Poet, Playwright and Master Teaching Artist, Dr. Christopher Parker has taught for organizations such as the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. He holds a MFA in Poetry from Columbia University (‘81) and an EdD. in Pedagogy and Philosophy from Montclair State University (‘15). In May 2018, the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State recognized Dr. Parker with an Excellence in Teaching award for creative and engaging ways to educate students. Also in May 2018, the Montclair State University Adjunct Teachers Union credited Dr. Parker with an Outstanding Service Award for improving educational quality and concern for students. Dr. Parker is currently developing a new continuing education online initiative called Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship and in 2018 has also implemented a program for student artists, called ARTrepreneur$hip. Dr. Parker won an Allen Ginsberg Award for poetry in 2014. Dr. Parker teaches Creative Thinking which is affiliated with PeakPerformances at Kasser Theater at Montclair State University. This allows students to work directly with PeakPerformances’ commissioned, international performing artists, such as actors, directors, composers, and librettists on learning about creative thinking from the masters. Dr. Parker is a Faculty Mentor for new Creative Thinking teachers. A Teaching Artist for students from pre-K to post-doctoral and from ages 4 to 104, Dr. Parker is the father of four daughters and grandfather to two. He is married and lives in Bloomfield, NJ.
OVERVIEW OF COURSES
Think Creatively, Live Poetically, Prosper
March 8, 2018
MYTHOLOGY AND GENERAL HUMANITIES
As a university educator and teaching artist, I help students achieve knowledge and understanding of Mythology and General Humanities by going beyond the standard classroom setting of teacher and pupils. I create a rich dynamic experience that reaches students through their senses and in new environments, which are then explored directly, metaphorically and dialogically, in relationship to the course disciplines. My teaching methodologies reach beyond the course into readying students for future achievement in learning.
January 5 - June 13, 2020
This course will help you understand concepts and process related to thinking creatively.
Each semester we start to define this current semester of Creative Thinking with a theme such as movement, sound or objects. This Spring 2019 Semester the theme is "Leaving Behind" We are leaving the winter behind. The moment you just read that sentence is not left behind. Things we create, we leave behind. Of course, because there is behind there must be a forward, And that is yet to come. But we need one, to experience the other. Most creative work come from what was already left behind. My wife lets me have her restaurant left over after they are five days left behind. I have to recook them and often put these leftovers into something else like an omlette or salad etc. Fall From Grace is one show we are experiencing. Writers and book creators leave behind their messages through time. Archaeology is what is left behind. And because of that we have new variation.
This class is designed like a lab. We will have lab activities, with real experiences and perceptions.
The 'text book' is the generation of ideas into reality. We will have readings. But reality does not always react the way you want it to so you have to adjust. Whether that is defining and creating a job for yourself, discovering alternative ways through research for a treatment for an illness that someone close to you has, building a business, a product or an entirely new art form what we have around us often is what we have to work with.
This course is © Copyright 2019 by Christopher W. Parker, MFA, EdD
This course contains fifteen modules, one for each week of the course. The first letter of each module title, makes up the acronym "THINK CREATIVELY"; in that order. Here are the modules:
Defining creativity--(The materials in Course Goals are from Montclair State.) Students will learn new ways of looking at the creative process in order to understand and motivate themselves.
Learning to speculate--Students will engage in creative speculation and feel comfortable with unusual problems. Students will begin to set standards for judging the kinds of solutions you and your colleagues will generate. Students will become able to accept failure as part of the creative process.
Learning about your brain--You should emerge from the course understanding that your intelligence and talents are not fixed. You will develop a new brain research-based vocabulary for thinking about your own efforts, ideas and approaches. You will also explore how people handle emotional difficulties in life that may interfere with their psycho-social well-being and their creative work.
Learning to learn from the creative acts of others--You should emerge from the course with an understanding of how some highly creative people work, and how you can benefit from their creative processes, and an ability to use those examples to understand and motivate themselves.
January 5 - June 13, 2020
CREATIVE AND CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The online class helps artists to break through impediments to creative expression, earn a living, achieve their visions and generate sustainable practices while making positive changes in their communities.
This completely online, synchronous course is designed to be taught in twelve sessions and includes a final creative project. Each session contains presentations, discussion, exercises, reading and media. Some scheduled email access to the professor is also incorporated into this class.
More specifically, sessions feature the professor addressing the class through short lectures, video and PowerPoint. Each session begins with a short creative thinking exercise. Also included in the modules are occasional streamed documentaries to view and comment on, links to creative cultural organizations to explore and occasional real-life narratives from successful creative entrepreneurs. Podcast and YouTube references are also cited. Reading assignments and group online discussions are encouraged.
Arranged as words beginning with letters of the course's syllabus acronym "ARTrepreneur," the goals of this course are to help students:
ACHIEVE. Thrive and step over the hurdles that hamper cultural/creative work.
REGIONALIZE. Serve locally, reach globally, act assertively and successfully.
TRIUMPH. Discover behavioral creative thinking and practitioner techniques from masters and adapt your own.
RELEVANT, be. Remain ahead of cultural needs, stay relevant for your endeavors by observing cultural change.
ETHICAL, be. Establish an understanding of the cultural and creative commerce and ethical decisions made in the steps you take.
