Teaching Across the Curriculum – Drama

Earlier this week I took part in a drama workshop which gave me more of an insight into how I could use drama when out on placement. We were set the task of watching a video on a drama workshop and reviewing aspects of this. The workshop was set up by two teachers to help show a group of teachers how they could plan a drama lesson for their class.

The video showed how a drama lesson could be structured, linking it into other areas of the curriculum. The teachers in the video talked about how they would agree a set of rules with the students before going into the lesson, therefore enabling the lesson to begin quickly and efficiently. I found this interesting as it allowed both the teachers and pupils to know what is expected of them when they begin the lesson. As they agreed the set of rules in partnership with the students they are therefore more likely to be willing to follow them and participate in the lesson. The workshop started with the teachers all sitting in a circle allowing for more open lines of communication as each individual can be seen and therefore heard by all.

The lesson continued with a few warm-up activities such as groupings or organising themselves into a line or scale depending on the instructions/answers to the questions. These types of activities are a great way to get the pupils talking to one another, moving around and using their problem solving skills. The teachers would then ask the students why they chose to position themselves where they did, allowing each other to listen to the different views and opinions of their peers.

The lesson moved onto the main body of work which consisted of creating a few snapshots of a story inspired by a range of stimuli. The use of stimuli allows the lesson to have a focus and can also link into the different topics the pupils are studying across the curriculum. By getting the students to respond to the stimuli in small groups encourages them to listen to each others ideas and compromise to create their story. The students then take 3 key aspects of their story and  create a freeze-frame/snapshot of these using bodyscaping (physically creating the impression of a scene with their bodies, e.g. creating a party scene through frozen dance moved, drinking with peers, etc). These can then be performed in front of the rest of the class, allowing the children’s confidence to grow. To further this the teachers can ask the children to think about what their character might be saying/doing and ask the pupils to either unfreeze for a few seconds acting out what moves their character is making. Or to say something that their character might say int he scene, before freezing again. This allows the rest of the class to get  better idea of what the scene is about.

The last part of the lesson was more of an evaluation/reflection of what they did, as they all sat round and discussed what they had learned and what they were just doing. It is a good opportunity for the pupils to practice giving and receiving feedback, as well as having the chance to influence their own learning. This reflection also allows the students to calm down again and prepare for going back to class.

The teachers who participated within this workshop said that it was a great opportunity to see just how relatable drama is to the rest of the curriculum. It showed that drama could be used to reenact key scenes from the books the pupils are reading in class. Drama can also be linked into aspects of history lessons where the children create scenes depicting key aspects of their history topics. It can also be a key lesson for health and wellbeing as the students can use it to show different kinds or relationships or healthy lifestyles, creating scenarios that they can then discuss and pick apart the key learning aspects from this.

The video and workshop that I took part in helped my to understand that drama doesn’t always have to be a stand alone subject, or just used for the school show/assembly. It also allowed me to learn some techniques which in turn improved my confidence in my ability to lead a drama lesson in placement.

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