What’s in a Pedagogy?

In talking with Master Teacher Andrea Caban about Knight-Thompson Speechwork and how we teach it, I’ve begun to reflect on what a pedagogy is. Erik and Phil have both written extensively on the pedagogy of Knight-Thompson Speechwork, its origins and its principles. But Andrea and I have also been talking about its other aspects, the aspects that are slipperier to write about, harder to enumerate, eagerer(?) to avoid lists and charts and diagrams. We bandied about the ideas of “hard” versus “soft” teaching principles, or maybe the “form” versus the “content” of the pedagogy. That distinction got me thinking about […]

Time Put In

I’m looking forward to 2016 KTS Teacher Certification in June. Not only will I have the opportunity to discuss the intricacies of human communication and speech with exceptionally intelligent and good-looking people, but I’ll also get to visit New York for the first time in several years and decide which organs I will trade on the black market for a Hamilton ticket. One of the foundational concepts I’m looking forward to discussing this summer is one that I’ve had to manage frequently in my career as an accent coach in Los Angeles: time. Namely, the assumptions we make about time […]

An Apology For Rabbit Holes

Laura Barrett http://laurabarrett.co.uk/Alice-in-Wonderland   It’s true, I do find myself apologizing for my tendency to wander off topic, picking up some apparently tangential thread and tracing it back to the extent of my knowledge on the subject. However, I’m not planning on making an apology of that sort here, but rather an apologia, or defense of the pedagogical value of departing from the outline. Apology, by the way, comes to English from Greek (and subsequently Latin) apologia, which breaks down pretty easily into apo– “from” + logos “word” or “speech.” The original meaning was a spoken defense, and that meaning […]

Accent Coach Apologizes for Offending an Entire People! Read all about it!

In 2011 I was approached by an online “how-to” site to do a series of 2-5 minute “teaser” accent videos. The sort where you learn a few key features of an accent and you’re on your way. Great for the actor who has an audition in a few hours and needs a little something to point them in the right direction. The company asked me to make a list of all the accents I could do in a one-day recording session. They said, “You know, like 30 or 40.” O.      K.   Eager to please, I made as […]

Why the Detail Model Had to Go

(Roots, part III) The teaching of any prescriptive speech pattern as some sort of basis or ‘neutral’ will inevitably encode privilege and elitism, alienate actors from nonstandard speech backgrounds, and actively impede the acquisition of accurate and detailed perception and the ability to subtly adapt one’s own speech and accent.     It’s been a ridiculous fourteen months since I last posted. Even worse, at the end of that post, I teased the next part of the story, promising to write soon about Why the Detail Model Had to Go. Better late than never, I suppose. This is that post. […]

Roots, Part II

  The other day I wrote a bit about some of the intellectual and linguistic foundations of Knight-Thompson Speechwork. Today I’d like to write a bit about how Dudley found his way from there to here, as it were, and a bit about why KTS-based speech classes spend so much more time on vocal tract explorations, play, and teaching (the entirety of) the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) than traditional speech classes do.   When Dudley trained as an actor, at Yale Drama in the early 1960s, there wasn’t much in the way of speech training as we’d recognize it today. […]

Roots

I’ve been thinking a lot this fall about the roots of this work. Unitarian Universalists like to talk about roots and wings. Roots ground you, connect you to where you’ve come from and what’s important. They form your support system and give you structure, organization, stability, and sustenance. Wings carry you aloft. They are those things that inspire you, that lift you up and out into the world and into ever widening circles of possibility. Individuals, families, and communities all need both roots and wings to flourish and thrive[1]. I think rich, coherent bodies of work, like Knight-Thompson Speechwork, also […]

    This is the KTSpeechblog We have so many avenues for communicating to a wider audience and amongst ourselves; what is it that a blog can do that isn’t handled by Facebook, or by Vastavox or by countless other speech/accent/phonetics blogs? Our hope is that this is a place where an idea can be proposed, and articulated with a little care, and the members of this community can weigh in to discuss it. It will be up to our blog authors to set out questions and challenges that can stimulate a conversation, but should also be a place where people who have […]

The Name of Action

  I studied acting with the great Earle Gister some years back. He was a brilliant man, and his way of teaching and speaking about acting resonated deeply with me. It felt, at the time, like the missing piece of my equipment as an actor. After working with Earle, I still had plenty left to learn as an actor—I don’t think we ever get to the end of that particular road—but I felt somehow complete in a way I hadn’t before. In every acting job A.E. (After Earle), I knew what to do. It’s not that I was never lost […]

Complexity nourishes art

I taught my first classes of the new year this week, so I’ve been thinking a lot about Dudley. I miss him tremendously, as so many of us do. But at the same time, I feel incredibly fortunate not just to have known him and learned so much from him, but also to be in a position where I get to continue learning from him by teaching his work. Phil and I made a fascinating discovery in August, while we were teaching Experiencing Speech in Irvine. It was a small discovery, just a tiny matter of terminology, really, but an […]