Lights, Camera, Psyche: Using Mythic Exploration and Performance as a Conduit for Self-Discovery in Middle School Students

I have known I wanted to be a teacher since I was seven years old. Recently, as I was moving closer to achieving that dream, I began reflecting on how I can make the biggest impact on my students. As someone who grew up with access to the arts, I know how transformative they can be in a young person’s life. As Zaretta Hammond (2015) discusses in Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students, learning that involves the arts – particularly student-created art projects – deeply engages students in their learning and helps them link the learning to their lives outside of school. 

With this in mind, I decided to develop a curriculum that uses mythic exploration and the arts as a conduit for self-discovery in middle school students. The curriculum culminates with a student-created theatrical performance, and the intention is that students will learn something new about themselves through the process. 

This curriculum can be used in the classroom (it satisfies certain English-Language Arts common core standards), or could be used for an elective course or extracurricular program. 

The full curriculum, including background research and resources, is included here in the Teaching Artist Guild National Resource Library. Click the link below to read. 

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