Porvoo Campus became a playground out of necessity, not out of exhibitionist aspirations nor out of any inborn urge to cause stir and turbulence. The classrooms are simply too small for exercises involving any movement. Hence, my “corridor pedagogy” was born.
One of the most memorable corridor pedagogy sessions took place in early March, when I had the pleasure of hosting a group of Japanese students and their lecturer from Osaka Gakuin University. After having enjoyed a traditional Porvoo walking tour and lunch on Campus, the group found itself taking my Business Ballet class without any further fuzz or tedious introductions. Very soon we were already out of the classroom doing various corridor exercises: Risk-Taking Steps, Staying within your Skin and Follow the Leader, Campus thus turning into a gigantic playground. As always, we attracted some attention from those Porvoo Campus students who are not yet familiar with my kinesthetic teaching methods. “What are you doing? We also want to join your class!” You are very welcome to join my Business Ballet course, was my swift reply to the curious enquiries! Answering their question, I would say that we were practicing some very fundamental business skills, but also playing together just for the joy of playing. Echoing the founder of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, Juri Lotman, if there is no play, what is then left? Lotman viewed adult seriousness as one-dimensional, defining play as something that creates a multifaceted world of possibilities.
Seriously speaking, play also enhances creativity, a core competence for future working life. I dare to claim that creativity is not taught in theory, it is something everybody possesses in childhood but many loose once they reach the upper grades at school. However, the creative streak can be rediscovered through artistic activities such as dancing together. I often see it happen in my workshops, where students get inspired by Porvoo Campus to discover the quirky building in a three-dimensional and joyful manner. Sometimes I have called Campus architecture a fun house, as it has the same effect on people as a fun house in a Tivoli.
So back to the concept of corridor pedagogy. What on earth is it then all about? First, it is about the risk-taking body. Needless to say that it demands a lot of courage to dart into open space with open focus, that’s why I put my students to walk so much. An advanced form of risk-taking steps is risk-taking dance, an exercise the Japanese students tried out with great success as you can see in these pictures. What makes the situation especially demanding is that upon doing corridor pedagogy we often involuntarily end up having an audience and thus have to perform the exercises under the scrutinizing gaze of outsiders. So next time when you are sitting in your lecture and you happen to see us doing corridor pedagogy, you don’t need to look so astonished. We are just tuning our business bodies into high risk mode. Or alternatively, we are practicing the subtle pair exercise called “staying in your skin”.
What is then the benefit of all this? In short, I end up with students who are great performers. I rarely see my students huddle in the corner in a mousy manner when they are asked to give a presentation. My students know how to fully benefit from open space, since the risk-taking body becomes a natural reflex due to all the physical exercises we do in class. Naturally, excellent performance skills are a competitive edge in working life and the good news is that also shy people can learn the tricks for succeeding as public speakers. For those who have never come across my corridor pedagogy, you are warmly welcome to join Business Ballet for Sales and Service Excellence! No tiptoeing here – welcome to jump into space! Beam me up for business – what’s that? You’ll find out when you join my course. I hope to see you there!
Code: ENG8PO012 Business Ballet for Sales and Service Excellence
Time: Period 5, Thursday 9-11.30