Viola Spolin and Plato.




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:


Dear Akvida,

I am so glad that my drawing introduced you to the theater and drama teacher, Viola Spolin.

She was a great teacher.

I first learned of her from my art education teacher, Leon Bellin.

Spolin’s son, Paul Sills went on to help create Chicago’s Second City improvisational techniques.

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 theater and theater games and teaching using 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, miss the richness and complexity of what good teachers do.

Experiential teachers like Viola Spolin believed as John Dewey did (and I do) that experience alone does not create real learning. Rather it is reflecting on experience that creates real learning.

As Plato said as recollected by Socrates, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

But, Akvida, don’t just stop with a search for quotes by Dewey, Plato or Socrates. Read what they wrote in full. Just as my cartoon prompted you to check out Ms Spolin further, now dig deeper.

I suggest that in my role as a teacher.


4 Replies to “Viola Spolin and Plato.”

  1. Dear Akvida,
    Are you or ever have been a teacher? If not, avail yourself of the opportunity and teach for a few years. Take Chaucer as an inspiration: “And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.” Then, tell us what the “experience” taught you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s