The lesson in the video is very clearly structured. It has an obvious beginning, middle and end for the children. This is important because it shows the pupils the purpose of the activity and helps to keep the class on task. The lesson begins with the ‘Agreement’; the confirmation of a set of rules for the class to stick to that are physically posted on the wall. I think it is interesting that a point is made about the literal poster of rules, this relates to the fact that it will be a very literal lesson, with the children presenting their ideas in a physical way. The class then take part in a ‘Warm Up’, this confirms that learning is going to occur and this is not just ‘playtime’. The ‘Focus’ of the task is then established with the children, telling them the purpose of what they are about to do, so that they can establish some context for the activities due to it’s potentially exciting and so distracting nature. Now that the starting section of the lesson is complete, the teacher moves on to the middle part. The next stage is ‘Development’, the teacher will progress with the lesson by listening to the children’s ideas and having them build upon the possibilities of what could be happening in the images they are looking at. Now they move on to ‘Visualisation’, this involves picturing the scenarios and sharing with the group what you see using the five senses. This introduces the physical element of the activity to the children. The next tests for the children are ‘Soundscape’ and ‘Bodyscape’. They will now be moving around and interacting with one another through movement and sound. Expressing both actions and emotions. The next element is crucial; ‘Performace’. This is a key outcome of teaching drama, the kids must understand how to convey their story to others, but in turn how to understand the ideas of their peers. The performances may be instructed by the teacher using ‘Frozen Scenes and Thought Tracking’. ‘Frozen Scenes’ involve the pupils using their bodies to represent objects and characters to create a story line with differing still images. ‘Thought Tracking’ simply means for the teacher to go around the scene and tap particular students on the shoulder, asking them to vocalise what they imagine their object to sound like or their character to be thinking. Possibly the most key element of this whole class is the very end portion; ‘Evaluation’. The class teacher will talk with the students about what they have learned, why they think they have learned it and what they hope to do next time. It is also important to end with this task as it is great ‘cool down’ time, the children have burned off some energy and now they need to return to a resting state appropriate for the classroom. I like this structure of separate instructions that still flow well together to create one end product, almost like a recipe for cooking. It keeps children focused and engaged, whilst maintaining that fun, energetic element too.
Nikki mentioned an activity that she did with one of her classes that involved emotions. The children had to use facial expressions to show how they felt about certain elements of life. For example; vegetables or chocolate, and maths or games. This was a very simple task, just done standing up in the classroom with no extra objects or materials. This was intriguing to me as I had never thought of drama in this way before, this is it being integrated into the everyday teachings at desks, and also children’s personal lives and what they do at home. It can be so easy to incorporate drama into English, history or even maths. I feel much more confident about teaching Drama, even just in day-to-day discussions, after participating in this first workshop and watching this video.
I feel that you would know a child had met the outcomes for ‘Listening and Talking’ if they often request to watch films and videos, particularly ones that have been played in the classroom previously. I believe that this outcome is particularly simple in the 21st century because of our easy access to technology and video streaming platforms such as YouTube and Netflix. I think it’s highly likely that children will be having these experiences outside of the classroom too on their personal devices due to the vast amount of child-friendly resources available online. It is also obvious that humans are inherent listeners, however perfecting the art of truly listening is an entirely different matter. Almost every child knows how to listen, it’s just the want to listen that can be missing. The best way to encourage children to want to listen is to make content interesting and engaging.
In terms of the ‘Reading’ outcomes, my experiences in primary school myself definitely met them. We had, on average, monthly visits to the local library during which every child would select a book of their own to loan from the library and read both at school and at home until returning it at the next visit in return for a new one. The class was also split into reading groups by ability so those who excelled could progress through the assigned reading at an accelerated rate, and those who struggled could move at a slower, more concentrated pace. As well as reading books, we would talk about them and evaluate what we felt about the stories by writing regular book reports. One way in which I feel schools may have improved since my early education however, is the range of themes in books and a wider inclusivity of minority groups or differing living situations. This is because a large quantity of the reading materials my school could provide in my time featured straight individuals, white characters, and ‘nuclear’ families. This is a topic that has also been addressed in the recent Health & Wellbeing lectures.
Learning to write is one of the most important skills a child can hope to take from their early years education. Letter formation, spelling, punctuation, grammar, and more all play into the learning and teaching of writing. A child has achieved the ‘Writing’ outcomes if they can write legible, punctuated sentences, paragraphs and stories that have a point. They may also feature a clear and concise beginning, middle and end.
In my personal experience of language in primary school, I loved to read and write and so excelled in those areas. As I grew up, I have become more involved with the ‘Listening and Talking’ side of things. Thus, my passion for reading has gone unfulfilled for some years. The introduction of technology in the middle of my childhood, I believe, contributed to the decline in frequency of my reading as the lure of playing games and beating high scores was rarely weaker than the fun of reading. Despite this, reading is something I hope to get back into the the years to come as I feel I got so many benefits from reading so confidently as a child.