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Acting Lessons for Teachers

Acting Lessons for Teachers

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Published by: cem balcikanli on Sep 27, 2010
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An Education Resources Information Center (http://www.eric.ed.gov/)
search for the term “space utilization” (or related term) and at least one other
education-related term—an exercise that takes just seconds—reveals numerous
citations. All of them, because they are announced in ERIC, have applications
to education settings.

Classroom Space


An ERIC search for the term “space utilization” (or related term) with a vari-
ety of education-related terms reveals the following number of citations: “space
utilization” and “teachers”: 305; “space utilization” and “teaching”: 200; “space
utilization” and “students”: 356; and “space utilization” and “effectiveness”: 146;
“space utilization” and “creativity”: 9; “classroom seating”: 45; “seating,” “class-
rooms,” and “interest”: 14; and “creative classrooms” and “space” 2.
In addition to exploring ERIC, you should consider searching other databases
as well for books, articles, and programs related to the effective application of
space utilization in the classroom. You also are encouraged to search the Web
using many of the ERIC descriptors presented in the previous paragraph.


For further discussion of the concepts and skills presented in this chapter, read
the following paragraphs in Appendix 2, Testimonials from Award-Winning K–12
Teachers and College Professors: Clough, 4; Grimnes, 1–3, 6; Mahoney, 3;
McBrayer, 2; Steuernagel, 2–5.



Humor helps to convert “Ha Ha” into “Aha!”

—Patrick J. Herbert


s the story goes, Joe accompanied his friend to a joke-tellers meeting. At
the well-attended gathering, members had such a large repertoire of jokes
that they numbered each of them. Then, throughout the meeting, differ-
ent members simply would stand and call out the number of a joke (e.g., number
forty-two, number eighty-nine), and all in the audience would howl with laugh-
ter. Toward the end of the meeting, Joe asked if he could take a turn “telling a
joke”—after all, it looked so easy. Joe stood, called out a number, and waited for
an audience response. There was none. Joe’s friend turned to him and said,
“Well, some people can tell a joke, and some people can’t.”
Successful joke-teller or not, humor is everywhere. John F. Kennedy was
reported to have said, “There are three things which are real: God, human folly
and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension. So we must do what
we can with the third” (Hunsaker 1988, 285). What can we do with humor?
On one hand, for both actors and teachers, humor should be the easiest skill
area to address. Probably more has been written on the subject of humor than on
any of the other acting/teaching skills highlighted in this book. On the other
hand, humor is often seen as the most threatening of the skill areas. For teachers,
humor may be even more threatening in that, for them, humor must serve a
subject-related purpose, not simply entertain. Further, humor that “bombs” for
an actor one night with one audience can be forgotten—a new audience will be
in the theater tomorrow. For teachers, humor that “bombs” is remembered, not
only by the students (audience) but also by the teacher.
According to Glasser, fun (what humor generates) is one of five basic needs
that motivate human beings. It is no less important than the needs of survival,
power, belonging, and freedom. Fun is nature’s reward for learning. We agree.



Acting Lessons for Teachers

“Students feel pain when a need is frustrated and pleasure when it is satisfied”
(Glasser 1998, 26). Teachers are in a key position to help students experience the
pleasure of having a need satisfied—including the need for fun. And, because
needs typically are never met once and for all, teachers need to create the condi-
tions for having fun—for learning—on a continual basis. Believe it or not, it is
all right to laugh in school!
In spite of the anxiety, sometimes terror, that beginning users of humor might
experience, it is worth the effort. “Humor, like sin, sun, and self-righteousness
exists virtually everywhere people congregate” (Herbert 1991, 2). Humor holds
great potential for positively impacting an audience, in the theater or in the
classroom. Who can argue with the fact that learning is most effective when it’s
fun (Loomans and Kohlberg, 1993)? People who possess a real sense of humor
can take it as well as hand it out. Don’t be afraid to use humor (Enerson and
Plank 1993). This, too, is true whether one is on the stage or in the classroom.

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