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Act I Scene I

Teacher Classroom Experiences: Carly Cohen

KG= Kathleen Gallagher
CC= Carly Cohen

KG: How would you describe the teaching and learning that is from the body?

CC: Well, I think with drama we talk about the body mind spirit. It’s how I break down the teaching, and dance and movement. The body has to learn it physically, the mind has to remember the detail of it, and the spirit has to tell the story, emotionally. And I also think that when you teach in a physical space there is a natural, organic way that people start working together. There is no textbook where people who have trouble reading get caught or writing where people who get stuck with their pen to paper get caught. When you learn something physically in a space, all of a sudden afterwards you can write about it. There’s more of a translation that’s easier, from drama. Or if you have trouble- sometimes when you’re sitting- students are kinesthetic, hands-on learners. They can’t come up with something clever from pen to paper perhaps, but they could find the story first in the space acted out, find the character, find the- they have great instincts usually, physically and then they find that physically and they can come back to the writing or to the reading.

CC: What I love to do in designing lessons is to bring in at least two different learning styles, for instance, into the lesson. For example, I would play music and then I would have them, with a crayon on piece of paper, feel the piece of music and make a line of that color, for example. And then I would try music that was a different kind of tempo with a different color and say… So then they have this kind of map that’s an audio thing because they have to use their listening and a visual because they have to make this map on a page and then maybe you got a spatial part of the exercise where they have to actually physicalize that line on the page. So, I’m trying to use as many different learning styles as possible within the context of the lesson and then there’s one aspect of that lesson they really connect to, hopefully, right? Or you can always do storytelling with music. You can play music. You can say, “what story came to mind when I played that. Ok now let’s tell a story through the physical space using that music, ok so like a dance/ drama kind of context.

KG: So, it’s sort of a multi-arts approach.

CC: Yeah. Yeah, and I think that’s hugely important ‘cause you’re going to connect in some way and their best learning will come out of that.

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