The Educational Theatre Student Experience at NYU Steinhardt


[Intro Music] Dr. Jones: I am a native New Yorker, I was born in
Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, and I came to NYU because I wanted to study theatre. I was a student at NYU as an undergraduate,
and at that time I took a number of courses in the program in Educational Theatre, and
I found myself engaged deeply with the work that was happening here, so much so that I
decided to get a master’s in Educational Theatre. Thereafter, I taught high school for 5 years,
and then I was lucky enough to return to NYU to get my doctorate, and now I’m thrilled
to be part of the faculty here. As a student in the PhD program, I had to
design a research project and write a formal dissertation. I designed a professional development program
for working teachers in order to get them to incorporate drama techniques into the teaching
of social studies, world languages, and also English language arts. If I wasn’t interested in a career as an academic,
the EdD would have been an attractive program for me as an educator if I was interested
in working as a director of education at a theatre company or another arts organization. The EdD is meant to be a practice-based degree,
which means instead of it being a research degree like you have with a PhD, it asks the
students to engage with the practice of doing theatre. If a student was interested in specializing
in applied theatre, for instance, they might design a theatre program to take into prisons,
where they might work with prisoners in order to contribute to their health and well-being. I was really excited about attending the study
abroad programs, because I would have the opportunity to see theatre, to engage in theatre,
and also to work with a number of international leaders in the field. On a study abroad program in London, we have
the opportunity to do drama workshops at The Globe Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company, and also to work with Dorothy Heathcote and Cecily O’Neill and Gavin Bolton, who really
are thought to be pioneers in the field of educational theatre. Dorothy: You talk to the task so you can be really
clear on the demands of the task, the social ability of the class to meet the demands,
and of course, how the task can appeal. Dr. Jones: Because our program is located in New York
City, we are fortunate to have visiting professors come to teach courses with us from arts organizations
like Lincoln Center, the New Victory Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, and also from
other institutions around the world. Our program has been in existence for 50 years,
as such we have alumni working as theatre artists, theatre practitioners, and also as
educators all across the country and indeed around the world. Every spring we invite our alumni to return
to the program when we host our annual conference. During those conferences our students are
able to benefit from interacting with the alumni because of their many varied and exciting
experiences that they’re having in their professional careers, which enables all of the students
to get a sense of what life will be like after NYU. I never knew I really wanted to be a teacher
until I was on a study abroad program in London and found myself in front of a classroom of
40 young people who were so excited to do drama with the strange American guy, and that moment really changed my life, because after that day I never looked back, and I’ve been
privileged to work with high school students, elementary students, and now college students,
and I am very grateful to the program for giving me that opportunity. [Music Continues]

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