6. Real life Communication


In a way technology has done a disservice to our current generation of students. Having the advancements that they have and all the advantages of this technological age comes disadvantages too. This generation grew up behind computers this had created a generation that has problems with real social interactions. Simply talking to a peer has become something that can create anxiety and giving a presentation in class seems like the end of the world. While these have always been obstacles in life with all generations the mixture of technology and coddling that this generation has received has turned what once was a simple nuisance in life to a recognizable psychiatric problem. Giving students exposure in the preforming arts can help alleviate the anxiety that comes with real social interaction.

Actors on top of their job if communicating the show to the audience also have to communicate clearly with other actors and the director. It goes beyond their vocal communication and extends to body language as well on and off stage. Directors have to communicate clearly with actors and the tech crew. Playwrights have to communicate clearly both on and off paper. Crew heads have to talk to their crews and communicate with the stage manager in a way that is beneficial to the production. Analyzing a play can be straightforward with details, but it usually takes creative thinking because a playwright has reasons behind the actions of the characters, but these are not put down in the play. Actors and readers of play have to create the scenario in their minds to find reasons for the actions and words. Actors have to create these scenarios and also incorporate the director’s vision with them. This allows students to take the skills they learned and apply it to life in ways that are very beneficial. They will learn how to communicate in leadership positions that can help them get a job in the future. The critical thinking skills will allow students to have the ability to problem solve and then communicate to a team the solution.

The benefits that theatre gives students go far beyond the classroom. One thing that has stayed true for many jobs in almost any field is that you have t have people skills. More so you have to have interview skills to get the job in the first place. Why would theatre help students gain these skills? Understanding how to work in a stress filled subject such as theatre will give students important skills that they can apply to a multitude of corporate situations. This is something that I think most curriculums completely over look, preparing our students for the real world jobs they will have.

Tom Vander Well wrote defending his theatre degree that he was told to study what he loves not necessarily what he will work in.[1] Now having a corporate job Well talks about how his degree in theatre and past experience in theatre through high school prepared him for his work. Many of the lessons that students learn through theater can be easily translated to the world of corporate work. It is this within the realm of what a teacher can give their students. If the students cannot succeed outside or beyond the classroom with the lessons they are taught, then what is the purpose to those lessons?

In theatre one of the most under valued lessons we can share is improvisation. Now while it may only come in a panic as someone skips a whole page of dialogue or a student is left on stage alone with our their scene partner who have fallen asleep back stage. It is one of the most valuable lessons students can take away form the theatre classroom. “Dropped lines, missed entrances, or malfunctioning props require you to improvise while maintaining your cool. Theatre taught me how to focus, think quickly and make do while giving the impression that you’ve got it all under control. It’s served me well when clients, airlines, coworkers, or technology wreak unexpected havoc at the worst possible moment.”[2]

It is bound to happen in any profession where quite a lot will depend on a conversation or presentation going just right. Of course as life goes those are the moments when anything that can go wrong will. Having the skills to think calmly under that kind of pressure is exactly what improvisation gives you. From personal experience our high school theatre teacher had us play a lot of improve games when the lesson for the day had not taken the full class time. At the time we being high schoolers enjoyed the time to goof off. My option again changed when I got to college and started studying education and different learning styles. I was appalled that class time was wasted in that way. Then again it changed as I have started interviewing for jobs and taking more leadership opportunities, I am grateful to that teacher. My skills in improve have given me the confidence to go into meetings and interviews ready to answer questions that I hadn’t prepared for. It has made me feel ready to continue my profession as a teacher knowing that I will be able to handle any situation thrown at me.

[1] Well, Tom Vander. “10 Ways Being A Theatre Major Prepared Me For Success.” Wayfarer Journal. Theatre Journal, 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.

[2] Well, Tom Vander. “10 Ways Being A Theatre Major Prepared Me For Success.”           Wayfarer Journal. Theatre Journal, 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.