File puptcrit/puptcrit.0509, message 29

Date: Fri, 02 Sep 2005 13:15:39 GMT
Subject: [Puptcrit] Principals in the wrong profession

Oh yeah! An educator who can't see the value in an arts curriculum--especially one including puppet shows and puppet construction and production, is lacking imagination---not a small lack, and explains why Johnny can't read.

Puppet shows help illuminate the kids, motivate them to learn other subjects better, excites them (some school AUTHORITIES in Los Angeles in 1960's Los Angeles would rate puppet shows before they could be presented in schools, and gave demerits if they were "too exciting"---any decent teacher could use that excitement the rest of the day teaching whatever was being taught at the moment; my Chinese professor always said nothing is unrelated).

Growing up, making puppets motivated me to use basic math and language. In high school for Spanish class I translated a famliar tale, LOS TRES OSOS and presented it after school in Study Hall.

After many decades, I still remember the opening lines, "Una vez vivian los tres Osos...".

In a Los Angeles junior High school in the San Fernando Valley, I participated in a project: a puppet exhibit on campus, in an art exhibit space. One of the classes, primarily English as a second language (the euphemism meaning the kids were just learning English for the first time), the kids gave an English language puppet show. It gave them confidence with new words and encouraged the audience too. In that school, education was an exciting, rewarding adventure, not a punishment.

In Palos Verdes I spent a week as artist in residence, exposing each class to simple puppet construction, a show & tell of basic puppet types FROM AROUND THE WORLD. Their Principal was sharp, supportive of the teachers and I had parent volunteer helpers for every class! Now THAT was an EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE! Kids learn more in that environment.---ALAN COOK

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