TEACHER FEATURE: Angela Hall
Degrees and Certifications:
Theater/Musical Theater Teacher
Denzel Washington School of the Arts
Number of Years in the District: 26
Name of College(s) and Degrees Held/ Year of Graduation:
BFA Musical Theater - The Boston Conservatory 1986
MS Teaching - Fordham University 1994
MSE Administration - Fordham University 2005
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned in your years of teaching?
Whatever you do, understand that this work is about the students. Put the students first. If a lesson doesn't go well, be flexible. Admit the lesson did not work, figure out what did not meet your students' needs, and start all over again.
What lesson(s) or values do you strive to teach your students?
Love yourself. Know yourself. Be yourself.
What aspect of your job inspires you the most and why?
The most inspiring aspect of my work with the dramatic arts is that the art of drama is an extraordinary innovation in itself. It is a tool that students can use for self-betterment in their lives. Drama is an endless spring of water from which to drink. Acting exercises improve our ability to heal ourselves and grow from love through the development of a character. To watch my students dip into their gifts and abilities while unlocking their fullest potential for communication through their hearts, minds, and bodies, is a reward in itself.
What strategies and techniques do you use to engage students in the curriculum, and how do you use them?
"In order to capture the full range of abilities and talents that people possess, Gardner theorizes that people do not have just an intellectual capacity, but have many kinds of intelligence, including musical, interpersonal, spatial-visual, and linguistic intelligences".
To that end, philosophically, I use Howard Gardner as a basis for my overall approach to pedagogy. When I think about teaching foundational technique to my acting students, I encourage my pupils to use various means to get to an end product. I always begin with Constantin Stanislavski's System. Students are encouraged to use imagination and Stanilslavski's 7 Questions as a jumping point to develop who they are (internally) within their work. I also encourage my young thespians to utilize the improvisational work of Viola Spolin, Uta Hagen's object exercises, and Chekov's psychological gesturing (as a way for working from the outside in).