Myths for Mutual Pedagogy 10: Ome

It is the last class of the semester, you may be teaching 700 students in Classical Mythology or 7 students in a Graduate Seminar on Privilege and Dogmatism in Roman Philosophy, the same situation applies. Announce to the students, that before the class can begin, we must have a rehearsal in which everyone practices breathing and letting the voice come freely.

The students will be in a solemn state, ahead of Finals week and at the end of a long semester, and you ask them to stand up and walk around the classroom, very quietly, letting the sound OME come out easy and effortlessly, creating a mysterious effect. Have them do this for 30 minutes and then bring out your bongos and begin to play. At that moment, a group of Art MFA students appear out of nowhere, carrying with them a circular plastic sheet, which they position in the center of the room (if a seminar) or stage (if the large lecture class). You invite each of the students to come into the center area and do a movement: roll across the floor, or stand and stretch their arms high, or sit and rock. They will do it by themselves, being meditative in spirit.

Close your eyes. Feel the new, unexpected energy, as the classroom seems to explode. Allow yourself to subside into meditation as a new quiet is restored with nothing but the sound of 7 or 700 OMEs coming from relaxed bodies.

The class is no longer that of professor and students, but by now we are a community. We have built up a common understanding together and there is now a bond between us.

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