Monday, February 14, 2011

Sniffle Suffle Snort Gragh!!!!!!!

So that cold I had last weekend decided to hang on all week.  I'm wondering if it was more than a cold, because my body was achy and tired, and I was awake 2 nights in a row.  Luckily I had a GREAT sleep last night, and woke up feeling much better!  It helps to have lovely, sexy dreams about Richard Armitage (the ridiculously handsome English actor, not the former deputy secretary of state.  No offense to the latter.) in order to wake up happy.
A few days ago I had another job interview, and it got me thinking about some of the jobs I have now.  Well, one in particular.  Something has been off since I started last Fall, and I finally put it all together: If I'm going to teach a class for kids, then it needs to be about more than the end product.  Yes, the show should be good, but the class needs to be about MORE than creating a good show.  It needs to be process-oriented, not product-oriented.  I realized that there are folks teaching who don't necessarily have any teacher training.  They're good at what they do, but it doesn't always translate to being a good teacher.
(Kinda like 90% of the folks in L.A. who call themselves "acting teachers!")
See, I was spoiled:  I took my first teacher-training at the age of 23.  One of the instructors said something at a PTA meeting that stuck with me, that it's not about creating actors, it's about creating confidence.  Study after study after study has shown that arts education translates to more class participation, as well as helping to keep kids in school until they graduate.  And I've seen evidence of this myself, over and over again.
My next training was in my late 20's, and we read "Multiple Intelligences" by Howard Gardner.  He theorizes that everyone learns in a different way, so education needs to be catered to the individual rather than to the group.  And I believe it!  Basically, there are 3 main categories of learning: seeing, doing, and hearing.  We all learn through a combination of all 3, but we each also have different strengths and weaknesses.

One thing I know for sure; shaming students, trying to make them feel guilty, does NOT work!  If a student is enthusiastic all around but refusing to participate in one exercise, then there's a reason for it.  Instead of lecturing, what about letting him/her observe and then easing him/her into it?
Kids aren't mini-adults, and we're not working with professional actors.  This isn't a production, it's a CLASS with a show at the end of the semester.   It needs to be fun, sure (otherwise why would the kids even bother showing up?), and there needs to be a benefit beyond being complimented on a good performance.

OK.  Rant over.  I just realize that there are certain environments in which my style of teaching won't fit.  So, lesson learned.

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you are celebrating with the ones you love, whether they be human, furry, feathery, scaly, or all of the above!

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