The new role of the teacher: the educator artist

The moralistic character and the educational role, as conditions  «sine qua non» of theater, make this art a privileged means of  public manipulation, consciousness forming agent, enriching its purely artistic nature with an equally important social dimension.
If these general findings focus on a particular theater category that is the theater for young spectators and especially theater as part of the educational process, it becomes even easier to understand the role they can play in shaping the consciousness of young generations.

But the interface of theater as a cultural object by providing education as requested schooling and various education activities that characterize the educational system as a whole, goes through the role of the teacher, making him the sole mediator and provider of the educational theatrical message.
This is exactly what is wanted: the determination that the different role the teacher can undertake in the contact between the youth and the theater, in shaping the consciousness of students / young viewers through personal communication with the knowledge, in the form of a theatrical spectacle. This new role of the teacher, which is not to abolish, but to enrich the already known pedagogical teaching systems and  challenge his profession, will occupy us next.

The mission of the teacher, at any level of the educational system, is to be an active medium that will allow as much as possible integrated communication between the desired –by- the trainees knowledge and provided -by -the -trainers knowledge. Therefore,  education  is the indisputable referential point and sense of the educational process, as it is structured and activated each time within the framework of its function. Relying on his professional training, pedagogy, teaching experience, adaption of the theoretical knowledge to the content of the objective conditions, the teacher tries, as far as possible, to transfer  knowledge and information, experience and data from over fields of sciences and knowledge to his students.

At the same time he aims at general education and cultivation of psycho-spiritual world of the young students in ways and methods determined by scientific and specific disciplines such as pedagogy and psychology, and their multiple individual specifications.

This effort, sometimes more and sometimes less successful, is determined by factors sociologically measurable [ideology, social system, values ​​and standards, collective horizon etc. expectations, which as such] often subvert the methodological standards and create mismatches between the ethically correct and objectively feasible.

As a result,  what frequently arises is the “crisis” and “failure” of both the specifically applied educational standards and the  special modes of education, and the whole education system in general. One of the reasons that this leads to this failure is the gradual, increasingly growing deviation of young people from reading and studying. The book, as reading, finds an increasingly restraining position in life.

Their contact with the knowledge, whether it is general or specific, or reduced to the dimension of theoretical supervision or practical application, passes often through different, modern channels, directly related to the fact that has shaped the modern world. The image, as displayed by the TV and Video, the screen of the electronic calculation and painted illustration of comic increasingly replaces speech. The visual text widens its referentiality, with a corresponding reduction of affirmative recorded speech, causing the message to be perceived in a rather pictorial or verbal dimension.

As a result, the gradual deviation of young people from the process of book study arises, making reading strange while viewing it in the form of any pictorial transcript is more intimate. Therefore, it has been noticed, that representative texts of world classical literature and theater, are becoming less accessible to young people through reading, while the most frequent contact with them is through television and their production in several episodes of series.
This fact is an irreversible condition, due to the data of the modern technological world.

The universal heritage, which was highly approached through experiential, personal relationship with the study of classical antiquity and the humanism of romantic idealism and realistic pragmatism, is at risk of being marginalized and driven to extinction if there is no awareness of the new reality and  we do not take measures to deal with it.

Among those who will play a key role in the formation of another modern response and approach to the universal cultural tradition, is the conscious, systematic convert of the written text to text image, that is “Dramatization” and “theatricality ‘ of literature.

This new communication status of the new generations with the masterpieces of the human mind, can be carried out through  the substitution of narrative by  the” theatricality “of the text, so as they can be perceived more as a spectacle rather than mere reading.

This new communication link is of particular importance when it is seen in the context of the educational system and school, as an organized field providing knowledge and education, especially in its early stages, as outlined in primary and secondary education. According to this, the philological and literary subjects which are presented with a traditional approach, criticism and evaluation through valid theoretical schemes and pedagogical methods of any origin, can be approached in a different perspective, that is through theatre, by transforming their words into dramatic text with dialogue, action, conflicts, drama and characters. This will be delivered through their theatricality and the incarnation of the action and events of persons acting with the mechanisms and techniques drawn from the theater being based on the concepts of “acting” and “theatrical role.”
Students, who in this way come to approach a literary text, but also any other discipline [history, incident, social event, physical condition, etc.], are not limited to merely reasonable valuation, formalistic understanding or formatted and descriptive dealing with it, but they are open to different ways, more or less composed, more or less successful, and proceed to virtualize the lesson within the classroom.

Trough utilizing data and drama techniques, the curriculum of the course is converted from a verbal discipline into a sensory -perceived situation, which is experientially rather mentally accessible by students. They, in turn, approach the subject , which is taught in a way not formalistic, affirmative or descriptive, and penetrate the deeper content, the situations and the data described, the psychology of acting persons and the motives of their actions mentioned in a direct way, staff and document that contributes to the comprehensive knowledge of the requested.

The person who will make this pictorial conversion of the text, will guide the participants [students], animate the action, cause the stimulus for further reflection, stimulate the attention, in order to attain the educational goal is the teacher, and the educator in general, who, in this way, is called to entrust to a different new, role which is supplementary and additional to the one he traditionally has.

