To teach challenged students you need an approach that meets them where they are and builds trust so they'll open up to learning. Bill Rossi's teaching approach, outlined in Venturing Together: Empowering Students to Learn, gives you the tools you need to establish that trust and then venture into learning together.
Much like traditional medicine, Rossi's approach works by cutting beneath the symptoms or pathology to ignite the life force -- or, in this case, the creative spirit. When you do this students are able to develop the essential skills and abilities we all need in order to learn well, what Rossi calls The Principles of Empowerment:
Relationship to Self: Ability to concentrate; Level of motivation; Self-confidence to succeed; Ability to tolerate frustration; Consistency of effort.
Relationship to the Teacher: Listens to the teacher; Understands directions; Communicates needs; Communicates ideas.
Relationship to Skills Development: Shows respect for environment and equipment; Shows willingness to try new steps; Displays freedom in self-expression; Recognizes patterns; Shows ability to build on previous learning; Incorporates elements of the skill.
This volume is well worth reading. By providing the tools to reach a person's underlying spirit, or essence, Bill Rossi's approach enables teachers to bring forth aspects of students' being that truly humanize them.
Wander de C. Braga MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Albany, NY
Read Venturing Together to learn how to:
- accommodate the full range of learning styles through mutli-dimensional teaching
- create an environment of inclusion
- acknowledge students for who they are
- foster attitudes of mutual respect
- empower students towards self-education
- keep challenged students engaged and growing
- provide the architecture for directed, purposeful creativity
Because Rossi is a Jazz and Blues musician and educator, Venturing Together views creativity through an arts lens. But the approach is applicable to anyone wanting to access and utilize their creativity.
Venturing Together contains two parts (click for look-insides):
- examines how early African Americans dug deep into the arts to overcome the adversity of slavery
- pinpoints why creativity is an essential element for empowering at risk students
(Read the introduction to Book I here)
- describes the essential qualities and principles needed for a healthy mentoring relationship
- describes the essential qualities, principals and environment required for dynamic strength-based teaching
- provides specific approaches and orientations for effective strength-based teaching
(Read the introduction to Book I here)
Watch this 4-minute video to learn one student's experience with the teaching approach.
This volume provides valuable, specific tools for anyone wanting to creatively enhance their ability to teach or mentor. Bill’s approach is very effective, and will contribute to educational and social reform.
Kathryn Gerbino, Ph.D.
Assistant District Superintendent of Instruction, Capital Region BOCES, NY
Bill Rossi reminds us that young people cannot grow up complete unless art, music and creativity are part of their lives, and demonstrates how to bring out the best in students with specific instructional approaches encouraging mentoring, strength-based teaching, motivation, and putting students first. What he demonstrates is that effective education is … about encouraging young people’s innate love of learning.
Senior Fellow, Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington; co-author, A Legacy of Learning
Venturing Together was amazing, for me. It was inspirational and has a huge out-of-the-box focus. Here in our educational system it’s like we’re in a bubble – everyone’s inside a bubble – and what Bill Rossi is doing is outside the box. It’s a huge vision! I loved that book so much I read it twice – I think he should write a second book! -
Administrative Manager, Chester County Family Academy, West Chester, PA (Pennsylvania Charter School)
This toolkit provides the ground for student and teacher to work and play together, and serves as a springboard to understanding and experiencing the student's emotional and social world. In this context, creativity represents communication as symbolic language, giving form to feelings and thoughts. W hat's really important is that the purpose here is not just to develop a skill, but also to develop relationship and companionship. This makes it ideal for educational, artistic, and therapeutic purposes.
Marika Cutler Moore
MSW, Co-Author, Developmental Play Therapy in Clinical Social Work
I think Venturing Together is brilliant. You have crystallized the problem and a very viable solution.
Erica Fitz Mears
writing coach and instructor of theater arts
So many of our young people, as well as many others, feel they don’t belong in the mainstream of society. Well, they do. We all do, and even if we are different, we are valuable. As a matter of fact, these differences add value rather than marginalization in the whole fabric of our humanity.
Involvement with the creative process brings self esteem and dimension to all of us who reach inside to find our individual voices. But how can we as teachers and mentors implement the diversity of voices and stories to make a better world?
Bill’s book Venturing Together provides an intelligent guide to aiding those who may feel like they don’t belong to realize the energy and power of their own creative spirits.
In this invaluable book, Bill Rossi shows us how to proceed. There are no quick fixes here, only hard work, compassion, and believing in the goodness of the human spirit. All of a sudden, something really connects with one of our charges, and all the hard work pays off. The transformation begins of someone who feels like an outsider into a valuable, contributing member of society.