The following entry was written by Renato Luna Dezonne, class of 2014.
The idea of getting up at 7:30 am to get to a 9:00 am class that lasts 3 hours doesn’t exactly sound exciting, right? I’m here to disagree. Because after 2 cups of coffee and a T-ride into downtown Boston, arriving in the Paramount Center to attend my 9 am “Drama as an Education I” class will probably be the highlight of my day.
When I registered for my senior year classes, I had plenty of room for elective courses. As a BFA Stage Production/Management major, I decided to take courses outside my area of specialization – I used the elective credits to pursue theatre as a form of education, which happens to be another of my interests in the world of performing arts. I asked the professor Dr. Bethany Nelson for special permission to enroll in the class.
The course teaches students different tools, skills, and approaches to education in preparation to take an official teaching licensure exam. Bethany’s approach to teaching is to have our class physically do and play different theatre games that we might use in practice, as well as imitating behavioral techniques we might employ in a teaching role. On a given day, we might spend the hours playing one of these games:
- Blob Tag – A student is “it”. When that student tags someone, they both become “it” and must hold hands and try to tag other students to become part of the blob.
- Blind Car – Students divide into pairs. One person is the car and stands in front of the other, who is a driver. The “car” closes their eyes (or is blindfolded) and the “driver” gives directions by touching the car’s back with their hands. For example, if you touch the left shoulder it means turn left, if you grab both shoulders it means stop, etc.
- Energy Ball – The classic exercise of passing energy around a large group. There are many variations of this game. Recently we played a fun one called “Basket of Cherries”. Students gather in a circle and “pass” the energy: participants can either block the energy (they’ll exclaim, “Have it!”) or pass the energy to the person in the circle by saying “BASKET OF CHERRIES” and pointing at another person. The person who gets the basket of cherries must then pretend to scarf the imaginary cherries while continuing to pass the energy around.
Sound silly? I’m learning so much about why these simple games are instrumental in teaching valuable universal skills like collaboration, flexibility, resilience, and confidence. So yes; in theory, getting up early for class seems like a drag, but I perk right up when I realize that I’m headed into a massive game of Zombiefied Blob Tag, all while learning how to empower kids through theater.