File this under the heading of : auto mechanics. No, it is not strictly speaking about learning. This one is about my alter ego. I have a good friend that tells me we all put on multiple characters in our lives – and certainly the person I am at work is fairly different than the person I am at home. Even in my job, I play different roles. Sometimes I’m the “envisioner,” other times I play the role of “cog in the wheel.” I have my leader face, I have my good team player face. I have a face for my customers, I have a face for my colleagues. The are not vastly different (this is not All About Eve), but the nuances and shading might vary a bit.
So in truth I have many alter egos. Auto mechanic is not one of them. 🙂 I am, however, an actor. In fact, if you ask me what I am, I may very well tell you that I am an actor first, and a learning professional second. It depends on my mood. So today I am an actor. I do Shakespeare. Yes, I’m a Shakespeare nerd. Right now, I am playing the future Queen of England in Henry V.
A lot of times, people ask me how I learn my lines. Learning lines is rote memorization. With Shakespeare, it’s easy. (really!) Shakespeare has a beat, it is like learning the words to a song.
In the learning world, we talk about not needing to memorize facts, data, information any more. After all, we can look it up later – it’s all at our fingertips. Not so with memorizing your lines. You gotta put that script down sometime, and the sooner the better. There is still a place in the actor’s world for repetition and memorization. I have a process – I read them, I speak them aloud, I write them out word for word, I write and speak at the same time, I record my cues and my lines and put them on my iPod. It’s a pain in the butt, but it must be done.
Because… you can only truly become the character and be a part of the show after you don’t have to think about the words anymore. I saw an interview with Robert Downey Jr., in which he said that he writes his lines, then he takes the first letter of each word and makes them an acronym, and once he can recite THAT, he’s ready to develop the character arc. Holy crap! I will never go that far, but I totally agree with him.
Back to learning – I see a parallel with the idea that it’s the CONTEXT and APPLICATION of the skills, data, information, process, that really creates the learning. In a very similar way, it is the work on relationships, on character, on telling the story and creating the mood that really makes the show. It’s the context around the words. It’s the application of the words!
I see parallels all around me. Do you?