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Teachers Act Up!:

A Conversation with Melisa “Misha” Cahnmann-Taylor & Mariana Souto Manning

Misha Cahnmann-Taylor and Mariana Souto-Manning are “rehearsing for the revolution” (Augusto Boal’s term) in their creative teaching. In Part One of this podcast they share with us their stories of using theatre “as a way to train new teachers, and ourselves,” as well as create democratic spaces in classrooms through “culture circles” (Souto-Manning) and poetry and the arts (Cahnmann-Taylor). Join me in learning from these inventive teachers who are committed to embodied learning and serious play for transformative learning and social change.

In Part 2 of this conversation, share with us their strategies for creating open and democratic spaces in the classroom through specific games and other techniques such as storytelling, poetry, and the arts. They share their joy at being surprised at the creative innovation of their students, whether in k-2, university level, or k-12 teachers. In doing so, they share how they bridge the theory and practice divide, value the knowledge of their students, and engage in new meaning-making for a more just world.

about our guest/s

Melisa “Misha” Cahnmann-Taylor is Professor of TESOL & World Language Program (TWLE), Dept. of Language & Literacy Education, College of Education, The University of Georgia. Her blog is

Mariana Souto-Manning is Professor of Early Childhood Education & Teacher Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Founding Co-director of the Center for Innovation in Teacher Education and Development (CITED).


American Educational Researchers Association:

M. Cahnmann-Taylor & R. Siegesmund, Arts-Based Research in Education: Foundations for Practice, 2nd Edition (New York: Routledge, 2018).

Mariana Souto-Manning, Freire, Teaching, and Learning: Culture Circles Across Contexts (New York: Peter Lang, 2010).

M. Souto-Manning, Multicultural Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom: Strategies, Tools, &Approaches (New York: Teachers College Press, 2013).

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor & Mariana Souto-Manning, Teachers Act Up! Creating Multicultural Learning Communities through Theatre (New York: Teachers College Press, 2010)

M. Souto-Manning & Jessica Martell, Reading, Writing, & Talk: Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Diverse Learners, K-2 (New York: Teachers College Press, 2016).

S. Alim & D. Paris, “What Is Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and Why Does It Matter,” in Paris and Alim (eds.), Culturally Sustained Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World (New York: Teachers College Press, 2017), 1-21.

Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism & the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 2006).

Viola Spolin, Theatre Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1986).

Viola Spolin site:

Jamy Stillman & John Lucian Beltramo, “Exploring Freirean Culture Circles & Boalian Theatre as Pedagogies for Preparing Asset-Oriented Teacher Educators,” Teachers College Record, 121, June 2019.

Teaching Proficiency Through Reading & Storytelling: