TOPHER ALLEN: Student, Author and Future Teacher
My name is Christopher Allen Jones, but my stage name is just the middle portion, Topher Allen. I am a native of Southeastern Virginia/Hampton Roads/Tidewater, specifiacally Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. I am currently in the second semester of my second year at Old Dominion University as a Theatre Education major and I know what you're thinking, why theatre? As a freshman in high school, I got my start in this business as an actor. The further my high school career progressed, the more enthralled with the theatre I became. I had my big break in junior year with an assistant directing position for the fall one act production competition in which we placed second in districts and third in regionals. While in this position of power I came to realize that I obtained so much joy from helping others learn new ways of acheiving. At that moment, I knew that teaching theatre was the path for my life.
With such a hands on subject, my philosophy of education tends to lean in that direction. I believe that teachers have the obligation to convey their passions in such a manner that not only do their students pass the class, but keep with them the information that we pass on to them for the rest of their lives. With that said, I feel as though hands on learning and classroom participation are a must in order for a student to gain the most knowledge.
In addition, I feel that classes should not cover one and only one subject matter. I believe that courses should overlap, and reinforce each other. As an instructor of the theatre arts, I plan to mesh my classes with History, Mathematics, Science and English in one way or another. Be it via reading a science fiction play and discussing the real elements of science found within the piece or by teaching set design and incorporating geometry lessons. By intermingling subjects, students would be able to retain more information on a broader scale.
Theatre Workshop Reflection
This activity is a recording of me leading my very first workshop in my content area, Theater Education. Warming up our bodies is essential to being loose, agile and on our toes when taking the stage and the only way to prepare the body for taking the stage is by warming it up. As stated in the lecture, an actor must warm up his/her entire body. That is to say, the actor can not be prepared if all he/she completes are physical warm-ups.
As previously stated, this workshop was my first experience actually teaching people about my passion. In the audio file, I use a modified lecturing module in which my students are asked questions frequently to make sure they are not zoning off. Also, the lecture portions are broken up into smaller segments with students participating in the actual warm-ups. At the end of the lecture, I review general concepts and ask each individual student what they had learned from my lesson. This whole modified lecture system is just one way of shifting teaching methods from passive to active thus keeping students engaged in the material. I feel as though this audio file exemplifies active learning in a very effective manner. All three of the students who attended my workshop are theatre majors themselves and once the tape stopped rolling, they all actually applauded me for teaching them something that they did not previously know. The experience was an eye opener. I know now where I have to go as far as public speaking is concerned, what with my many “uhs” and “ums”, and I also know that I will be able to incorporate active learning into my classroom.
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