I hope that my unique contribution to our understanding of teaching and learning is not just to understand them as instances of performance, but to understand that performance is an EXPERIENCE within a MOMENT.

We only learn through our own subjective experiences with the world around us. You can’t “teach” someone something. But you can PERFORM such that they are transformed by the experience—that a meaningful encounter between performer and audience and back again has happened.

And I go a step further to say that no human experience happens without thinking, feeling, and doing, all hopelessly and wonderfully entangled in the same experiential moment.

So in order to “teach” we have to consider and model (PERFORM for the students) what WE think and feel and do when we are performing, ourselves.

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

So that requires frank and public (“performative”) reflection for our students:
Here’s how I prepare . . .
Here’s when I get nervous . . .
Here’s what I hope never happens . . .
This is what it feels like in my stomach when I’m about to go on . . .
Here’s how it feels to me bodily when I have writer’s block . . .
Here’s how it feels when it’s received well . . .

And we address those with our own performative, experiential wisdom:
I tell myself I’ve done this before.
I recognize these bodily sensations and I realize they are not foreign to me.
I remember the thrill of it going well even when I was convinced it wouldn’t.
I know what it feels like to do it well but still have perfectionism nagging at me.
I know that the most important thing that happens here is for me internally and not for the audience.

And, then, to PERFORM feedback after our students have performed:
I am so proud of what you just did.
Do you know how much courage and skill that took?
I hope you take a few moments to internalize how GOOD this moment is.
I hope you’re already looking forward to the next time you go out there.
I will always be rooting for you.

….I will always be in the audience, always wishing you well…..

This is what I mean by a pedagogy of performance.

Photo by Haste LeArt V. on Pexels.com