My after school role is simple. I collaboratively teach elementary and junior musical theatre classes on Wednesday nights at Centre Stage Theatre School in Burlington. This year we are working on the productions of Aladdin & Peter Pan. I also lead the March break and 6 week summer programming. The rush from Bolton to Burlington is epic, and may involve a quick stop for coffee if I don’t hit too much traffic (thank you highway407).
Each week I am privileged to work with the most creative, innovative, free-spirited types of human beings around…children. Each time I find that moment that acknowledges why I do what I do. Tonight that moment occurred during the part in Aladdin where the parade is about to occur in Prince Ali…we (myself and 5 awesome actors) were organizing specific talents to showcase for this parade within the play.
One actor was changing his trick, experimenting back and forth. He realized in his mind that he was making a mistake and called himself out on it. Without hesitation the child beside him said “There are no mistakes in art!”, and we all agreed this was wonderful and moved on.
Driving home tonight I thought about how this applied to the classroom. In the process of rehearsal we allow ourselves to make mistakes, and mistakes are accepted as part of the process. In the classroom mistakes are seen by children as a set back, a discouraging wall that can stop them in their tracks. Anxiety towards not getting the right answer or not knowing something right away can have a significant impact on the value of the learning process.
I think mistakes are discoveries of our current limitations. Limitations are obstacles that we must challenge ourselves to overcome. Creativity thrives on overcoming obstacles. I believe it is my role as an educator to find that spark to help students challenge themselves.
Tonight’s discovery has motivated me discover more deeply how my students view mistakes. The actor did eventually decided that his trick would be a combination of the worm & newly created breakdancing move. Everybody wins.