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Method Teaching

Method acting is tricky to define but — brusquely put — actors draw on real emotions to project fictional ones. Famously, in Marathon Man for a scene which called Dustin Hoffman to play haggard and worn out, he stayed up for two days to play the part1.

The idea is that you don't sit in your canvas-backed chair pondering what your character would do in a certain situation; you immerse yourself so deeply into your character, you become the character, essentially, and just react naturally to the situation.

There was a time when I'd sit in front of my computer, the cursor blinking patiently while I tried to find an interesting angle on my lesson. I'd sit and think until I thought of something interesting.

After this last really good year, after this last weekend talking to Mike at a wedding reception, I've decided I am a Method Teacher.

I spent the last year acquainting myself with an RSS reader, becoming interested in several dumptrucks worth of extracurriculars, flagging them towards my front door on daily basis, and cuing them to unload.

I am, lately, an obsessively, compulsively interested person and so my natural inclination is to find an interesting angle on any given topic. I can't help it anymore. More to the point, I can't help sharing it with my students.

This is Method Teaching.


  1. Laurence Olivier's equally famous reaction to his appearance, "Why don't you just try acting?" is great but of no use to me here.

3 Responses to “Method Teaching”

  1. [...] respect to my last post (the point of which being that the best way to be an interesting teacher is to be an interested [...]

  2. on 04 Sep 2007 at 10:27 pmChris Lehmann

    Yep.

    On some level, it speaks to one of the most important gifts we can give to our students — we can show them how much fun it is to really care about the stuff of our lives.

  3. on 06 Sep 2007 at 3:48 pmJonathan

    If you find the material and/or the audience inherently interesting, that would be even easier.