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Owning the Stage: Using Dramatic Theory to Improve Teaching, LOEX 2014

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William Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage, / […] And one man in his time plays many parts.” That statement rings true in the classroom, and as librarians teaching one-shot sessions, we have many parts to play. This presentation focuses on utilizing dramatic theory to improve three interconnected principles of acting and teaching: connection, communication and confidence. From the perspectives of both educator and actor, intent is at the core of communication. Drawing from the literature and personal experience, this presentation will demonstrate through examples how the tenets of acting can help us better connect with students.

Presented at LOEX 2014, Grand Rapids, MI

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Owning the Stage: Using Dramatic Theory to Improve Teaching, LOEX 2014

  1. 1. OWNING THE STAGE USING DRAMATIC THEORY TO IMPROVE TEACHING LOEX 2014
  2. 2. PERFORMANCE WARM-UP 1.  A moment of physical release—shaking your arms, legs..
  3. 3. PERFORMANCE WARM-UP 1.  A moment of physical release—shaking your arms, legs.. 2.  A study of your Other—what do you find fascinating/scary about your Other?
  4. 4. PERFORMANCE WARM-UP 1.  A moment of physical release—shaking your arms, legs.. 2.  A study of your Other—what do you find fascinating/scary about your Other? 3.  What excites you about the situation of the scene? What’s the best that can happen to your character?
  5. 5. PERFORMANCE WARM-UP 1.  A moment of physical release—shaking your arms, legs.. 2.  A study of your Other—what do you find fascinating/scary about your Other? 3.  What excites you about the situation of the scene? What’s the best that can happen to your character? 4.  What terrifies you about the situation of the scene? What’s the worst that can happen to your character?
  6. 6. PERFORMANCE WARM-UP 1.  A moment of physical release—shaking your arms, legs.. 2.  A study of your Other—what do you find fascinating/scary about your Other? 3.  What excites you about the situation of the scene? What’s the best that can happen to your character? 4.  What terrifies you about the situation of the scene? What’s the worst that can happen to your character? 5.  Voice your intention: “I’m gonna give a great presentation by being engaging, and making the audience think—and I’m gonna do it now!”
  7. 7. OWNING THE STAGE LINDSEY RAE TECHNOLOGY & PUBLIC SERVICES LIBRARIAN CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE LIBRARY, BURLINGTON, VT @LIBRARIANLINZ
  8. 8. OWNING THE STAGE USING DRAMATIC THEORY TO IMPROVE TEACHING
  9. 9. HOW AN ACTING CLASS COMPLETELY BLEW MY MIND & CHANGED HOW I TEACH OR…
  10. 10. LET’S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING
  11. 11. WHY ACTING?
  12. 12. SURE,WHY NOT?! SOUNDS FUN! I LOVE PUBLIC SPEAKING </sarcasm>
  13. 13. IT WAS SCARY, BUT.. I did it! And I learned more than I ever could’ve anticipated.* *I highly recommend taking an acting class.
  14. 14. HOW ACTING MADE ME A BETTER TEACHING LIBRARIAN Three theatrical concepts that I applied to my teaching in a meaningful way. Simple exercises to be more mindful, intentional teachers.
  15. 15. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING
  16. 16. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING
  17. 17. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING Teaching is just performing in front of students.
  18. 18. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING Teaching is just performing in front of students.
  19. 19. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING
  20. 20. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING
  21. 21. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING
  22. 22. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING KEYWORD:
  23. 23. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING C a p t u r e t h e a t t e n t i o n o f a n a u d i e n c e C O N N E C T I O N D e l i v e r c o n t e n t i n a m e m o r a b l e w a y C O M M U N I C A T I O N Establish a presence in a room full of people C O N F I D E N C E
  24. 24. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING Teaching is just performing in front of students.
  25. 25. TEACHING-LIBRARIANS ARE UNIQUE As teaching-librarians giving one-shot lessons, we have many roles to play in the classroom.
  26. 26. CONNECTION COMMUNICATION CONFIDENCE YOU WILL HEAR THESE CONCEPTS REPEATED THROUGHOUT THIS PRESENTATION
  27. 27. GOTE DEFINING YOUR TEACHING-CHARACTER WITH
  28. 28. WHAT IS GOTE? Robert Cohen Acting One, 1992
  29. 29. ‘WHAT’S MY MOTIVATION?!’
  30. 30. GOTE G IS FOR ‘GOAL’ The objective or intention that drives a character’s actions and propels them forward.
  31. 31. GOTE G IS FOR ‘GOAL’  specific  ongoing  vigorously pursued
  32. 32. GOTE G IS FOR ‘GOAL’ ‘I WANT ______________________.’
  33. 33. GOTE G IS FOR ‘GOAL’ ‘I WANT ______________________.’ candy it that way you back you to know to hold your hand it all (& I want it now)
  34. 34. GOTE G IS FOR ‘GOAL’ Wicked Witch of the West The Wizard of Oz
