From August 11 - 16, 2019, 20 educators gathered for 36 hours of professional development work through our annual Theatrical Teaching Institute, an intensive introduction to the Theatrical Teaching Framework, which utilizes basic theatrical elements (theme, plot, spectacle, and character) and establishes parallels to educational components such as academic content, lesson plans, structure, classroom setting, and teaching demeanor.
Focusing on our world-premiere production of Toni Stone, participants spent the week doing a deep dive into how they can use elements from theatre to activate their lessons and creatively engage students. Workshops focused on specific elements of the framework and modeled a variety of activities teachers can bring back to their classroom this year including the opportunity to work as an ensemble to devise a short performance.
I loved getting to work in lots of different groups, configurations, and spaces...I got lots ideas for how to make seemingly non-theatrical classes more active and engaging.— -Nathan Siegel (Health & Theatre Teacher, Greene Street Friends School)
The participating teachers focused on the synergy between theatrical teaching practices and collaborative art making, which culminated in a rewarding week that left everyone involved feeling refreshed and reenergized for the new school year.
Some teachers even shared personal experiences with using theatre in the classroom. One used the idea of physical movement and theatrical exercises to illustrate the movement of tectonic plates while another used sound design as a way for low-vision students to communicate locations through an "aural picture book." It was incredibly rewarding to hear all these stories being shared and having the opportunity to learn from one another was invaluable.
I have rediscovered my love for theatre and performing and have learned practical ways in which I can easily infuse these practices in my teaching.— -Christina Carr (Special Education & Math Teacher, I.S. 145 Joseph Pulitzer)
We're already looking forward to next year's Theatrical Teaching Institute, which will be held from Aug 2 – 7. Interested in joining? Registration will open in January 2019.