By Diploma Programme English Teacher Ms. Sara Eisenbaum
This week in my English classes we have the opportunity to work with the Writer’s Theatre. They approached me to bring our students to a matinee version of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde (1895). Eager to jump at the opportunity to bring learning to life, I happily accepted the invitation and am so happy that I did. Not only do we get to travel to see this play, but the company also has artists in residence who come to the schools to work with the students to engage them in dramatic expression and other significant concepts they will see in the play.
With high school students, it is hard to gauge what their reaction might be to having to act silly in front of their peers, but this was a smashing success. Students were able to warm up their bodies with stretching exercises, they practiced their speech with tongue twisters, they created puns that Oscar Wilde would approve of, and they used their bodies to create tableaus that represented what they were most excited to see in the play. At the end of the day as students were leaving the classroom and I overheard one student say to Mr. Garrett, “You should come back once a week!” This is what every teacher wishes for; students who engage in their learning with high regard and look forward to how it will push them to interact with the world around them. With our artist in residence we engaged in discussions of power ahead of seeing the play so that we could have an initial understanding of why Wilde was so fond of social commentary. The students will continue this critical thinking process after seeing the show as they regroup with Mr. Garrett and use their dramatic exercises to apply knowledge of their surroundings in 2017 to their initiation in a developing historical context.
In my English classes engaging with context is always at the forefront of our minds. If we are to help students to be ready to be productive global citizens, we need to expose them to the world around them. Venturing outside of the building, outside of the normal classroom confines, and outside of the assumed role of education is continuing to push students to not hold back or diminish their opportunities for learning and growth.
This blog has contributions from a variety of faculty and staff at Ogden International.