattigan  1:07:44

Well, one of the things I wanted to say is I love Denise, that you talked about how, in this experience, there’s still something there when you were addressing, you know, not liking the term learning loss. And it reminds me clinically, when someone shows up to therapy, and they feel like they have nothing left in them or nothing to give, and it’s like, but you showed up today. And the other thing I was thinking about is, you know, the students are experiencing an unprecedented event, right, that we’ve all gone through, globally. And I think that we have to also, as instructors, recognize that this isn’t like a small class of students who are experiencing this one thing, but this is pretty much everybody in the world. And that they’re going to be okay. Right. And so meeting them where they are is exactly what we need to do. And they’re gonna get through this, and they’re going to be better for it. Because the post traumatic growth, there are going to be different kinds of professionals, they’re going to be different kinds of learners, because they have grown through this experience that we didn’t have in our graduate school experiences.

Lillian Nave  1:09:13

Yeah. Yeah. I’ve learned so much. Everybody has had the opportunity to be flexible. Yeah, I can do that. bendy and kelp. Yeah. We’ve all been kelp, like, or we had to be helped, like in order to, you know, continue working and survive this. Because there were so many changes. We had to be flexible. So because it didn’t help to get bent out of shape in that case, right. So, Denise, I’ve got another further question that’s about these barriers. We keep talking about and doing some barrier busting. It’s kind of on a systems level. So what do you think needs to change then about your discipline? An art therapy and the art art therapy system in which you are attracting and training and certifying future art therapists. And how does UDL inform your views on this?

Denise Wolf  1:10:15

Right, so I know our profession is for the most part, white women, and so that thinking about UDL in terms of equity, right, how is how, how is Art graduate or art therapy? Education? inaccessible? Right? What what are the barriers? And then what can we do lift move to change it right? How can I use my level of power and privilege as a, you know, cis-het white woman to lift those barriers? So first, you know, getting curious about, you know, what the barriers are? Why is that showing up? One of the ways that I’m thinking about it, living, you know, in and around Philadelphia, is looking at the dropout rates of students in the public school system. And so what’s largely reported is the dropout rates in senior year, but what’s underreported? Is the dropout rates between eighth and ninth grade, when Philadelphia High School starts right, and then you select your high school based on your grades in your extracurriculars. And that is, oh, my gosh, a little hard to find, but soon hovering around maybe 30 to 40%. Right? Why? I’m so will not miss not dropping out after the eighth grade. But I would say not complete, not graduating. Right. So like, and so we’re looking at high school, but we’re not looking at like the shift right before high school. And so these I think, in terms of art, therapy, education, how do we plan what I’ve heard called Dream seeds. Right? So how do we first get the idea that this is a sustainable career in the arts, and that it’s accessible to all people? Right? And so then how do we so many questions Lilian array of questions, right? How do we make it more financially accessible? Because it is a graduate level entry field, or profession? And how do we make that educational design more accessible? For folks who are English language learners, or, you know, come from intergenerational poverty or have not had the same education or have had diverse educational experiences? So I’d really love for our professional organizations to start out by getting curious, and really looking not at high school. I’m gonna go all the way back to middle school.

Lillian Nave  1:13:04

Yes. Yeah. And that modeling is so important. Thinking about models. I was just watching something yesterday about how models create what you call the future seeds, Dream seeds. Yeah, Dream seeds. And, and I thought this was an interesting comparison. Like, when, before the Renaissance, let’s say there was a people didn’t really know, or the maybe a large conception was that you might drop off the edge of the Earth, maybe there wasn’t long sea voyages, much of it. And so people didn’t think about being, let’s say, explorers, or sailors or things like that, or shipbuilding for long distances. But when that kind of changed, when more people knew about this large globe to be explored, then, you know, young people could think about I want to sail the world, like it wasn’t even a possibility. And now it can come can become a possibility that that’s what I want to do, or that that it’s even possible. And I think we undersell that. There are just so many things we didn’t realize we could do, or one could do. Yeah. And so that goes along with art therapy. We got to find out early on that it’s that it is, like you said sustainable, and that you don’t have to be a certain kind of person to do it.

Denise Wolf  1:14:36

Right. Yeah. And lots of chefs to in our oh my gosh, in our national credentialing and you know that that national standards, there’s working on some work on real languaging because there’s lots of unintentional and implicit bias that’s kind of baked in so There’s a movement, a growing movement and art therapy curricula designed at the national level and organizations to really look into that.

