Constructivism in the acting classroom: a comprehensive approach to teaching practical aesthetics, voice, and movement
This dissertation uses constructivist pedagogy to teach acting via Practical Aesthetics, a system of actor training created in the mid/&ndash1980s; by David Mamet and his college acting students. Primarily taught at the Atlantic Theatre Acting School in New York City, Practical Aesthetics has been the focus of little academic research. The same lack of research regarding constructivist pedagogy exists in academic theatre scholarship. The author takes a step toward rectifying this situation. Using an action research methodology, based on approximately thirteen years of teaching experience, the author suggests that Practical Aesthetics and his accompanying voice and movement exercises can be effective in training novice actors. The author melds theory and practice into the educational approach called Praxis to create specific detailed lesson plans which can be used to implement Practical Aesthetics. These lessons constitute primary research on this topic. Compatible voice and movement exercises are also included to provide a comprehensive semester length digest. The first chapter is an introduction, the second outlines Practical Aesthetics, the third focuses on constructivism, the fourth discusses teaching acting using Constructivist Learning Design, the fifth provides narrative lessons that can be used in the classroom, and the closure provides a review as well as suggestions for further research. An intriguing point made in the closure is a call for studies that might determine Practical Aesthetics' applicability and usability in other fields such as law, business, politics, public speaking, and even non-profit work. Although the primary audience for this dissertation is secondary school and college acting instructors, any scholar studying acting theory or constructivist pedagogy may find value in its contents.