Monday, 8 March 2010

The Hunger of Age.

I went over to Goldsmiths on Saturday to teach an introductory workshop on Augusto Boal to the continuing education students. It always interesting to go and have a look at other institutions and perhaps pick up some new ideas. Over the last few years a handful of those enrolled on this foundation course have ended up joining us at Strawberry Hill.

I really enjoyed working with the students, all of whom, for diverse reasons are returning to education and are hungry to learn. There was a real sense of being given a second chance and not having time to waste. It made for an intense and proactive session - a small group, full of questions and ideas, stayed behind afterwards and we happily overran by almost an hour. The course is clearly both important and liberating for them.

I think Drama programmes benefit from having mature students in tow. They often remind school leavers of the importance of education and bring a sense of confidence to debate and discussion. The risk is that they adopt a position of authority, of mistaking life experience for wisdom, but most returners just seem determined to wring every ounce of information and knowledge out of the lecturers and encourage their peers to do the same.

It made me realise that St Mary's is a very young University - perhaps the vocational and dynamic nature our core business: Education, Drama and Sport make this inevitable - we could do with more balance. The post-recession rise in unemployment, might also mean that there is a genuine need to offer exciting possibilities for retraining and new adventures for those who want or need to change direction. I think a return to education programme could really help us create diverse and dynamic pathway groups and perhaps protect us a little from complacency.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

I have just written an essay on exactly that. I found a lot of students at St Mary’s had no idea of what they wanted to do next and were just at uni because it’s what everyone else was doing! I feel that most, if not all students should be asked to take a year out first; to really understand what they want to do.

I find myself now at masters level being one of the youngest on the course with people aged up to 49...however, possibly due to the nature of the course, everyone has lived such interesting life’s and we thrive on each other’s personal experiences.

If I look back now on my time spent at school I almost mourn the loss of the knowledge I could have gained, because I did not enjoy school my hearing tended to stray away along with my imagination, thinking more about what I would do when I was older. Know I am older I day dream about how much fun and how easy it actually was being 15 yrs old! Though I don't think I would have believed this at the time.

Now I thrive on any knowledge and enjoy learning more than anything. I do put a lot of my hatred at school down to mean children and the fact I didn't have a good relationship with any of my teachers, until 6th form.

I now work with children who have been kicked out of school because of their chaotic backgrounds and abusive personalities who thrive on having time spent playing. I don't feel that schools work hard enough or possibly have the recourses to help with these matters. In some schools that I have worked I have witnessed teachers calling classes ‘the devil children’ and the ‘class of nobody’s’...if we treat everyone the same and do judge a book by its cover where do we end up?