Act like a teacher: Teaching as a Performing Art
This study involved the creation and implementation of an acting course for educators, entitled Teaching as a Performing Art. The primary objective of this course was to aid the course participants in their role development by providing them the space and technical support (through arts training) to experiment with different ways of being in the classroom. The nine participants in this experiential learning course performed the work of the actor/performing artist and developed the articulate voices and bodies critical for communication and presentation in the classroom arena. Simultaneously the participants practiced using the new skills to consciously shape and rehearse their emerging teacher selves, the roles they would play when they enter the practicum classroom as a teacher. Additional data was collected on two of the participants as they completed their student teaching practica the following semester. Results indicate that new teachers have several performance obstacles to overcome in the creation of efficient and effective teacher roles including: indecision, terror, assumption, embarrassment, denial, extremism and ennui. The findings catalog a number of arts-based activities that enable new teachers to move toward improved ways of being in the classroom by embodying strategy, courage, awareness, presence, honesty, poise and excellence.