EDUCATOR My Teaching Philosophy
Born with a desire to know why, my mother early on nicknamed me question asker because I always questioned authority and rules. In fact, I have quite honestly always felt different, unorthodox and unconventional.
My first memory of school is playing the lead in the first grade production of “Jimmie and the Sleep Fairies” The line I remembered was ”Early to bed, early to rise makes a young boy healthy, wealthy and wise” That was a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin. I learned the line because of theater. In the fifth grade I was dressed in colored sheets recreating the scene of Caesar’s assassination. The line I remembered was “The Ides of March have come, Ah Caesar but not gone.” My greatest memories of early education were being on stage. My love of theater created an interest in the subjects I performed and the messages as well as the formats of delivery. I developed a love of writing, reading, poetry, history, geography, art and sciences.
I drew pictures of the things I had seen through theater. I wrote stories and poems inspired from theater. I created costumes from the images I loved on stage. I studied maps searching for the exotic places I had heard of through theater. I picked up history books, fascinated by the people places and things that made up the plots in plays I performed. I studied science to understand the elements of lighting, sound, props and special effects that make a play magical.
I can trace all these interests to the theater. My teachers recognized my passion and it ignited my interests in other subjects as a result. I joined an educational theater company in the mid-80’s that addressed teen pregnancy prevention by using theater to start open discussions on peer pressure choices. This led me to forming my own companies to address African culture and Substance abuse through use of educational theater.
Creatively I have always thought outside the box. My most successful ventures in life have involved educating and entertaining people. My theater companies were focused on educational theater, because I strong believe in using entertainment to educate. When I produced my one-man show and moved to Los Angeles in 2000, my show was written to addressed gender identity roles and intra-discrimination. I loved being on the stage, but I also loved imparting knowledge and challenging people to think about social, political and cultural issues. The greatest joy came when people asked me questions after each performance.
Theater in general allows people to vicariously experience the beliefs attitudes, values and general life styles of others with whom they may have very little if any, familiarity. Theater allows you to see into someone else’s life from a distance. You are allowed to “walk in someone’s shoes” for an hour and return the shoes when the show is over. The process of “walking in someone else’s shoes has been emphasized by psychologist, Albert Bandura. His social learning theory proposes that much of what we experience in the world is not direct, but indirect. Dr. Bandura’s research supports the idea that theater can be an important tool for enhancing understanding regarding a variety of social issues. His belief is that educational theater is a teaching tool for changing behavior.