Academic Development

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Drama for Teaching and Working in Academia

Improve your teaching and presentation skills using drama techniques

The relationship between acting and teaching is profound. The overlapping concepts of performance, projection, embodiment, narrative and entertainment influence greatly our understanding of the role of the teacher. Anton Chekhov famously said to Maxim Gorky: “The teacher must be an actor, an artist, passionately in love with his work.” The teacher should be able to adopt and embrace practices of the acting profession that can enhance not only the role of the teacher but also the teaching itself. Through engaging with dramatic practices, the role as teacher can be developed in such way that the ‘teaching identity’ qualitatively affects the engagement and learning of students.

Scholars have analysed and described how acting can enhance one’s performance as a teacher in many ways. An ability to control methods and modes of communicating has been at the heart of effective teaching skills (Vandivere, 2008). However, the acknowledgment of acting skills for teaching has mostly been concentrated on the development of teachers at school level or teachers in a general sense. What is often missing from these models is an approach that looks specifically at the needs of academics and their higher education teaching roles, and how their needs, in turn, relate to their roles as researchers that often have to present their work in public.

This lack inspired the new workshops which will be run at QMUL by ADEPT next semester. They are part of a greater project which aims to promote the use of performance methodologies for those who teach and perform at QMUL (especially academics).
To find out more about the project contact me, Dr Maren Thom. These workshops are of course open to practitioners and other non-academics at QMUL, along with those who teach and research.

Please note: These workshops use methods from improv theatre, drama and voice coaching. That means you will be asked to reveal a little of yourself to the rest of the group and join in with the exercises. These sessions are designed for people who have never done anything of this kind before and will encourage people to try themselves in new ways.

I would recommend doing these workshops in order, but this is not requirement

1.   Train your voice for teaching

2.   Using dramaturgy to design seminars and lectures

3.   Stagecraft for performance in academia (practical)

4.   Creating an academic persona




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