I have taught creative writing to teens and adults in a variety of school, college and community settings. (See ‘Bio & Contact Info’ page for more information). I strive to cultivate a dynamic and supportive environment in my custom-tailored workshops, encouraging everyone to discover, develop and express their unique voice through their work. Participants have the opportunity to share their writing with the group and learn how to provide helpful feedback to their peers. A knowledge of the key aspects of craft is gleaned through close readings and discussions of works written by notable authors. Last but not least, participants are invited to apply their creativity for both personal insight and to explore the wider world. Throughout the course of each workshop, I employ engaging popular education training models, relevant excerpts from literature, innovative writing exercises and experiential group activities.
I have been vetted as a Teaching Artist by Lifetime Arts, a nonprofit organization that encourages creative aging by promoting the inclusion of professional arts programs in settings that serve older adults; prepares teaching artists to develop the creative capacity of older adult learners; and fosters lifelong learning in and through the arts by increasing opportunities for participation in intergenerational and community-based programming. My workshops are listed on Lifetime Arts Creative Aging Roster, a free service which provides direct access to teaching artists who are qualified to instruct older adults in community settings. (Please use this link for review the Creative Aging Roster: lifetimearts.wordpress.com/…/newrosterartistsfall2013/).
WORKSHOPS FOR WRITERS:
Remember This? A Workshop on Memoir for Adults
This 2-hour workshop is currently being developed for seniors and will take place in June 2017 at the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, MA.
Participants will be introduced to writing prompts that stir vivid visual memories that can be used as fodder for developing personal narratives. Key craft elements for writing memoir, as well as examples from published authors and resources for continuing beyond the workshop, will be included.
Writing in the World: A Creative Writing Workshop for Teens or Adults
Originally developed for high school students at Meridian Academy in 2012, I have also taught this workshop for adults ages 55 and up at both the West End and South End Branch Libraries of the Boston Public Library.
This eight to ten week workshop helps participants find a voice and the courage to proclaim it to the world through short prose (also known as “flash fiction” or “flash memoir”) and poetry. As fodder for our work, we delve into some of the issues and challenges facing communities today—from conflict to cooperation through fun, group activities. Throughout the workshop, students are offered writing exercises and assignments that help them tell a story, play with verse, express their perceptions about their life experiences, or create a vibrant imaginary world.
This workshop is well suited for both community settings and secondary schools. Each session can be tailored to fit into a one or two-hour time frame (the longer time frame allows room for participants to share their work with the group).
Escape Into Flash Fiction: A Creative Writing Workshop for Teens & Adults.
Developed for the 2013 JP Reads Community Literary Celebration this is a 2-hour intergenerational workshop that will get participants inspired and writing.
Turn your ideas into compelling short stories! After an introduction to the elements of flash fiction, participants engage in interactive exercises and writing prompts focused on the theme of “Escape.” Everyone is asked to come ready to play and look at writing in new ways. All that is required is a notebook or journal, a pen, and imagination.
Wordplay: A Creative Writing Workshop for Teens
This workshop encourages teens to experiment with short fiction, poetry and collage. Participants will develop their skills through writing prompts, creating visual images, discussion, and supportive peer review. Participants will also engage in fun, interactive exercises to reflect on life in their community from a fresh perspective.
Students must provide an unlined sketchbook and writing pens.
For more information, please contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Debka is a gifted teacher and group leader with unique abilities to manage the dynamic of a group and simultaneously advance the skills of each participant. We were certainly a culturally diverse group and her leadership enhanced the development of each voice in the workshop.” -Workshop Participant at the South End Branch Library of the BPL
“I am contacting you because my residents have named YOU as (one of) their favorite professors from this year. I have the wonderful opportunity to work with these remarkable students every day in the residence halls. I would like to thank you for working with them in and outside of class and ensuring that their first year here is successful.” –Resident Assistant for STAR (Students Taking an Active Role) for a freshman floor in an Emerson College dormitory.
“Thank you for a wonderful class. You presented me with more information about writing than any writing class I have taken. It has been great fun finding I can turn my writing into poetry, something I have never done before.” -Workshop Participant at the West End Branch Library of the BPL
“This course has been the most important class I’ve taken so far in reference to actually learning how to write better. The discussions, (writing) workshops, and selection of readings were excellent. I’d recommend Debka’s class to any student who is serious about improving their writing skills.” -Undergraduate student enrolled in ‘Creative Writing: Introduction to Fiction’ course at Emerson College.
“Debka brings to her teaching a poised and accessible demeanor. She engages students. If you can’t do that, no amount of experience or credentials can make you a teacher. Debka is a teacher.” -Steven Cramer, Director, Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University
“Debka was absolutely the best teacher. I wouldn’t want anyone else and I would recommend her to anyone and everyone who asked. She is helpful, knowledgeable, respectful, kind, open-minded, and such a pleasure to spend two hours with.” –Anonymous written feedback offered by a young person.
“Terrific open house & fellows celebration at
@writersofboston last night. Thanks to @debkacolson for her infectious (generosity of) spirit.” -from Twitter feed by Writers’ Room of Boston Nonfiction Fellow Tracy Strauss @TracyLStrauss.