Last Spring At Middle School


    What better way to learn the art of effective communication than to bring a theatre arts professional into the classroom?


    Middle students in Mrs. Galima's and Mrs. Chamberlains Communication Skills and Current Issues classes were treated to an acting seminar conducted by Airport Playhouse owner, Terry Brennan. Mrs. Brennan began by teaching the students how to warm up their voices, breathing techniques to prevent vocal stress, as well as how to project their voices. Tongue twisters and script-reading exe rises challenged the students to articulate sounds with clarity and volume.


    One activity that proved most fascinating required the students enact scenes using only the word “pizza.” Students took turns creating and framing a scenario by using effective body language and interactions which enabled the viewers to interpret the pizza-center storyline. “Situations varied,” Mrs. Galima explained, “from students retreating indoors during a thunderstorm, to a group excluding another group, to parents wondering where their children were and questioning why they were late. All hands went up, eager to interpret the scenarios.”


    While many activities brought the students’ creativity to new heights, when Mrs. Brennan emphasized the connections between acting, listening, writing and self esteem with improved communication skills, the students experienced a dawning appreciation for the same skills that have been the focus of their Communication Skills Classes.


    Disclosing a little background about being a shy child, Mrs. Brennan explained that she has become an outgoing adult (and now even runs educational youth workshop programs at the Airport Playhouse, because she became involved with acting, debating, and public speaking situations. Mrs. Brennan hoped the students would realize a most worthwhile life lesson: that having a better understanding of the world enables one to be an effective communicator.


    Mrs. Brennan left a lasting impression on the students which extremely pleased both Mrs. Galima and Mrs. Chamberlain, because she stressed the same values they teach in their courses. “Keeping abreast of issues in the news locally, nationally, and worldwide,” Mrs. Galima reiterated, “and being able to participate in discussions with informed knowledge is vital in forming good future citizens.”


    And beyond that, perhaps even, award-winning actors and U.S. Presidents…one never knows.