Teaching Philosophy Statement

 

Hillary Scales-Lewis

 

The foundation of my teaching philosophy is that theatre is an art form that allows itself to be a pipeline for all forms of performance. As a theatre artist who is currently involved in the performance aspect of theatre, I bring a passion and a presence to the classroom that allows students to discover and express their own passions in various art forms. I am overjoyed with any opportunity to express my enthusiasm about theatre and hope to spark an appreciation of the arts among college students. 

 

Classroom Environment

 

It is important to create a safe and creative environment in this type of class in order to promote discussion, creative expression and learning. I prefer an interactive setting where students are encouraged to express their opinions and effectively communicate their emotional responses to various types of performance art. Collaboration is a crucial component of my teaching style. I find that the more interactive students are with each other the stronger their bonds become and the more expressive they allow themselves and others to be. I strongly believe in personalizing  information for students in order to promote a lasting experience for students. As a teacher, I tend to take on the roles of a coach and/or mentor to students. 

 

Goals For Students

 

Students should be able to express their own informed opinions about theatrical subjects.

 

Ideally, students who take my class will have extensive knowledge on current trends in theatre today, an understanding of cultural influences in theatre and a passion for diversity in theatre. 

 

Students will also be able to breakdown the different jobs and facets of a theatrical production. 

 

General education courses in Theatre are very important courses in which teachers have the responsibility to create a lasting impact on students in hopes that they continue to support live theatre in order to ensure its survival in the community, region and world. 

 

Students will be able to connect these three concepts to various aspects of theatre: collaboration, artistic vision, expression. 

Teaching Methods

In my class, I like to start with a personal interest exercise where I allow students to express their personal interests or hobbies so that I can later link their interests to something in the world of theatre. I believe that group discussions are an essential aspect of my teaching style to promote the same collaboration and problem solving we have in theatre to the classroom as well. I use interactive lectures to breakdown theatrical concepts and ideas and to provide important information about important figures. I try to keep these as involved as possible by including short reviews, questions and thought provoking pictures and/or videos. Group activities are a great way to build relationships and allow students to share ideas and dissect information. 

 

A new method that I recently added are concept simulations where students participate in an exercise in order to experience what we’ve previously discussed in class. For example, I conducted a simulation in which students became an acting company in rehearsal for a play and I became three different kinds of directors. After the exercise, students discussed the collaboration process between the actor/director, their preferences as well as the joys/hardships of rehearsal.

 

Media & Technology

  • Power Points typically accompany my lectures to allow students to take notes. I tend to include thought-provoking pictures and links for students to discuss and explore at their leisure.

  • Video and short clips are a vital part of my teaching styles as I not only want to discuss concepts but also view them in action.

  • I like to include various articles, reviews and websites to start group discussions and to provide information to prepare for group projects.

 

Interaction with Students

As a mentor, I like to highlight the strengths of each student in discussion and small group projects. As a coach, I encourage students to express themselves and to feel confident in honoring their own opinions. My focus is to guide students to as much information on a subject as I can and to remain neutral while prompting different facets of a conversation.

I enjoy working with students and being apart of their creative growth. I recognize that students come from all different walks of life and cultural backgrounds and I tend to celebrate this while creating connections to theatre that are personal and meaningful. 

 

Diversity

I believe it is very important for students to recognize diversity in theatre. I highlight and openly discuss race, gender, sexual orientation, politics and religion as it relates to theatre. Theatre today is becoming more and more inclusive and I want to highlight this in media examples, activities, and discussions in class.

 

Cultural Awareness

Students should be aware of theatrical trends in the United States as well as theatre around the world. Students should recognize the historical context of these art forms as well as the current trends in different cultures. For example, students become aware of the rich history of Japanese theatre which is steeped in traditional and physical technique and dance. Students also learn about the National Theatre in Japan and their traditional Kabuki performances.Whenever possible, I try to connect students with articles from the National Theatre, American Theatre wing and New York Time reviews.

 

Accessibility

In my experiences in teaching, I have learned to become extremely flexible in order to provide accommodations for students with disabilities. In the past, I have provided recorded lectures, videos with subtitles, and printed lectures and notes at the request of students. I try to connect with students early in the teaching process in order to create a learning plan in which students receive all of the tools they need to be successful in my classroom. 

 

Assessing Learning

I like to use traditional testing, projects and presentations to assess students. I also include a participation grade since students are encouraged to fully participate in all activities in my classroom. 

 

Professional Growth

In an effort to educate my students as efficiently as possible, I continue to research new and interactive projects, activities and lectures for the classroom. I want to continue to expose myself to non-traditional types of theatre as well as culturally diverse theatre in order to provide first-hand experience to what I discuss with my students. Teacher evaluations are a great way to figure out what students liked and disliked about the class and my teaching style and I tend to shape my next class with the information I get from them. I know I have effectively taught my class when students express their appreciation for the class and their plans to either be a part of or support theatre performance.