PHILOSOPHICAL, be. Shift paradigms, employ aesthetics and inquire about what serves the culture.
REPRESENT. Research/explore and model creative and cultural entrepreneurship organizations as supporting, resourcefulness and relevant concepts.
ENCAPSULATE the problem you are trying to solve into a Professional Brief and transform that into a creative brief.
NETWORK marketing and promotion online and build a professional network to collaborate.
ENVISION and conceptualize an entrepreneurial cultural creative endeavor.
UTILIZE existing art venues and organizations to build relationships from your creative and cultural network.
REALIZE success by measuring creative and cultural results based on criteria.
© Copyright 2020 by Christopher W. Parker, MFA, EdD
I can help older adults in a community setting succeed at the art of living well. I know how to engage older adults to help them perceive the way poets may experience life. In this way we think metaphorically, own and archive what it is we perceive and thus reach for new meanings in how we live. I am excellent at involving older adults in creative, interactive exercises and activities that stimulate the senses and the mind, nurture social engagement while also expressing their own poetics. I want to share my talents.
© Copyright 2019 by Christopher W. Parker, MFA, EdD
Often we remain in one domain of thought. So a life experience may feel like it is either black or white. But of course it never really is like that at all. As in the picture above there is a multitude of gray in life. And even the names for grays cross a bridge between one idea and another: abbey stone, arctic ice, battleship, clair de lune, lavender mist, oatmeal. Think in a new way out of the paradigms of thought which make the black and white dominant and reach a state of perception and thought leading to more beauty, ideas and possibilities. The beauty is right around you. What's more it goes beyond gray to a rich colorful spectrum of life experiences!
© Copyright 2019 by Christopher W. Parker, MFA, EdD
April 30, 2013
PERFORMING ARTS AS PEDAGOGY
Part of my Classical Mythology course requires students to attend a live dramatic or artistic performance. Not only are my students benefitting from the rich mythology themes often present in live performance, but most theater offerings and arts performances are rich with conceptual undertones of psychology, language, literature, physics, biology, technology, history, religion, philosophy and mathematics.
July 20, 2017
CREATIVE THINKING BLOG, PEAKPERFORMANCES
“Ask the Right Questions: Learning through Inquiry,” July 20, 2017 In Creative Thinking PeakPerformances, Montclair State University
“Thinking from Inside the Box,” June 1, 2017
“How We Remember ‘The Forgotten’,” December 21, 2016
“Sacred Space: Yogi Berra Museum,” Dec 21, 2016
“HOWL Live,” Nov 23,2016
“Cutting a Window in ‘the Box’,” Nov 22, 2016
April 1, 2013
in Philosophy For, With, and Of Children, 2013, Monica B. Glina, editor. Pgs. 41 -68. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Theory suggests that the mind is a muted instrument without symbolic notation. One might think that a symbolic language tool, such as poetry, would, therefore, be used to help cultivate the thoughts of children in school. However, several suggest that this may not be the case at all. This this chapter, I explore the possibility of using the visual arts and then poetry as and entrance to philosophical inquiry within a community on inquiry (CI) with schoolchildren. To reach the poetical, I explore the use of regional art venues as cultural, archival resources for fostering percipience. This is done to enter into the aesthetic and immutable via poetic thinking to cultivate this thinking into language and ad the other somatic effects of poetry. This poetry may then be used to foster inquiry within a CI. I do not cover the curriculum of using a CI approach but focus rather on the philosophy and theory of percipience, poetic thinking, and the poetry-writing path.
April 12, 2015
This study examines a teaching method to help fifth-grade students understand the meaning of the symbols of the sacraments of the Catholic Church. The method implements physical objects in the classroom followed by the development of metaphors to ascertain the meaning of those objects. First, possible metaphors were explored dialogically in class. Then, through individual metaphorical thinking, students create their personal metaphoric statements for each sacrament. The study shows that students given the treatment, on average, scored higher on assessment questions related to the meaning of the sacraments than the control group. Fifth-grade students in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) program historically score below a desired level on questions about the personal meaning of the sacraments in ways deemed appropriate by the church according to The Assessment of Catechesis/Religious Education (ACRE). The sacraments are metaphoric. Therefore, it makes sense that these fifth-graders may improve their scores with a method that employs metaphorical thinking. The literature on pedagogies using metaphor tends to focus on subjects such as science and math. The literature, however, does not reach out to areas of study such as CCD religious education. Furthermore, the methods suggested in the literature do not incorporate group dialogue, semiotic objects, and the writing of spontaneous metaphors in one treatment. Since the sacraments are metaphoric, and the symbols are actual objects, it follows that in students’ search for meaning they should experience semiotic objects from which to generate metaphor. In the development of metaphor, the literature supports making a connection between one domain of thought to another. This cross-domain mapping involves cognitively connecting one concept, like the emotional effect of a sacrament, to the object that, in this case, is the symbol of a sacrament. The foundation of my method follows Abrahamson’s implementation of semiotic objects and spontaneous metaphors with students. Abrahamson demonstrates that his treatment helps students learn the meaning of complex ideas. This dissertation includes a description of the treatment, and the quantitative instruments used.