Using my background as a professional actor I encourage my students to read aloud and use their imaginations to bring reading material to life.Whether it's an instruction manual or a short story.
I teach in both a traditional style where we sit down and go slowly through material and in a more 'theatrical-dramatic' style where we get on our feet and get more physical with the words. The choice of one or the other depends on the students needs, desires and comfort level.
In either case we not only read words on the page and get familiar with what letters make them up and how sentences are structured we EXPERIENCE the words. We roll them around in our mouths and get a feel for what the words mean and why those letters were chosen to make those sounds to describe what those words describe! Then we put the important words back into the sentence and experience the whole sentence. We close our eyes and use our imaginations to see what is being described in the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter, like we were watching a movie playing out in our minds.
With groups of students (depending on students comfort levels) we often dramatize the story or reading, taking on characters from the story and putting on a mini-show for each other. In this way we also learn about story structure and how an essay can be structured. We make the words on a page exciting to explore, we begin to unlock our imaginations and see the world the author is describing (whether it's fiction or non-fiction), we take the intimidation factor out of reading and encourage the student's hunger to do more of it.
I have been a professional actor for over fourteen years; on and off Broadway, in regional theaters around the country and in television and film. I have utilized dramatic texts to improve American students' and ESL students' literacy skills and taught improvisation, acting and play development workshops.
In the summer of 2005, I also received my 200 Hour Certification to Teach Hatha Yoga, which I mention because the ability to overcome our personal blocks to learning starts with our awareness of the blocks and then our relaxation around them. In this way we overcome our tension and anxiety to allow new information to more easily flow in. So the beginning of my sessions often start with a little breathing and a little stretching before we 'hit the books.'
Lets make learning a fun adventure. I promise you, we will get into a session, make progress and wish we had more time. I am very excited to hear from you!
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