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Using theatre to engage students. An experience

Ramona is a teacher in Italy, but she also attended theatre classes and worked in a theatre company. In this article she tells us her experience and how theatre can help her in teaching.

One of my favourite moments during my theatre class was when I looked in the eyes of my partner trying to understand his feelings and the lay of his thoughts and then, like a unique soul, finally perform together, because it is only as a group, a single being, that you can really enter the scene and live it fully.

Well, every single day, when I enter my classrooms, it is exactly what I try to achieve: to establish that connection to live the teaching experience like a real moment of growth, for everybody, firstly my students and I. The connection I’m talking about is to enter my students’ mind and feel the way they feel understanding what hides behind their face, because their actions have got a reason, their tone of voice, their gaze, and all their facial expressions mean a lot, for the ones who are with the listening of the others, and can help you to direct your lessons in the right way, just for them.

I’m Ramona, and I’m a teacher. I’ve been teaching for a long time, and every day I’m trying to improve my attitude towards my students. They’re my focus, they’re my goal. Every lesson is like a entering the stage before an audience. My students are my audience, and like during a show, if every one of them is looking at me while talking, interested, or better joining the lesson actively and fully, well, I’m on the right track. There are so many similarities between a lesson and a show, and I often use to tap into my memory to remember what treading the boards was like to win over my students (the audience) by being recognized as an interesting, captivating and motivating teacher. In addition to traditional means of transmitting knowledge there are other ways of learning, and the theatre helps me transmitting my know-how in other, different ways. Techniques of the theatre are worth using during school: for example I always use to draw on many theatre exercises for team-building, because the atmosphere and the relationships between students, in the class, are very important and really help in the learning process. Well, my past experience with theatre trained me as a person and as a professional: the dealings with my students, the continuous adaptation and shaping to their needs according to the different and personal situations are only a little part of what theatre taught me.

In a few words I owe a lot to the theatre, for who I am today as a person and as a teacher.

 

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