  35. 35. GOTE G IS FOR ‘GOAL’
  36. 36. GOTE G IS FOR ‘GOAL’ “I want to get my students to engage in meaningful discussion.” “I want students to be able to find an article in a library database.”
  37. 37. GOTE O IS FOR ‘OBSTACLE’ What stands in the way of what the character wants?
  38. 38. GOTE O IS FOR ‘OBSTACLE’ What stands in the way of what the character wants?
  39. 39. GOTE O IS FOR ‘OBSTACLE’ Hurdles that the character must leap over in order to find success.
  40. 40. GOTE O IS FOR ‘OBSTACLE’
  41. 41. GOTE O IS FOR ‘OBSTACLE’
  42. 42. GOTE O IS FOR ‘OBSTACLE’
  43. 43. GOTE O IS FOR ‘OBSTACLE’
  44. 44. GOTE T IS FOR ‘TACTICS’ Strategies the character employs to navigate around Obstacles and ultimately achieve their Goals.
  45. 45. GOTE T IS FOR ‘TACTICS’ CHARM THREAT
  46. 46. GOTE T IS FOR ‘TACTICS’ CHARM THREAT flatter encourage praise garner sympathy scare intimidate bullypressure
  47. 47. GOTE T IS FOR ‘TACTICS’ THREAT ‘I’LL GET YOU, MY PRETTY, AND YOUR LITTLE DOG TOO!’
  48. 48. GOTE T IS FOR ‘TACTICS’ CHARM
  49. 49. GOTE T IS FOR ‘TACTICS’ We are negotiating appropriate versions of these tactics to conduct and manage our classes all of the time.
  50. 50. GOTE E IS FOR ‘EXPECTATION’ The enduring confidence that the character will achieve their goal.
  51. 51. GOTE E IS FOR ‘EXPECTATION’ The truest theatrical energy comes […] from an actor’s eager portrayal of the character’s expectations and his or her consequent efforts to bring these expectations to fulfillment. Positive expectation, on the actor’s part, lends his or her portrayal a necessary excitement and energy. Not all characters succeed, of course, but they must be shown to expect success and even to be enthusiastic about their prospects. - Robert Cohen, Acting One, 1992, p. 49
  52. 52. THIS IS KEY, YOU GUYS! GOTE E IS FOR ‘EXPECTATION’
  53. 53. GOTE E IS FOR ‘EXPECTATION’ Oh curses, curses! Somebody always helps that girl! But shoes or no shoes, I’m still great enough to conquer her. And woe to those who try to stop me. Just try and stay out of my way, just try!
  54. 54. GOTE E IS FOR ‘EXPECTATION’
  55. 55. TRY THIS AT HOME: THINK GOTE Think about your GOTE as a teaching librarian.   Goals: What do you want?   Obstacles: What’s in your way?   Tactics: What are some strategies you can use to overcome your Obstacles?   Expectation: Set your sights on having a good class, whatever that may look like to you.
  56. 56. TRY THIS AT HOME: PREPARE TO PERFORM Preparation for Performance (Robert Cohen, Acting One) 1.  A moment of physical release—shaking your arms, legs.. 2.  A study of your Other—what do you find fascinating/scary about your Other? 3.  What excites you about the situation of the scene? What’s the best that can happen to your character? 4.  What terrifies you about the situation of the scene? What’s the worst that can happen to your character? 5.  Final GOTE check: “I’m gonna (EXPECTATION!) win this (GOAL!) by doing this and this (TACTICS) to him/her (OTHER). And I’m gonna win it now!”
  57. 57. STANISLAVSKI DEEPENING YOUR TEACHING-CHARACTER WITH
  58. 58. STANISLAVSKI Constantin Stanislavski is arguably one of the most influential figures in theater. MORE INTENSITY!
  59. 59. STANISLAVSKI
  60. 60. STANISLAVSKI [The actor] will not give himself up wholly to his part unless it carries him away. When it does so, he becomes completely identified with it and is transformed. But the moment he becomes distracted and falls under the sway of his own personal life, he will be transported across the footlights into the audience or beyond the walls of the theatre, wherever the object is that maintains a bond of relationship with him. - Stanislavski, The Actor Prepares, 1989, p. 196 (Original work published 1936)
  61. 61. STANISLAVSKI
  62. 62. TRY THIS AT HOME: ACT ‘AS IF’ Connect to the intention—the Goal— you set for your class and what you might do —your Tactics—in order to reach it. Practice inside and outside of the classroom.
  63. 63. IMPROV IMPROVING YOUR PERFORMANCE IN THE CLASSROOM WITH
  64. 64. IMPROV Although we come to class ready with a “script,” the classroom is an unpredictable performance venue.
  65. 65. IMPROV In improv, it’s important to think on your feet and respond quickly while also staying true to the scene.
  66. 66. IMPROV ‘YES, AND…!’   accept new information   consider how to add to the scene
  67. 67. IMPROV ‘YES, AND…!’   accept new information   consider how to add to the scene Keep the conversation going in the classroom.
  68. 68. IMPROV EVERYTHING WORKS!
  69. 69. IMPROV EVERYTHING WORKS! Helpful classroom mantra when things don’t go as planned.   give up control   go with your instincts   be organic JUST DO IT!
  70. 70. IMPROV OTHERS AS BRILLIANT!   treat your partner as if they were a poet or genius   make yourself look good by making them look good
  71. 71. IMPROV OTHERS AS BRILLIANT!   accept what students bring to class as brilliant and inspired   give more to get more   decide that your students are awesome!
  72. 72. TRY THIS AT HOME: ACTION RESEARCH & REFLECTIVE PRACTICE Action research as a framework for debriefing after class.   Start by noticing.   Unpack your session: what worked and what didn’t?   Any “interesting turn of events”? How did you handle them?   What made students respond? Is there a pattern?