Lillian Nave  1:15:10

So would having multiple entry points be some way to offer more a wide variety of people and backgrounds to come into this?

Denise Wolf  1:15:23

I think so. And maybe an unpopular or less popular idea is to continue to build pre art therapy programs, or undergraduate programs that are preparatory in lots of other professions, you know, medical professions, your pre med, so our therapies and medical profession but to increase, you know, opportunities for readiness.

Lillian Nave  1:15:49

Yeah. So that more people can be attracted, they can the awareness is first and then kind of that modeling and knowing that they can do it, which is a lot of UDL engagement. Yeah. And multiple pathways to get there. Very good. Yeah. Yes. And Michele, did you want to add anything,

Michele Rattigan  1:16:11

I have a slightly different perspective. I agree. 100%, with everything that Denise has said, in my doctoral studies, I’m looking at critical compassionate pedagogy and clinical education. And one of the things that is also an issue in art therapy, is we tend to have programs that are housed in predominantly white institutions. And we are predominantly white educators. So representation, you know, in our field, as educators is predominantly white and female as well. And so here I am, as a white says, Woman, teaching in graduate education, surprise for art therapy. So I recognize my position of privilege and power. And so when I’m finished with my doctoral program, I want to put together some workshops, to supervise and to provide free opportunities to help some of our colleagues and supervisors who are persons of color, who bring a lot of diversity to the field, to get education, in feeling comfortable in doing more supervisory work and doing or adjunct work, and feeling comfortable to go out and apply for jobs as professors, because I think that sometimes people are just feeling uncomfortable going for those kinds of jobs or feeling like, nobody there looks like me, or I don’t know if I could do that. And I want to put myself in a position to support that. You know, and I also know that I need to get out of the way. You know, I need to also open up that spot. So I’m hoping to move towards that. I, you know, that plan is to is to move out of the way in that process as well.

Lillian Nave  1:18:20

That’s great. Yeah, that’s that imposter syndrome, again, lurking that I don’t belong here, or I’m not good enough. Something that’s so gosh, it seems every academic struggles with I think, right.

Michele Rattigan  1:18:34

In addition to that, this, I don’t want to come off as this like white savior ism thing, right? Because that’s, that’s a real danger. And I’m not saying I’m going to go do this thing. And like, I’m going to change the world. That’s not the message at all that I’m trying to send, but also being a part of, you know, recognizing the system that I work in, and a lot of systems of care can be systems that have implicit bias or policies or procedures that are very oppressive, you know, hidden and not hidden. And so not being afraid to speak up and push against the envelope, you know, and push up. You know, I’ve been on committees before, faculty search committees, where we’ve put together some packages in terms of saying, This is how we can do better in terms of Dei, this is how we can do better to diversify our talent. This is how we can do better to be more attractive for diversified talent. And so just not being afraid to speak out and be a part of that change and not be complacent.

Lillian Nave  1:19:46

Yeah. Wonderful. Great. Well, that is it’s aspirational, you know, and we’re going to have to check in right and find out how this is going. We know with the podcast and Several years because we’re gonna, you know, keep on doing this. So thank you very much i Wow, I really appreciate both of your time and commitment to this. Really excited that we got a chance to talk. And thank you very much for kind of bringing this I think it’s really applicable to any subjects that what we’ve talked about here and what what instructors can bring into their classroom. So thank you very much, Denise and Michele, for joining me today on the think UDL podcast.

Michele Rattigan  1:20:32

This was fabulous. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed this

Denise Wolf  1:20:36

Very much. Thank you.

Lillian Nave  1:20:42

You can follow the think UDL podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out when new episodes will be released. And also see transcripts and additional materials at the think website. Thank you again to our sponsor, Texthelp Texthelp is focused on helping all people learn, understand and communicate through the use of digital education and accessibility tools. Texthelp and its people are working towards a world where difference, disability or language are no longer barriers to learning and succeeding, with over 50 million users worldwide. The Texthelp suite of products include Read and Write, Equatio, and Orbit Note, which work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G Suite, and enabling them to be integrated quickly into any classroom or workspace with ease. Texthelp has changed the lives of millions worldwide, and strives to impact the literacy and understanding of 1 billion people by 2030. Additional support for the podcast is made possible by Appalachian State University where if you call it Appalachian, I’ll throw an Apple-atcha. The music on the podcast was performed by the Oddyssey quartet comprised of Rex Shepherd, David Pate, Bill Folwell and Jose Cochez and I’m your host, Lillian Nave. Thank you for joining us on The think UDL podcast.

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