Jacob Watson | Centre Cívic Barri Vell Mercadal, Girona | February 19, 2019

My first activity at Faber was a workshop with students of education at the University of Girona, in a course called Artistic Projects as Pedagogical Tools led by Professor David Martínez. Students had been exploring the pedagogical functions of different art forms, and for my session we focused specifically on what can be learned from the discipline of theatre.

We began by considering how we learn to listen with the body. We asked, what might be the value of this skill for students in schools? In partners, the students practiced several activities that asked them to generate and exchange information non-verbally. I then shared emerging research from cognitive science on the concept of “embodied cognition” and we talked about the different kinds of meaning that the body can hold. One student suggested that our bodies speak more truthfully than our words, and that bringing this type of knowledge to bear can allow us to connect with others more authentically. We also puzzled over why such modes of learning are not included in most school curricula. A likely explanation is that many of us fear showing emotion, which can often be seen as non-academic.

Finally, I talked about how the capacity to imagine and enact stories gives youth important tools for navigating a complex and uncertain world. We briefly embodied “moments of awe” from our own lives and discussed how educators might use drama as a way to create spaces of possibility for young learners.