Category Archives: 2.2 Education Systems & Prof. Responsibilities

Drama TDT – Bringing a lesson to life.

Drama may be stereotypically presumed as a group of people on stage following a script and acting it out. However, drama in the curriculum is rather diverse, and focusses more on the simple elements, such as understanding body language and emotions. Drama has also been said to enhance other areas in the curriculum (Woolland, 2010, p41), for example, health and wellbeing. For me, children generally expressing themselves is very important as it contributes well to our mental health. Participating in drama could also potentially increase confidence as children can present their work in front of others. This can also encourage meeting CfE outcome EXA 2-01a: I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and being part of an audience for other people’s presentations/performances.

Within the video, “Teaching Drama: A Structured Approach”, the drama facilitators had a clear structure to their lesson. They found that having a warm up, exploring some drama conventions, then having an evaluation discussion at the end was an effective way to teach children drama. They also had an “agreement” of “3 C’s” (communication, cooperation and concentration) and included a stimulus of photographs at the beginning to get ideas flowing. Some of the drama conventions used were still image/freeze frame, visualisation, soundscape and bodyscaping. The structure used conveys to work very well, the point in the warm up is to encourage decision making and physical activity. The stimulus is used to develop ideas and the drama conventions are great ways to explore different elements of drama. They also allow questions to develop and open up the discussion more. Lastly, evaluation of what the children have learned in the session is a good way to not only recap on their learning, but also to let the children calm down after such a physical, exciting lesson. The lesson as a whole meets a variety of the Es and Os, including EXA 2-12a, 2-13a and 2-14a.

Assessing children through drama can be done in a variety of ways. Firstly, looking at their spacial awareness and body movements around others can be an indicator that the child understands that in order to present, we must have the appropriate space and be aware of our surroundings. Other things to look at can be:

  • Facial expressions
  • Eye contact
  • Emotions
  • Atmosphere
  • Context
  • Roles taken on

Also, it may not be a bad idea to let children assess one another, after all, it is simply peer learning and assessment, just as we would use in the classroom. It lets children get a better understanding when they watch another child who is maybe doing a different facial expression or body position which is more appropriate to the context, which can inspire a change of their previous thought.

Drama is a great way for children to express themselves, can be applied to other areas of the curriculum, and can also help gain more confidence in children’s performance and expressive arts. If we could teach history though interactive learning, for example, acting out an important historic event, why shouldn’t we? It can promote and enhance learning if children are out of their seats and getting creative and involved instead of sitting on seats listening to the teacher talking, resulting in a better classroom atmosphere for all.

 

References:

TeachFind. (2006). Teaching Drama: A Structured Approach. [online]. Available at: http://archive.teachfind.com/ttv/www.teachers.tv/videos/ks1-ks2-drama-teaching-drama-a-structured-approach.html [Accessed 22 January 2019]

Woolland, B. (2010). Teaching Primary Drama. Ebooks Corporation.

Dance can be for Everyone!

A rush of anxiety flowed through me at a velocious pace when I heard our workshop was going to be on dance. I stereotypically pictured a dance workshop with mirrored walls and a choreographed routine that we would have to memorise and repeat. I recalled on memories from school where I was a hesitant child and didn’t enjoy joining in on active sessions or expressive arts, unless it was art such as painting and drawing. However, I persisted and rid the negative thoughts and memories from school, and went into the workshop with an open mind.

After the workshop, I was surprised and overwhelmed by how much I actually enjoyed it! It especially made me realise that everyone can dance, and it doesn’t have to be a strict routine where only those who are fluent in dance are able to greatly participate. With being a shy child, I wasn’t one to express myself through things such as dance, or generally any exercise, so taking part in the workshop was a significant step for me in my self confidence, and not just in my studies.

I have found that dancing is a great way for children to release anxiety and gain confidence which can contribute to other areas of the curriculum, not just the expressive arts. It can encourage critical thinking in children which they can apply to things such as their maths problems or creative writing, for example. If I were to use the lesson plan kindly given by Eilidh Slattery, I would be certain that children were working together in teams, thinking about sequencing and creating solutions to problems. All of these skills can be applied to other areas of the curriculum as well as in every day life. I haven’t realised until now the affect these types of activities can have on children, as these are well needed skills which are being taught through dance.

After reading ‘Get Scotland Dancing’, a Scottish Government policy by Creative Scotland, I gained a better understanding as to why we have to get more people dancing. Key findings from the Scottish Health Survey reported that although 70-72% of children under 10 meet the Recommended Physical Activity (RPA), this figure reduces to 50% as the children progress into teenagers (age 13-15). The RPA for children is 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Some schools can only stretch in an hour a week for a PE session, which can be considered unacceptable, as in this generation, a lot of children are going home to play on their online devices and therefore are less likely to be playing actively outdoors. Get Scotland Dancing managed to achieve 546 dance events (and 74,636 participants!) with 448 of those events being over Scotland. With how important exercise and keeping active is, I’d like to think this was a great achievement.

I chuckled at the title of, “What? Me? Teach Dance?” by Russell-Bowie (2013), as I felt it was fitting to myself. With having no dance background, I found this article interesting to read, with its conclusions being that nationality backgrounds may play a fair part in teachers’ abilities and willingness to teach dance. In South Africa, participants were much more confident in teaching dance to their classes and strongly agreed/agreed that they had a stronger background in dance compared to those from Western countries. This was because they have been raised around dance from birth and it is a cultural thing for them to take part in. 34% of all participants said they did not enjoy or feel confident teaching dance, and only 20% said they felt they had at least a “good” dance background. If we continue to increasingly teach dance in the UK, wouldn’t we gradually find it more accepting and enjoyable to teach?

Through the workshop, I have been shown that dance can certainly be for everyone. I would like to go into schools with this attitude to show the children who are as shy as I was, that dance can be fun and refreshing! All it takes is some effort and an open mind, and the best thing to do is to give it a go and join in! It does not have to be a complicated, hard-to-remember sequence or a daunting performance, but just an enjoyable, creative lesson and routine for children to express themselves, and to give an opportunity to work on different skills and abilities. I am particularly glad that I had the chance to take part in this workshop, as it was very insightful, and I now feel a great amount more confident with teaching the expressive art of dance.

References:

Creative Scotland. (2014). Get Scotland Dancing: A Literature Review[online]. Scottish Government. Available at: https://www.creativescotland.com/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/26149/GSDLitReviewv2.pdf (Accessed on: 12 January 2019)

Creative Scotland: Get Scotland Dancing, 2014. Phase Two. Evaluation Report. [online]. Scottish Government. Available at: https://www.creativescotland.com/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/31626/Get-Scotland-Dancing-Phase-2-Evaluation-Report.pdf (Accessed on: 12 January 2019)

Russell-Bowie, Deirdre, E. (2013). What? Me? Teach Dance? Background and confidence of primary preservice teachers in dance education across five countries. Research in Dance Education. V(14.3). P216-232.