Whether you like it or not, acting is a huge part of teaching. I used to have a quote on my board in the office, which I seem to remember read something like
“those who say teaching has nothing to do with acting, knows nothing about either”
(it might have been comedy actually, but it works nicely for this blog post with acting, so i’ll stick with that). Whether it be the infectiously enthusiastic motivational approach, or the “oh shoot, I can’t remember the point of this thread” approach, we all act. We also act differently (even if it is subtle) to our usual selves while we are in front of a class; we utilize our teaching persona. This is true whether you are in a traditional, or hybrid classroom . Even online, we (well, I do anyway) create a visual image on a person based on what they write…I’m sure you’re doing it now!
I heard about the “Dr. Fox Effect” for the first time today…if you have 5 minutes (and I hope you have if you’ve crossed my path) take a look at this video:
Case in point. Psychology today discusses the experiment, but essentially the speaker is a fraud; he is an actor, not a professor, and with not a jot of knowledge on the subject. Yet, he “seduced the people hearing the lecture into believing that they had actually learned something substantial” Naftulin et. al (1973).
Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean for you to head into the classroom and promptly fill the classroom with “meaningless content” but there is no denying that if you present your subject “in a lively and humourous speaking style” and “interact warmly”…your classroom will absolutely be a more positive place.