Stop Lecturing: Five Alternative Teaching Methods

Natalie Taylor Hart

Teaching artists come from a range of backgrounds: some from more academic settings and some from the professional sphere. We have expertise in our disciplines, but sometimes we lack a history of training in the methods and theory of teaching and learning. By blending educational methodologies with disciplinary methodologies, we can often become more effective teachers and help our students become more successful. If lecturing is your teaching comfort zone, it may take a little thought to rework your class, but the potential benefits are compelling.

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Jay Duckworth teaching at the USITT Props Lab
Jay Duckworth teaching at the USITT Props Lab

Jump in with Both Feet: My Path to Teaching

Jay Duckworth

I have always thought that theater and education go hand in hand. The first time I ever saw a play was in grade school. It was about a king who wanted to see how his kingdom was doing so he pretended to be a peasant and visited his village. The two people I remember him encountering was a man who put on his pants both legs at the same time by jumping as high as he could and landing inside them. This won him golden awards as the highest jumper in the kingdom. The second person was a doctor who, no matter what was wrong with you, wrapped your head with bandages. At the end of the end of the play, the king told us how he learned that people did things differently (pants guy) and even if it’s strange to you, this gives them a unique talent. He also learned that that each problem needs its own solution (doctor), and the same answer doesn’t necessarily work for all people’s problems.

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