We read a great article on a website dedicated to helping teachers be more effective. It was about magic naturally. It began with the question, “What do Derren Brown, David Blaine and the like have to teach us about managing our classrooms?”
The answer according to teacher and magician William Lismore is a lot.
For instance, with the four words, “Are you watching closely?” the audience — a packed house or a classroom — will very likely focus and their attention will be directed at the speaker of those magic words.
We recall seeing Harry Blackstone Jr. perform live and he said, “Watch closely. What you are about to see you will remember for the rest of your life.”
Man did we watch closely and man do we remember. He floated a lit lightbulb over the audience and back to the stage. It went right over us and we could see nothing to support its flight. That memory is locked in our peanut-sized and shaped brain. Mr. Lismore provides three areas where magicians can use their skills to enrapt a classroom.
The three skills are Misdirection, Showmanship and Suggestion.
We don’t want to take away his thunder and suggest you read his essay — even if you aren’t a teacher. Magicians can learn from teachers as well.
We had a teacher in the fifth grade who could perform magic. He was fantastic. He could pull coins from the air, from behind some kids’ ears and out of their noses. Kids would pass him in the hall and ask him to pull a coin from their nose.
We think he taught home economics or physics. We don’t remember but he could do things with tissue paper and sponge balls that would blow away even an adult audience. It may have been creative writing he taught except we didn’t take creative writing in the fifth grade so it probably wasn’t that. Still, we remember him once making a kid’s head seem to disappear in a cardboard box. Everyone screamed and then he returned the head and all was fine. But you know what it is like in school, if one person gets sick, everyone gets sick and there’s a mess and an investigation.
We think it was geometry he taught. We know he used the blackboard and could make it look like he could shove the chalk up his nose and pull it out of his ear. He was a heck of a teacher.