Monday, May 14, 2007


Part II: Revere the Unconscious

As a young actor, Judy acted intuitively; without a technique or guiding philosophy. It was later, working with teachers who used questions to engage texts and lessons that Judy began to craft her acting technique and more generally, a world view that would inform her approach to writing, directing, and teaching.

Her acting technique, like her teaching technique, is based on using questions to guide the process of discovery. Judy likens both teaching and acting to a therapeutic process or an archeological dig in which “you must pay attention to the details and unearth the layers that will lead you to your discovery. Look for the telling details and revere the unconscious.”

To “revere the unconscious” teachers need to be attentive to the details and clues that often lie “beneath the surface.” By using questions and being sensitive and responsive to the ways her students engaged material, Judy enabled students to guide their own learning process.

Further, Judy trusts her instincts and judgments. Revering the unconscious, in this sense, means having the confidence to make in-the-moment decisions about lessons plans and classroom discussions. Judy maintains, when planning a lesson it is important to remember that there are multiple ways to reach an objective, or “a hundred keys to opening a door.”

As such, Judy lives in the “moment to moment reality of the classroom”: responding to the flow of classroom discussion and trusting her instincts to improvise within a lesson a plan. This technique creates a classroom in which students take part in guiding a lesson; making learning collaborative and dynamic.

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