The Ideal Educational Experience:
Examining Different Styles of Teaching and How They Relate to the Stage
Performing in theater has consumed my life since the young age of six. Recently completing my thirtieth show, I am aware of the kind of direction, or education that is needed to help me achieve performance level. Walker Percy, author of "The Loss of the Creature", believes a person must experience the subject being taught in its natural state; untainted and unspoiled. A preconceived notion, he suggests, only distracts from the initial lesson being taught. Paulo Freire is writer of "The Banking Method". He on the other hand, believes in education where students and teachers collaborate, and learn from one another. These methods are not just valuable for students in the classroom, but on stage as well. By combining Percy's and Freire's education theories, the ideal educational experience can be created for an actor.
In acting it is necessary to attempt new ideas, and test altered approaches to the character being portrayed. Every actor must find and interpret their character at their own speed: every actor must get off the beaten track. The beaten track according to Percy is one of the ways to overcome educational
This depicts the method of teaching in which he has titled, The "Banking" Concept. In another of Percy's examples he writes of a classroom experience. The cast and director discuss what is good and where there is still room for improvement. This concept has nothing to do with the physical part of acting. Furthermore, it is more stimulating, and just plain fun for an actor to have the opportunity to explore their options. "Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor"(Freire 349). "It may be recovered in a time of disaster"(567). This could be done through watching the movie version of a show. Percy describes various ways to truly see the creature, the object or material being learned in its pure state. Though different in their approaches, modern students and actors can examine and implement both types of learning styles, and by doing so they will be able to create the most ideal education experience. I will be walking in the Copley Mall and out of the corner of my eye will notice another shopper who catches my attention. Tools, directions, and the dead animal are all neatly in front of him when suddenly "a bomb falls; when the young man recovers consciousness in the shambles of the biology laboratory, there not ten inches from his nose lies the dogfish"(575). "Leaving the beaten track"(Percy 566) is one way to approach overcoming the educational packaging. Another Percy method is that of seeing the creature by consciously approaching the beaten track. A myriad of my rehearsals have consisted of conversation.