The Heart of Teaching: Empowering Students in the Performing Arts

The Heart of Teaching: Empowering Students in the Performing Arts

by Stephen Wangh

NOOK Book(eBook)

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The Heart of Teaching is a book about teaching and learning in the performing arts. Its focus is on the inner dynamics of teaching: the processes by which teachers can promote—or undermine—creativity itself. It covers the many issues that teachers, directors and choreographers experience, from the frustrations of dealing with silent students and helping young artists ‘unlearn’ their inhibitions, to problems of resistance, judgment and race in the classroom,.

Wangh raises questions about what can—and what cannot—be taught, and opens a discussion about the social, psychological and spiritual values that underlie the skills and techniques that teachers impart. Subjects addressed include:

    • Question asking: which kinds of questions encourage creativity and which can subvert the learning process.
    • Feedback: how it can foster both dependence and independence in students.
    • Grading: its meaning and meaninglessness.
    • Power relationships, transference and counter-transference
    • The pivotal role of listening.

The Heart of Teaching speaks to experienced teachers and beginning teachers in all disciplines, but is particularly relevant to those in the performing arts, from which most of its examples are drawn. It brings essential insight and honesty to the discussion of how to teach.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781135122607
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 01/04/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 162
File size: 583 KB

About the Author

Stephen Wangh is a playwright, director and acting teacher. He has taught at Naropa University and Emerson College (, and is Arts Professor Emeritus at New York University. He is the author of An Acrobat of the Heart: A physical approach to acting inspired by the work of Jerzy Grotowski.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Preface x

Introduction: What teachers don't talk about 1

1 How does learning happen? 5

2 The via negativa 9

3 Questions and questioning 16

4 Listening 26

5 Feedback 40

6 Resistance 60

7 Transference 69

8 Cultures of oppression and resistance 78

9 Eros et charitas 86

10 The broken heart 96

11 No mistakes 101

12 Power and control 113

13 Silence 125

14 What are we really teaching? 138

An afterword about grading 150

Bibliography 158

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

‘Stephen Wangh tackles an important but rarely discussed aspect of performance teaching. He brings a particular set of hard-won insights based on extensive teaching and personal experience, and doesn’t shy away from teasing out the difficult personal lessons drawn from that experience.’ Anthony Jackson, University of Manchester, UK

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