The Dramatic Impulse

My favorite class this semester is The Dramatic Impulse. It’s an introductory course to all things theater, which is right up my alley. While the subject matter is important, it’s not the only reason why I love the class. The main reason I love the class is the way the curriculum is presented. Rather than traditional lectures, the class is entirely group based. Professor Ishee prompts the class, and then promptly waits for the discussion to begin. He does not egg on students; he lets the class take as long as they please to begin discussion. This forces class participation, and everyone benefits from this.

Similarly, rather than traditional tests and homework, grades are made up, almost exclusively, of group presentations. These vary from assignment to assignment, including all aspects of theater (acting, sound, design, scenery, directing, thematic elements, etc). The class is very much what you make of it. Everyone is free to interpret the assignments as they wish, and this has made for some very interesting decisions creatively. They’re fun to watch and even more fun to participate in.

CNU facilitates this sort of learning environment. The University allows and encourages faculty to be unorthodox and experimental. College is a time to try new things, and with thoughtful and creative professors, students are exposed to just as many new things in the classroom as out.

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