Psycho-Physical Actor Training for Students with Specific Learning Differences

Psycho-physical Actor Training for Students with Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs) – Dyslexia and Dyspraxia – is a research-led development of teaching and learning

Led By: Daron Oram, Senior Lecturer – BA Acting (Collaborative and Devised Theatre) and MA/MFA Voice Studies.

This project has investigated the impact of psychophysical training techniques on the learning experiences of actors with SpLDs dyslexia and dyspraxia. This research-led development of teaching and learning has drawn on the experiences of neurodiverse dyslexic and/or dyspraxic students on the BA Acting Collaborative and Devised Theatre Course as a case study, specifically their experiences of the psychophysical approaches used in voice, movement and acting classes. The project has identified a non-neurodiverse bias held within traditions of psychophysical training and has developed, in response to this, a model of teaching and learning that proposes a series of good practice principles to enable an inclusive pedagogy that does not discriminate against neurodiverse students.

Developments suggested by this model include:

  • developing opportunities for peer teaching;
  • enhancing strategies for discussion and feedback;
  • revising the use of imagery within teaching;
  • incorporating a more active approach to goal setting and review in line with the psychological principles of ‘deliberate practice’;
  • engaging students with an understanding of their preferred learning styles and modalities
  • more active use of learning technologies.

Research findings have been disseminated to teaching staff at Central and have been used to revise the voice curriculum on the BA (Hons) Acting (CDT) course. Comments from students engaging with the revised curriculum include:

I always walk away feeling I’ve learnt something.

I know if I’ve not understood something, in the next session, we will approach it in a different way and I’ll go “oh I’ll try that or this”.

I’ve enjoyed the way we started with principles from the first lesson, taking the time we needed to move slow.

Dissemination and Publication

Public Events

Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Actor Training – A Symposium, at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, 29 April 2017

A series of international seminars will take place at Hong Kong School of Performing Arts, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Sydney.

Public Presentation at HEA Inspire – Sharing Great Practice in Arts and Humanities Teaching and Learning National Conference 2016.

More than coloured paper: tales of psychophysical training from a dyslexic and dyspraxic perspective. Presented at international Voice and Speech Trainers Association; Singapore, August 2017.

Publications

Two articles are currently in process:

More than Coloured Paper: The impact of psychophysical training on actors with SpLDs – Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

More than Coloured Paper: Adapting psychophysical training to meet the needs of actors with SpLDs – Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

This project has been funded in part through The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama's Targeted Teaching Excellence Fund.

Related links

 

Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Actor Training – A Symposium