Sean Teaches at Emerson

tracey-seanClass is in Session 

During the Fall 2016 semester, Sean Tracey once again accepted a position as a professor at Emerson College in Boston, teaching Digital Storytelling. This isn’t Sean’s first rodeo, with a history of teaching “Creativity” at Emerson as well as Jazz (Big Band) at St. Anselm’s College in New Hampshire. Sean understands how to motivate people and is experienced at unearthing the hidden potential of a student.

During an interview with Sean, he described the following inspirational story from his class. “There was 20 minutes of class left and I was prepared to dismiss everyone early because there wouldn’t be enough time to work on the in-class video storytelling project. As I was telling the class this, one student stood up and said “No, there’s still time to do it! We’ll get it done in 15 minutes.” So they split themselves into their groups and got it done.” If one can recall, school has rarely been the place to inspire extra effort to go beyond expectations. This seems to be a common behavior among Sean’s tech savvy students though, who will also be working closely with a program that helps male Boston inner city kids of color become future  teachers. Now you must be wondering how someone like Sean, a guru in marketing more than an educator,has been able to fulfill the fantasy of every teacher. It starts with a creative, yet practical philosophy that Sean has embedded into his class curriculum, which has made the difference.

In order to bring the best out of his students, Sean calls on the inspiration given to him from a favorite philosophy professor at Brown University. The idea is to throw away the textbooks and get the students involved in productive discussions and exercises you might see in a real life workplace. Students design their own assignments, share their research with their fellow students, and are critiqued not only by Professor Tracey, but also their peers.  Did I also forget to mention that there’s no note taking!

When creating and producing their video stories, students are expected to learn and show a new method of filming for each class and are never allowed to repeat any of the techniques used in previous weeks. This way each new lesson aims to build off what they’ve learned before, eventually leading to the ultimate understanding of details like lighting, voice, character, art direction, framing,and sound. Who would think that such a fun sounding curriculum could teach students skills that will actually be of use in their future endeavors. Everyone, take notes!