5. Extreme Puppet Theater as a Tool for Writing Pedagogy
Mark Spitzer [+]
University of Central Arkansas
First published in Writing & Pedagogy, this chapter extrapolates on creative writing pedagogy theories of Dr. Stephanie Vanderslice and Dr. François Camoin that speak to the transformative possibilities of engaging in writing activities that make learning an experience. I then segue to the concept of “Extreme Puppet Theatre,” which I regularly practice. I explain how this technique, which I developed in American literature and environmental courses, can be applied to all educational levels and diverse disciplines of education. The criteria for grading dramatic productions with puppets that students create in group situations is discussed, especially in regard to eco- and/or political issues that provide sophisticated focuses for mock talk-show dialogues which provide alternatives to standard argumentative approaches. Writers Edward Abbey, Rachel Carson, Gary Snyder and Sam Shepard are discussed and provided as examples of ways to approach this specific approach. Saturday Night Live skits are used as models for group work.