David is currently an adjunct theatre professor at Union College, and adjunct professor and guest director at Siena College. David is also a teaching artist, and the Capital Region Liaison for the Brooklyn-based Stages on the Sound providing semester long performing arts residencies in elementary schools throughout the Capital Region. David received his MFA in Directing from Temple University.
The great teachers mentored me through a process of self-discovery, building an unbridled curiosity in my nature, and ultimately setting me on a fulfilled path of intellectual exploration. As such, I try to engage my students in a respectful, fun and intellectual dialogue. I am receptive to their needs, and attempt to answer their questions thoughtfully, but relentlessly train them to hone their skills at inquiry. Theatre practice is all about asking the right questions.
I’m interested in developing pedagogy that confronts our twenty-first century multiculturalism. I’m attracted to theatre that is conceptually postmodern, particularly works with a (hopefully theatrical!) decentered subjectivity that addresses those issues. In light of the productions I have chosen to direct, and the complex world we live in today, I put an emphasis on social education as a primary tool of the theatre. I challenge my students to find parallels in extant works that can be revealed in our contemporary lives. I challenge them to illuminate the mythic that exists in all great works of dramatic literature. The beauty of myth is that it transcends cultural boundaries by addressing our common experience.
I embrace every student’s individuality. This enables me to develop shared goals and individualize my lesson planning to their respective strengths. I believe in a consistency in curriculum-based learning balanced with one’s own lesson planning. I’m very adept at personalizing pedagogy on a level that works for the student and situation, while taking into account protocols established by the prevailing academic situation.
I believe that if I can successfully teach across disciplines, or rather, take an interdisciplinary approach with my students, it can free up tension of the unknown. Not only does this give the student a sense that I’m really interested in who they are, – and I genuinely am – but also gives the framework by which I can tweak my lesson plan to exploit their unique talents. It also, more importantly, allows me to help them set specific goals for the semester with corresponding or parallel proficiencies they may need to improve upon, and that a theatre class may easily accommodate.
I value my students’ individuality, their uniqueness, their cultural and ethnic diversity and their learning aptitude, and strive to create a firmly inclusive environment that will involve each and every one of them. In this way, I gain their trust, as well as free them up to trust their fellow classmates and vise-versa. I endeavor to create safe environments where students can take exceptional risks to explore their creative lives. I believe as a teacher, I must cater to the varying potentials, needs, as well as assets of all my students. In doing so, I feel I’ll have established an optimal environment for learning, comprehension and enlightenment.
I reentered academics because of my devotion to the discipline and craft of theatre, and the opportunities that it offers me in terms of teaching and scholarship. Over time, I’ve developed an affinity for teaching emerging artists. As a director, it comes with the territory; understanding must come from within. Like an actor, a student is someone that merely needs help locating it. As a teacher, my task is to facilitate that process.
Recent Teaching Successes...
David's production of Endgame at SIena College was recently evaluated by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Here's what Stefanie Sertich, the he new Co-Chair of KCACTF Region 1 had to say about the production:
"One of the things I love as the new Co-Chair of KCACTF Region 1 is experiencing what our colleagues are achieving in our region and spending time getting to know such talented students. Siena College's production of "Endgame", directed by David Girard literally blew me away. Incredible. Professional. Insightful. Siena, you did it again!!! What this student cast and crew was able to accomplish through trust, commitment and continuous curiosity was astounding. And it's ENDGAME! To me, such a hard text. Congratulations to all!"
This production has also been invited to perform at the Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, NY as an Outreach project through Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison. Hudson Link provides college education, life skills and re-entry support to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women to help them make a positive impact on their own lives, their families and communities, resulting in lower rates of recidivism, incarceration and poverty. To find out more visit their website.
Stages on the sound residency
Check some highlights from the Stages on the Sound Residency Program.
4th Grade Stop-Motion films by St. Mary's Academy in Hoosick Falls, NY
4th Grade Stop-Motion films by St. Mary's Institute in Amsterdam, NY
4th Grade Stop-Motion films by All Saints Catholic Academy in Albany, NY