3 thoughts on “Teachers (Viola Spolin).

  1. If you’re a Spolin devotee, why not publish this quote: “We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything.” That one wouldn’t fit your narrative, though, would it? We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything. Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/798593 We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything. Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/798593

    • I am so glad that my drawing introduced you to the theater and drama teacher, Viola Spolin. She was a great teacher. Her son, Paul Sills went on to help create Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy club. While my cartoon and quote led you to Ms Spolin, don’t just stop at searching out quotes. Read her theory of teaching theater. Spolin did believe, as I do, in experiential learning. But to say that she doesn’t believe in teachers and teaching is silly, since she wrote a number of books on teaching using theater and theater games. And, of course, she was a teacher herself. I often incorporated her techniques in my own instruction. Like you, many of those who have not fully investigated the art and practice of teaching, except by limiting themselves to azquotes.com, miss the richness and complexity of what good teachers do. Experiential teachers like Viola Spolin believed as Dewey did (and I do) that experience alone does not create really learning. Rather it is reflecting on experience that creates real learning. As Plato said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” But, Akvida, don’t just search for quotes by Dewey or Plato. Read what they wrote in full. I suggest that in my role as a teacher.

      • I love your illustration of Spolin’s quote and have shared it to the Facebook page for Sills/Spolin Theater Works. Bravo as well for your thoughtful and eloquent reply to the misreading of an out-of-context quote. I recently read that very quote in a talk to a group of drama teachers (including its famous opening, “Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater and learn to become stageworthy.”) and I looked up to see many in the audience smiling and nodding, because, well, they’re teachers and they understand how people learn. One of them later thanked me for reading it because her mother, who was also a drama teacher, had taught it to her. The talk was about how Spolin’s work came directly out of the progressive education movement, as you touch on here, via her work with a great teacher, Neva Boyd. This was something Paul Sills wanted every one of his students to understand. He spoke of it at the beginning of each workshop I took with him over the years.

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