  73. 73. TRY THIS AT HOME: ACTION RESEARCH & REFLECTIVE PRACTICE Action research as a framework for debriefing after class.   Use these observations to make informed changes to your presence in the classroom.
  74. 74. FINAL THOUGHTS TAKE-AWAYS &
  75. 75. FINAL THOUGHTS These theoretical, yet practical, examples from theater demonstrate how learning to be better performers can help us be better teachers, no matter which part we’ve been asked to play. To be, or not to be…
  76. 76. You don’t have to be theatrical in the classroom to be a better classroom performer, but being mindful about what you’re doing and the way it affects your audience will make you more intentional with the way that you teach. WHERE TEACHING MEETS ACTING KEYWORD:
  77. 77. BREAK A LEG! THANK YOU
  78. 78. REFERENCES Barton, R. (2012) Acting onstage and off, 6th ed., Boston: Wadsworth. Burgess, D. (2012) Teach like a pirate. San Diego: Dave Burgess Consulting. Cohen, R. (1992) Acting one, 2nd ed., Mountain View: Mayfield. Stanislavski, C. (1989) An actor prepares. New York: Routledge. (Original work published 1936) Schwartz, K. (2013, July 1) Why teachers should be trained like actors. Mindshift. Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/07/ teaching-as-acting-a-performance-profession/ Tewell, E. C. (2014). What stand-up comedians teach us about library instruction. C&RL News, 75(1), 28-30.
  79. 79. IMAGES 11. Screen Shot at PM by EA. CC0. Edited. 12. Scared emoticon square face by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 13-17. Student with idea on mind rising her arm to share it by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. Edited. 19-22, 76. Teacher Clip Art by OCAL. CC0. Mashed-up. 19-22, 58, 70-71, 75. Beret black shape by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. Mashed-up. 20-21. Stage Curtains Png Clipart by clipartcotttage. CC BY 3.0. Mashed-up. 21-22, 76. People watching new movie illustration by Talisalex. RF. Edited. 22, 76. Lectern with microphone by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. Edited. 22, 76. Female black hair shape by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. Edited, Mashed-up. 22, 76. Cat eye glasses by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. Mashed-up. 25. The Many Faces of Julia Roberts by Nostra. 28-54. Billy Goat by OCAL. CC0. Edited. 30. Archery by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 31. Time planning by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 36. Students talking by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 36. Student on computer by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 36. Note by SimpleIcon. CC BY 3.0.
  80. 80. IMAGES 37-38. Street signal barrier with stripes by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 38. Constructor with hard hat and stop hexagonal sign by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 39, 54. Man jumping an obstacle by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 43. Student sleeping in class by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 43. Comfortable office worker with his legs lying on the desk by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 43. WIFI by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 43. PC computer with monitor by SimpleIcon. CC BY 3.0. 43. Projector by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 44. Strategy hand drawn sketch by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 49. Business man thinking of several options by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 50. Winner jump by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 54. Person running by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 54. Winner cutting the finish line ribbon by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 54. Red confetti explosion by johnny olivares. CC0. 55. Student thinking by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 56. Stretching male silhouette by Freepik. CC BY 3.0.
  81. 81. IMAGES 58. Megaphone by Icons8. CC BY 3.0. Mashed-up. 58. Cinema director chair by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. Edited. Mashed-up. 58. Stanislavski as Vershinin by Unknown photographer. Contributed by Virtual Threat. CC BY – SA 3.0. Edited. Mashed-up. 59, 61. Peace talks by OCHA. CC BY 3.0. 61. Cooking stove with heat by OCHA. CC BY 3.0. 61. Send symbol by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 61. Birthday cake with one candle by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 67. Conversation bubbles by Amit Jakhu. CC BY 3.0. 70. Male by SimpleIcon. CC BY 3.0. Mashed-up. 70, 75. Poetry symbol of a feather in ink container by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 72-73. Write by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. 75. Man standing holding a bill in his raised right hand by Freepik. CC BY 3.0. Edited. Mashed-up. 75. Human skull side view by Freepik. CC BY 3.0 Edited. Mashed-up.

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