Teaching Strategies for Neurodiversity and Dyslexia in Actor Training addresses some of the challenges met by acting students with dyslexia and highlights the abilities demonstrated by individuals with specific learning differences in actor training.
The book offers six tested teaching strategies, created from practical and theoretical research investigations with dyslexic acting students, using the methodologies of case study and action research. Utilizing Shakespeare’s text as a laboratory of practice and drawing directly from the voices and practical work of the dyslexic students themselves, the book explores:
- the stress caused by dyslexia and how the teacher might ameliorate it through changes in their practice
- the theories and discourse surrounding the label of dyslexia
- the visual, kinaesthetic, and multisensory processing preferences demonstrated by some acting students assessed as dyslexic
- acting approaches for engaging with Shakespeare’s language, enabling those with dyslexia to develop their authentic voice and abilities
- a grounding of the words and the meaning of the text through embodied cognition, spatial awareness, and epistemic tools
- Stanislavski’s method of units and actions and how it can benefit and obstruct the student with dyslexia when working on Shakespeare
- Interpretive Mnemonics as a memory support and hermeneutic process, and the use of color and drawing towards an autonomy in live performance
This book is a valuable resource for voice and actor training, professional performance, and for those who are curious about emancipatory methods that support difference through humanistic teaching philosophies.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Background to the Investigatory Practice 1. Overview and structure of the book 2. Pedagogy and education in actor training: towards an emancipatory practice 3. David - the inspiration and initiator of my study 4. Matters of dyslexia 5. Shakespeare as laboratory and reader as creator Part 2: The Investigatory Practice and Teaching Strategies One to Six 6. The theoretical perspectives and methodology: attaining a verstehen through action research underpinned by case study 7. Finding the way in: picture thinking 8. Images as visible thought, acting stimulus and mnemonic pegs: Action Research (Cycle One) and Teaching Strategy One 9. The physical path and Stanislavski’s actions: action in pursuit of the objective or as an anchor of verbal meaning? 10. A trial of the physical actions method inspired by Stanislavski: Action Research (Cycle Two) and Teaching Strategy Two 11. Grasping towards being present in the text, entangling meaning into memory: Action Research (Cycle Three) and Teaching Strategy Three 12. The creation of mnemotechnics towards a memoria rerum (memory for things and ideas) and memoria verboram (memory for words) 13. The Micro and Macro strategy - deconstructing and reconstructing meaning and significance in Shakespeare’s text towards performance: Action Research (Cycle Four and Five) and Teaching Strategy Four and Five 14. Interpretive mnemonics, distributed cognition and authenticity of self: the research findings, Action Research (Cycle Six) and Teaching Strategy Six
Dr. Petronilla Whitfield is Associate Professor in Voice and Acting at the Arts University Bournemouth, UK. She holds a PhD in Arts Pedagogy from Warwick University and an MA in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Trained originally as an actor at Arts Educational Schools, she was a professional actor for twenty years. She has taught voice and acting at leading British actor training institutions and universities for eighteen years.