Heather Connelly Lefkowitz

Hello! I'm Heather - a college teacher, writer, and sometimes performer in Nashville, Tennessee.

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About me

I am a Lecturer in the Department of Human & Organizational Development at Peabody CollegeVanderbilt University.

My scholarly interests are primarily focused on contextual education – that is, on preparing students for multi-dimensional learning experiences that integrate instruction and reflection with opportunities for service, professional development, and formation at organizational sites. Put simply, contextual education provides students with a thick learning environment where they can construct meaning based on their own “real life” experiences.

 I’ve taught for years in multiple settings, subjects, and age groups, with one common thread: teaching to me is primarily an act of love. My pedagogy is grounded in creative practices, critical thinking, and experiential learning. My hope is that our classroom is culturally attentive, prioritizes curiosity, questions assumptions, and that students receive feedback that is motivating and growth-oriented.

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Writing and Reading

If I could do anything all day besides teaching, I’d sit in a quiet room (with a fan for background noise) and write fiction. Currently I’m working on a novel and some memoir pieces and probably reading ten books at once. I also write a weekly newsletter during the academic year. I’m a big proponent of morning pages- three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning.

Constructing a story — writing — is an extension of what humans do to improve the human race. To me, it’s not a selfish, congratulatory process. It’s not solving problems. It’s opening them up.
— Toni Morrison

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Sometimes performer

 In 2019 I co-produced Kodachrome at Actors Bridge Studio, where I serve on the board of directors. In 2018 I wrote and performed in Frozen Moment, a devised performance piece inspired by the #metoo movement, and I’ve also appeared in multiple productions of the Vagina Monologues and participated in Act Like a Big GRRRL circles.   In the past I’ve curated an occasional variety show, the Love Circle Variety Show Hour, with my friend Jill and I also performed improv and musical improv locally in Nashville. I’ve trained in the Meisner technique with Actors Bridge , in improv with The Second City and the Annoyance, and in clown with Kendall Cornell and Dody DiSanto.

I’m interested in applied improvisation as a pedagogical method.

Fun facts: once I did a TedX talk. It was challenging. I also talked to Tim Gunn on the streets of midtown Manhattan about stepping out of your comfort zone - this was entirely unplanned and terribly fun.

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Various and sundry

  • I'm a Double Dore - a two-time graduate of Vanderbilt University. I received my undergraduate degree in history and came back to complete a Master of Divinity at Vanderbilt Divinity School. 

  • I am currently both a teacher and a student, as I’m working to complete my EdD. Eventually.

  • I’m licensed to perform marriages and my goal is to officiate as many weddings as possible for former students. So far my total is zero, although I have officiated the ceremonies of three wonderful couples who are all still married.

  • In my "spare time" I love hanging out with my husband, embarrassing my daughter, and killing houseplants. I am not opposed to the use of explanation points , I believe emojis are a valid form of self-expression, and I’m a big fan of dresses over pants.

Contact me to learn more.

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