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Museum Musings

2.9.16: Drumming up Cross-Cultural Understanding

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A student said to me upon entering the Museum, "Trav, look at those stairs! How'd they do that?" Another student said, "This place looks incredible! Check out the writing on the wall, "Until we are all free, we are none of us, free" - Emma Lazarus. That reminds me of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!"

My name is Kevin Travers and I am a special education teacher in Bristol Township. I started a bucket drumming group in 2000 called Drummers With Attitude (DWA). One of my goals was to start a program that helps connect students to one another as well as to the outside world.

On MLK day, we were invited to perform two shows at NMAJH. With each show, we performed one piece for the audience and two pieces where we invited the audience to participate. On our visit, we were introduced to visitors from not only different states but different countries as well. The
 students in DWA had the chance to meet and interact with different cultures.

Our experience at the Museum was one that we will not forget. Exposing students to cultures and histories outside of their own is essential to breaking down the lack of understanding that sometimes exists between them. "I never knew that happened," was a comment made from one of my students exiting WWII portion of the Museum’s core exhibition.

Finding ways to reach students of the 21st century is an immense challenge for most educators. Our experience at the Museum was not only a fun performance, but an invaluable educational field trip that we will always remember.

Written by:
Kevin Travers
Photo by Kevin Travers


We are responsible to help children to learn and grow, but it takes that extra special teacher to find unique ways to reach individual students who have different learning styles. Not an easy undertaking! There are so many components that make up an individual and with special education students identifying one’s personality can be very challenging. A child with special needs can display unpredictable characteristics at any given time. One must be quick to recognize subtle changes in mood and disposition and be ready to divert to a plethora of unconditional ways of teaching at any given time. This of course equates to unconditional ways of learning. Mr. Travers is a unique and very special teacher that not only helps children connect with others and the outside world, but also offers each individual the opportunity to connect with himself. Music plays an important role in the lives of these students. It helps neutralize negative feelings, increases stress tolerance and without a doubt plays an important role in inner peace. DWA is definitely a way to improve the effectiveness of educational intervention, to aid in academic achievement, and reach these students in the 21st-century.
Job well done Mr. Travers!
Posted by: Lorraine Nutt at 2/10/2016 5:17 PM

Posted by: Lorraine at 2/10/2016 5:52 PM

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