Hello, class! Hello, Dick!

Misha Khan

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Photo Courtesy of Dick GibsonA Professor Profile of Dr. Gibson

Dr. Richard “Dick” Gibson has been an English professor at Jacksonville University since 1988 and seems to have truly enjoyed his time as a teacher. His teaching methods may be unusual for some but students learn something in his class one way or another; whether they want to or not.

Gibson started off as a psychology major at Stetson University in his hometown of DeLand, Florida.

“I wanted to learn about people,” said Gibson. “But in my psychology 101 class I did nothing but learn about rats and boxes. There were no people to study about.”

After taking an English course he was convinced about what he wanted to do with his life and changed his major to English.

“I completed all of my graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and my main degree is in Shakespeare simply because I really liked the professor who taught those classes and I wanted to continue with him.”

Almost every English teacher loves Shakespeare. However, Gibson’s love for one of the greatest English writers of all time is a bit more intense. His classes are taught in a very unique way through acting out the plays, sword fighting, shouting out Shakespearean insults, and at times even singing. It may sound like all play and no studies but Gibson has his motives for teaching the way he does.

“There are three reasons why I do this,” Gibson said. “All of Shakespeare’s works were meant for acting. That’s how people saw these plays and that is how you are supposed to learn about them.”

According to Gibson the best way to learn Shakespeare is to perform it, but there are other reasons for incorporating acting in his classes.

“I remember when I was learning I remembered better when I did something,” he said. “I am sure I heard some great lectures but I can’t remember them now. No matter how old you get you will always remember that sword fight in class. And the third reason I do it is because it is fun.”

Gibson’s classes are entertaining but not for everyone. He says that there is always someone who drops his classes because there are students who don’t get what they are looking for.

“It happens once every semester someone drops my class because they can’t do the group work and the class is demanding.”

The classes are not always about playing. Gibson has a tough syllabus to keep up with which does require time and a tough analysis of the books students read.

“The study questions I give out are pretty in-depth and I do think that my classes are a bit more demanding and when students leave my class they are happy and have learned something.”

For his current and past students, Dick remains a highly recommended teacher. His classes are not only entertaining but teach literature that remains with you for a long time. His future plans include returning back to his real home, DeLand.

“I want to be really, really active,” he said. “I have an old house in DeLand because I love old houses and I will be highly involved in the wildlife protection program. I am almost done with my book. It’s called ‘Speaking and acting Shakespeare’ and it will revolutionize the field of diction.”

Gibson has a few more works under his belt that he plans to put out once he is retired. It will be a sad time indeed when his students watch him leave next year. Richard Gibson is that one-of-a-kind teacher.

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