Category Archives: Contemporary issues

Providing a Structure to Eliminate Fear – The Drama Lesson

Drama is one of the curricular areas in which many teachers fear teaching. They don’t want to take the risk that if they bring their class onto the school stage, chaos will erupt, and behavioural management becomes more difficult to implement than ever before. With these assumptions, I ask how are we to encourage children to take risks in their learning if we are not doing so ourselves? Dickenson and Neelands write about how it could convey the need for gender mixing and space and resource management.

This video provides a form of solution that teacher’s may exhibit when planning the drama lesson, and actually turn it round into one of the most exciting moments of the timetable.

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The first step is establishing an agreement The Drama lesson should always begin with an agreement. This is a necessity, as no individual can be forced into participating. As such, a negotiation can be put in place to encourage joining in. For those pupils who might struggle to do so, using drama techniques in the classroom may be an introductory method to aid them e.g. hot seating. According to Dickenson and Neelands, there are no shortcuts to strategy management, and the issues that need solved are likely to be magnified within Drama.The lesson conveners in the video use the ‘Three C’s’. If a problem were to occur, it’s likely the child facing it is either not communicating effectively, co-operation fairly, or concentrating fully. As teachers, we must be mindful that everyone in the Drama lesson must follow the agreed contract, and that when said contract is broken, everyone should be responsible for deciding the consequence. Consistency is key. Otherwise, what is the point of the contract being in place?  Warming up is obviously where the body is prepared for the forthcoming activity. What perhaps isn’t as glaring is that the mind is also being prepared, as the participants are beginning to differentiate from the Maths lesson they just had in the classroom 15 minutes ago. The video referenced above then conveys the importance of given the children a focusto perpetuate further development. Photographs were used as a stimulus to establish a clear focus. As the children take grasp of this, an allowance for deeper thinking of initial ideas is provided. Visualisation is where the teacher tells a story as children close their eyes, translating the teacher’s words into an imaginative picture in their minds. The soundscape is where the pupils become engrossed into their environment and they can begin to share what they hear and where these noises are originating from. This can link to other areas of the curriculum e.g. geography: the different features found in various environments. The bodyscape then allows pupils to create their own structure, using nothing apart from their own and their peers bodies. No props – but still lots of room for improvisation. As the room/hall falls silent, a simple tap on the shoulder from the teacher allows the pupils to voice their feeling: what are they thinking? After a lesson of active learning (not that active has to be moving around!), it’s vital that there is time and effort made to provide an evaluation, as a calming from the physical activity. This segment may include, though not visible, a self realisation for the children. During Drama, all strengths of a given group must be used, and so children may begin to rethink their opinions on their peers.

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References – all accessed 03/02/18

Text Content:
Dickenson, R & Neelands, J. (2006) Improve Your Primary School Through Drama. Oxon: David Fulton Publishers. – Chp.3: Getting Ready for Drama.




Year One Half Done – The Moment That Made Me Think

If I was asked to describe my first semester in University, I would do so by describing it as not what I expected, but eye opening and thought provoking nonetheless. I anticipated starting my Higher Education by delving straight into the pedagogy of teaching, however instead I was obliged to undertake two interdisciplinary modules with CLD and Social Work students, along with an elective module.

I’ve heard older students compare their first semester in Education as the trek before you really get to study what you came here to do. It’s true I came here to do teaching, however it became clear to me within a few weeks that the true purpose of these modules, in my opinion, was to provide the essential groundwork for students to be successful in their respective professions.

The art of digital technology is ever-growing, and in one of the two interdisciplinary modules, ‘Values: Self, Society and Professions’, we were encouraged to make use of gigantic world that is social media – specifically Twitter. Like most people who aren’t living under a rock, I already had a Twitter account. I decided however that it would be beneficial to me to make a professional account to keep my life in education and personal life separate (these two accounts have since merged, but the story I am sharing still stands).

One day whilst I was scrolling though my timeline, a saw a tweet from Good Morning Britain’s twitter account (@GMB), where they had shared a link to a debate that had aired on the program earlier that morning. The debate was linked to ‘racist cultural appropriation’, and referred specifically to the Disney character Moana.

Linking to the interview, I made what I thought was a simple comment. I stated that I didn’t see a problem with the issue what so ever. Although I have since deleted the tweet, I remember exactly what I wrote:

“Surely it’s just children dressing up as their favourite characters? Don’t see a problem here”.

Soon after I published the tweet, I received a reply that really did catch me off guard (this account will remain anonymous). I don’t remember the exact reply, but I do recall the message it was sending – my view is my own, however that doesn’t mean we should disregard the view of an other.

Undoubtedly, there are many matters in the world that an individual may not agree with. Perhaps, like me, they hadn’t really engaged with the issue at hand, and as a consequence, didn’t stop and think that their perspective on the situation would be different than someone else’s. I didn’t even have any evidence of arguments to support my tweet. I was just making a comment that I didn’t think anything would arise from. I was wrong.






Three Powerful Words – Race, Ethnicity and Discrimination

This post is a reflection from the Values: Self Society and the Professions lecture on Tuesday 26th September 2017 with Derek Robertson.

Summary of Events

Before the lecture began, we were all asked to write down our initial thoughts on the terms Race, Ethnicity, and Discrimination. These are all terms in which although I have heard numerous times, have never really looked up or thought of concrete definitions. For example, it was only until this exercise specifically that I realised that there is actually a substantial difference between the terms ‘Race’ and ‘Ethnicity’. Upon further thoughts, I came to the conclusion that ‘Ethnicity’ is more linked to your origins/ethnic ‘group’ – who you are associated with. In Hindsight, this seems obvious, but maybe I’m only thinking that because I have that definition in my bank of knowledge now. Discrimination was the term I understood best – I thought of it as ‘thinking and showing you are superior to another group of individuals’. Having not studied History past CfE level, it was eye-opening to see how these terms were used in the wider picture – specifically in America, as this was what was covered in depth during the lecture. During the second part of the lecture, we looked at ‘patriarchy’, which I admittedly knew little about. I actually knew about the concept pretty well. however did not know the official term to label it. Of course, blatantly obvious now, this is indeed ‘patriarchy’, where men assume dominance over women.

Reflection of Thoughts

With not a great deal of knowledge in regards to the definitions, I am very happy to now have these in my head, and when it comes to professional work in the classroom, and possibly other learning environments, this is going to be extremely beneficial in allowing me to become a well-minded teacher. Of course, I am not a historian, so there were also events shown in the lecture I was not aware of such as Emmett Till and Stephen Lawrence, so these will also help better my understanding of these issues.