My education has not followed a traditional model; and I take the lessons learned from training as an actor/dancer,using drama as an interactive tool for teaching behavioral change, and additional learning most recently at Goddard College to frame my pedagogical approach.
As a learner I have always benefited from demonstration, experience, and
practice - and carry this forward in my teaching. I try and provide
information and opportunity for learning in many forms: reading,
didactic, visual example, and experiential.
As a student at
Goddard I was heavily influenced by John Dewey as a framework for
research and learning. Goddard was founded by Dewey and established as a
school to bring his theories to life. Goddard is constantly asking the
learner: "What are you passionate about? and What is the burning
question in your soul?" I found this an amazing approach for research
and applied knowledge. I was encouraged to ask a question - seek an
answer - use all tools available for investigation - and demonstrate my
learning. Through this method I had to use all disciplines to answer my
own question. I needed language skills to read and write. I needed
research and critical thinking skills to gather information. I needed to
use quantitative as well as qualitative research to argue a position.
This approach taught me the value of working cross discipline. It made
me seek the skills needed to answer my question rather than feeling
forced to learn basic skills without a solid reason for learning them.
spent 20 years working with PACT Training using drama as a tool for
experiential learning. Through the PACT approach I grew to understand
the value of practicing skills in a safe environment before testing
them in the real world. This approach introduced me to frameworks like
Bloom and Freire. Greatly influenced by Boal and Theatre of the
Oppressed I've used all types of learning and demonstration to work for
Social Justice. I've learned I cannot change a person's attitude, but I
can help change their behavior. Hopefully changing a behavior will
influence their attitude to a way of thinking beneficial to society.
diversity trainer in the 1990's I watched organization after
organization struggle with how to build respect in the workplace for all
types of people. I observed the "traditional white male" being forced to
accept as equals people of different gender, race, belief, and
eventually sexual orientation. I watched new behaviors forced on them in
the workplace. It didn't change the way they thought - at first - but
it did change their behavior. Eventually I started to observe behaviors
outside the workforce change until ideas we taught changed attitudes,
and the way people thought. This drove me to my own burning question:
"When does an idea reach critical mass?"
As a teacher it drove me to
understand my duty is leading others to information with as many styles
of learning as possible; and provide a safe environment to discuss,
practice and experience what is being learned before setting the learner
free to fly.