I have been back at work now, practising in the class room for a couple of weeks.
Each lesson , what ever the objective : has started with physical and energetic warm-ups. Not that I am adverse to that.
I like the shock that the registers on some of my students faces at the fact that I am nearly 4 times their age so there is no excuse for them to be slacking. Most of my students actively participate and it starts the lesson off well, acclimatising the group to the weather of the class room.For some and it’s the ones you know who hate PE, or those who already at a young age are unfit and overweight and are already in that rock and a hard place of being at the mercy of their weight but if they can just start to try then they can get that bit fitter but trying seems so hard. So mental as well as physical barriers.
I have banged on a lot about terminology the past fortnight.
One of the things I take away from all this is the spin that can be used in the classroom with new terminology. A new perspective takes away some of the fear of ‘performing ‘ in the drama room.
I have really looked at how the preparation for assessments can be broken down. The starting point in the class to begin work by allowing them to collaborate and just getting them to get to their first ATTEMPT.
The questioning is really helpful here as I get my students to investigate why I have chosen this word to describe what they are aiming for. And pretty quickly the responses I am getting is that they are just ‘ Trying ‘stuff out. They are ‘having a go’ at stuff. I am careful to tell them that this is the ideal time to try stuff out and maybe that first is attempt turns out to be the performance but at the moment they are playing with their ideas.
The next lesson from the attempt has been for them to discover what should happen next?
The next thing is the Presentation. A development from attempt but not a performance, certainly not a finished piece. I have been asking my students why I am not calling it a performance. The feedback that has been given comes from the chance to Improve, to practise and a phrase I liked as it could work two ways was to ‘fix’ the ideas. One might mean to consolidation those moments that work and of course to rectify the moments that don’t. The idea that it is a presentation still infers that they are just delivering ideas. Nothing is cast in stone and still working progress.
Now my students have been working on their various projects for a couple of weeks and we really need to start shaping their ideas and giving them some clarity. This is whole class collaboration in the sense of using Boal’s Forum Theatre. The students starting to understand they can direct the scene, even take a part to give a character some energy, focus or life. Here comes the focus and re-evaluation, the opportunity for others to give guidance, directors to emerge and for the audience to ask for clarity in the ideas that the groups are trying to present. This structure already has merit within the class. My groups are having fun but they are also seeing that there is a process starting to unfold. I have had really good engagement from the students too. Maybe the content of the proposal of what they are trying to do is a benefit, but I think that a refocus on the words used has taken the pressure off, they don’t feel like they are acting or performing – just trying stuff out!