Drama in an English class.
Using drama in an English class is an important learning experience. It is fun, creative and engaging. One of the best ways to teach drama is to allow students the freedom and flexibility to recreate a piece of writing they have done. The most successful outcomes will be achieved when a clear framework is put in place for the students to follow.
A drama framework
Using a framework will enable your students to achieve more success. A framework is a simple guide which breaks down the steps to creating a piece of drama.
Here is an example of a drama framework.
1 – Set a clear goal for this drama piece and name it. For example a title could be something like ‘To explore the effects of bullying in school’. The goal of this piece if work could be ‘to demonstrate to our audience the negative effects of bullying’
2 – Clearly define the roles that each member of the group is going to play. A way to set this up is; as script writer, main actor, support actor, props etc. These are flexible and can be adapted for each group and setting. By setting out roles at the start of a session those involved will know where their priorities need to be. It may also stop people feeling they can switch between different roles.
3 – Have a simple ‘start’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’ of this production! It may sound straight forward but as you will have limited time showing this structure will help people to focus on what is important.
4 – Be very clear on time allocation for this task. You might actually want to have a person whose specific role is timekeeping. Keep reminding the group about time. When people engage fully in an activity time will fly away and you may end up with an unfinished product at the end.
5 – Allow for a quick practice before showing the others in the group. Doing drama a second time is always better than the first ! Little errors can be ironed out and you should find the performance runs much smoother.
6 – Reflect at the end. This is a very important part of the process not to miss. Reflection gives the group time to think and learn about what they have achieved.
Achieving success with a class
Drama in an English class can be a fun and rewarding way to learn. However, beware you are giving your students lots of freedom. Some students who are given freedom may well choose to take advantage and not actually produce the desired result.
Make your expectations very clear at the start of the session.
This may seem a little tough, but you need to know that all the students have bought into your philosophy and are going to be working hard to achieve a shared goal.
Students who know that there are lines not to cross will achieve better because they will focus on the job in hand.
Making it fun
Fun is a key element to drama. Most students want to have fun, laugh and generally be happy. Don’t we all?
Show your students that they can (and should) make this a fun learning experience. Encourage them to include some comedy into the performance.
Watching a short drama piece is much more enjoyable when the actors look happy and relaxed.
Reflect and improve
Following a drama session the final part is possibly the most important. This is reflect and improve.
In order to achieve the full benefit of this part of the session take the following 5 steps.
1 – Make it clear to the group that the intention is now to have some time to look back on what they have done and consider how it could be improved.
2 – Agree on a non-judgemental decree where people are free to share their feelings. Noone should feel criticised.
3 – Allow everyone time to speak (if they want to).
4 – Keep the atmosphere positive
5 – Record the feelings in a journal for later reading and self reflection.
Booking an professional drama group to come to you is fun and rewarding
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