The Great Puppet Debate!
Recently I have been in a lot of conversations, with teachers that say “puppets are out of style, and there is no use for them in today’s classroom.” Of course, me being a long time puppeteer and collector of puppets, I have to disagree. So this leads us to The Great Puppet Debate of 2011.
In today’s world of exploding technology, you might be tempted to get rid of any teaching method that doesn’t plug in. But wait, before you do, hear me out!
Did you know approximately 8 million people tune into Sesame Street every week? Sesamestreet.org
Did you know Sesame Street is the number one program recalled by mothers of children ages 6 months to 11 years who were asked to name any children’s program? Sesamestreet.org
Did you know Sesame Street was created in 1966? That’s over 40 years of puppetry entertainment, and they are still growing strong! Sesamestreet.org
Not only is there Sesame Street, but other numerous TV commercials, Television Shows, and Professional Live Entertainment with puppets as their main characters.
My conclusion with knowing these facts is Puppetry is not dead, out of style, or even irrelevant.
So, what is killing Puppetry? I believe it is… please don’t hit me, teacher laziness. Puppets take a lot of work to be done well. It’s super easy to plug something in, push play, then sit back and watch. Puppets on the other hand, you must practice to perform. In today’s world of more and more video, kids become less and less impressed. Videos cannot interact with children. Puppets can talk, have fun with, and touch kids. “The reality is that kids and adults still respond better to puppets than to almost any other creative teaching method.” Karl Bastian – www.kidology.org
How do we do puppets well, so people will watch/learn? Practice! With any type of teaching method it has to be done with excellence. No matter if it is Magic, Juggling, a simple Video Que, or Puppets. You must do it with excellence to keep their attention.
My conclusion, I don’t think puppetry is dead. I think the “art of puppetry” is lost. So go pull those puppets out of their boxes, brush their hair, and learn the basics of good puppetry. Then start teaching!