The teacher proceeds to strengthening and enriching of any methodological teaching system with new data arising from theater, aided by the advantages that the method of dramatization offers, without disclaiming the teaching methodology and experience gained through specialized studies and practical course of his work. He proceeds with the cooperation and active participation of students to create a new educational relationship and reality that promotes the science of pedagogy, renews teaching methods and creates new data on the communicative relationship between teacher and student.

The teacher, especially one in primary education, accepting the reality as it has been created in the modern post-industrial society of information and entertainment, exceeds the classic system by adopting modern data, in order to respond to new conditions created in education successfully.

Through dramatization that he attempts not only in literature but also in any other fields [history, geography, religious, etc.], he goes beyond any previous standard of teaching and gives a new perspective to the mission. This happens through the fundamental understanding and assimilated knowledge of the theater being a dramatic text with action, plot, conflict, situations and characters, the visualization of the textual recorded speech in specific space and time with the help of theatrical role and bidirectional communication between actors and spectators.

This new mediation role of “teacher-artist” which teacher is asked to undertake, not only limited in the context of the course which is taught in the classroom, but also expanded in the case of theatrical performance, in which the teacher works the same time [especially] as director and dramaturge. With the help of students and potential cooperation of other actors in the school, he creates a theatrical spectacle, belonging to the wider artistic and cultural activities of the school.
The teacher is asked once again to exceed its traditional role and develop artistic properties which originate from the multiple aspects of the theater, both as a dramatic text, and mainly as a stage act. In principle, he works as dramaturge, who critically analyzes the work [after keeping those factors which led to this option into account], identifies the drama, highlights the ideological content, pedagogical appropriateness and artistic value, creating the appropriate stage of theoretical framework supporting performance. He locates the correspondence between  the play’s messages and its own era and highlights the referentiality of the world of values ​​enclosed therein, to the consciousness of students-spectators in this show.

Apart from this first positive character of mediation, through which the teacher attempts to bring young people in contact with the texts of world classical literature and theater, the teacher should play a more complex role in the context of postmodernism. He should create his own personal adaptation based on known standards, suggesting composed  inter-textual and inter-cultural characters, combining the archetypal data of each subject, with the modern needs of the students and school society which he exclusively refers to.
In this way, the typical role of the teacher as an educational  institution is expanded to a more complete medium of educational and cultural development through new generations.

Along with this, there is is the role of the director, which then comes to implement and complete the previous stage. In this phase, the educator is entrusted with a different mission, creating a reality outside and beyond the established knowledge and experiences.

His duty is to animate and coordinate a set, possibly heterogeneous, which should be organized, grouped and disciplined to accomplish the desired end result, the play. Any teaching experience and pedagogical methods fail to provide significant help for the successful dealing with the challenge of the new role.
In this case, the theatrical experience and the overall artistic education and training, can stand valuable partners and consultants for the correct implementation of the teacher’s intentions.

Because, what is desired is the inclusion of the theater [both curricula lesson, and artistic practice] in school activities and comprehensive aesthetic and educational recruitment, in the form of “School Theatre” according to the international terminology .

According to this meaning, the teacher certainly gives the proper artistic relevance to the product of collective creation that performs through the cooperation with the students, but he also attaches and evaluates the final effect, the play, in relation and reference to the general context, the school unit and the educational process. Those are directly involved in the artistic creation [students-actors and other factors] through the link of communication and the collective consciousness developed not only during the preparation, but also at the time of the final presentation of the play, and acquire bonds and dynamic, contributing substantially to the socialization and the realization of the aspirations of the entire school community, and the education system as a whole.
In order to accomplish this educational and artistic experience and facilitate its perception by the consciousness of students, the teacher may request assistance and cooperation of other colleagues, or persons directly connected with the educational process and embedded within its scope . In this way, an aesthetic result is attained, available simultaneously with the aesthetic focus and pedagogical relevance and facilitates treatment and education, in complete harmony and agreement with the general objectives of the school, strengthening and significantly renewing the role and mission of the teacher, who is now set to acquire new properties, those of the “artist-educator.”

In this way, the teacher initially sensitizes students with the dramatization, prepares the process of school theatrical performance and finally introduces them to the world of theater, by promoting their participation in a specifically-oriented spectacle. He is a key link between this production- consumption chain and directly links education with art. His pedagogical mission and his role as a treatment and education institution acquires new dimensions and new perspectives that complement and enhance his  traditional value, making him an irreplaceable consciousness shaping factor for young people.

So in the new 21st century school, in the educational system of the future united Europe, theater, through a  variety of traditional and more modern aspects, can play a key role in creating a new humanitarian identity to future generations, a counterweight to the excessive development of technological civilization. It can be a wonderful educational tool to thwart prejudices and develop new teaching methods, helping to create a humanitarian model for culture of the next millennium. And all this can be mediated through the educational system, therefore, through the teacher. This is the future role and the biggest challenge for the teacher.