A week-long teacher education program began today in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, where the Arts Initiative at Ohio State brought a second group of 20 central Ohio schoolteachers to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company educators and actors. They are joined by 10 MFA acting students from Ohio State's Department of Theatre. This is the second year OSU has partnered with the RSC to bring teachers to Stratford to work on techniques at the core of the RSC's renowned Stand Up for Shakespeare program. (The group is shown above, in front of the RSC headquarters in Stratford.)
Says Karen Bell, OSU associate vice president for arts outreach and head of the Arts Initiative, "We are so happy to be back in Stratford-upon-Avon this summer with these fine teachers and MFA students, and look forward to their work with our RSC partners. They're exploring RSC techniques that utilize active, drama-based approaches to the teaching of Shakespeare and other complex texts. We are seeing great strides from our first group of teachers -- who were here last summer with the RSC -- in their own classrooms, and look forward to seeing this second group expand the reach of this program."
Bell said this year's endeavor with teachers and MFA students will deepen the focus on the artistic and performance aspects of this educational partnership. When the group returns to Ohio, they will work this summer and throughout the coming academic year with OSU faculty, led by Brian Edmiston, director of pedagogy, to bring Shakespeare into their classrooms. Schools include Columbus City Schools, Reynoldsburg City Schools and Metro High School.
Bell (above, left) also introduced another OSU faculty member to the partnership. "I'm delighted to welcome Lesley Ferris (above, right), professor and former chair of the OSU Department of Theatre, who along with me will co-direct the programs of the OSU/RSC partnership. Lesley's visionary leadership, recognition as an accomplished director and researcher, and leader of OSU's study abroad London program make her a perfect fit for this important partnership."
Prior to beginning the education program, the group of teachers and MFA students explored London. . . and found a special use for Big Ben (below).
The new group of teachers includes: Kim Swensen (Metro); Kimberley Cox and Jessica Sharp (Reynoldsburg High School); Tonya Peacock (Hannah Ashton Middle School); Derek Hinkle and Sandra Guinto (Waggoner Road Middle School); Janice Bartels, Jean Reph, Rosalind Ebai and Alicia Fair-Foust (Wedgewood Middle School); Ron Hairston, Jill Sampson and Allison Volz (Hilltonia Middle School); Kathleen Waughaman (Windsor STEM Academy); Kelly Simmons and Faye Love (Linden STEM Academy); Art Isennagle III (South Mifflin K-6 STEM Academy); Michael Aberth (Hamilton K-6 STEM Academy); and David Hall and Melissa Rulong (the Graham Family of Schools). MFA students are Alex Boyles, Ashley Kobza, Victoria Matsos, Kevin McClatchy, Moopi Mothibeli, Charlesanne Rabensburg, Hannah Rockey, Ibsen Santos, Alison Vasquez and Aaron Zook.
Speaking of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the well-known theatre troupe now has an OSU presence on their website. Click here to read about our program on their web.
Throughout the week, we’ll be talking with some of the 20 teachers and 10 MFA students who are involved in the second cohort in the OSU / RSC partnership program.
"The first hour (of the training program) today was the best professional development experience I've ever had in my 7 years as a teacher. Working with the RSC, the MFA students and my fellow colleagues, I feel alive and rejuvenated, and I can't wait to get the new school year started!"
Derek Hinkle, 5th grade language arts teacher, Waggoner Road Middle School, Reynoldsburg
"I absolutely love it! I come from a very academic background where you sit at the desk and read the book, so, I never felt a real attraction to Shakespeare. But getting to play with the Shakespeare text is really making it come alive! Getting up and joining in the activities leaves no room for saying 'I can't'. . . and then you realize 'you can.'"
Victoria Matsos, MFA acting student