Associate professor of language and literacy education Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor, along with UGA alumna Mariana Souto Manning, a professor of early childhood education at Columbia University, co-authored the book Teachers Act Up! Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre.
The book is based on techniques the pair developed during a six-year, federally-funded program focused on recruiting and retaining bilingual teachers for public schools. During the project Souto-Manning, who received her doctoral degree from UGA in 2008, and Cahnmann-Taylor recruited and supported the development of 45 newly certified bilingual teachers as well as other educators who were advocates for social justice and democratic classrooms.
“We wanted something that really tapped into bilingual pre-service teachers’ lives and engaged the body and mind. We chose to use theater methods to help teachers ‘act up’ real-life problems and work through them as a collective group,” said Cahnmann-Taylor.
The authors have practiced the book’s theatrical strategies with pre- and in-service teachers in numerous contexts.