Teachers as Actors: Lecturing Theory Classes for Students in Vocational Education and Training Institutes


When Confucius and Socrates taught, they had one thing in common: they lectured. Using vocal control, body languages and questioning techniques, they performed, improvised and interacted with their disciples.  Apparently, their direct and primitive presentations were able to draw their audience's attentions, articulate higher order thinking and reflections.  Resemblance of drama and performance, the beauty of lecturing lies in the adoption of theatrical techniques such as tone, rhythm and the bodily gestures.  Using acting techniques in teaching have been suggested by a number of researchers (Eisner, 1968; Tauber, Mester and Buckwald, 1993; Sarason, 1999; Griggs, 2001).  However, the once prevailing lectures seem subsided and overwhelmed by learning and teaching activities and technological enabled learning resources.  The question remains, will theater and acting techniques enhance lecture so as to engage, inspire and articulate students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills in theory classes?  To take a closer look into the question, an empirical study was carried out in one of Hong Kong's vocational education and training institutions in a consecutive of two years (2010/11, 2011/12).  Two teachers and a total number of 87 design students from four different cultural studies classes were participated in the survey.  The cultural studies classes cover topics of social and cultural theories of which the majority of design students are reluctant to participate.  Using a participatory approach, the two teachers adopted acting and questioning techniques for the theory classes.  Results from questionnaires revealed that the students enjoyed good lectures as if they were watching good performances.  It is also learnt that most of the students agreed that their engagements were results of teachers' good presentation skills.  Results of this study implicate that teacher's facilitation skills is important while applications of acting techniques in lectures would facilitate students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills in theory classes.

Author Information
Yuk-kwan Ng, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong
Po-san Leung, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong
lai-fong Lau, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong
Kit-man Chung, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2013
Stream: Education

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