How to teach English using DRAMA?
- Develop their personal meaning and intentions
- Develop their personal response to and interpretation of English and drama
- Develop self-confidence and self-expression, through expressing themselves, working with others and having an impact on others
- Use talk flexibly to express themselves and their opinions and feelings, find their own voice, explore personal experience, build self-confidence and communicate with others, through engaging in formal and informal talk, including debating, listening, giving speeches and presentations
- Use the pupils themselves and their own experience as starting points for work on ‘Myself/my autobography’ for example
- Talking and writing about what has happened to me, what means something to me, what I care about, what makes me special, my likes and dislikes, where I live, my hopes and dreams
- Reading autobiographical literature and/or accounts of childhood
- Listening to personal accounts of others in the class
- One pilot school used English and drama to assist pupils to make the transition to secondary school by getting to know one another and explore their responses to anew school eg. through an ‘All about me’ project (undertaken jointly with other humanities subjects to form a humanities project)
SOCIAL SKILLS AND EMPATHY
- Link empathy with the central concept in English and drama of ‘point of view’, eg. through exploring texts written from a variety of viewpoints or different roles in drama
- Develop empathy through vivid/juicy experiences eg. through reading about characters in fiction, diaries, letters or playing them in role-play or hot seating
- Develop social skills, communication and empathy through interacting and collaborating with others through effective speaking and listening; one to one and in groups, through formal and informal talk, speeches and presentations – speaking, paraphrasing, acknowledging and listening to others’ points of view
- Link sympathy with the central concept in English of ‘audience’ – and learn how to write, speak, act to different purposes and audiences – which demands and ability to understand different views of the world
- Develop specific social and communication techniques through group work and/or drama such as active listening, mirroring, using and understanding facial expressions, assertion, conflict resolution, mediation, group decision making and ways to reach a consensus
- Adopt a range of roles in discussion, including acting a s a spokesperson and contribute in different ways to group work, such as promoting, opposing, exploring and questioning
- Develop the ability to empathise with people from different times and cultures through exploring literature written at other times and in other places
SPECIFIC CONTENT IDEAS
- Exploring empathy and social skills of various characters in books and films popularly used eg the Hobbitt (how the races of the Hobbits and Dwarves gradually lose their suspicion), Holes (children in the camp moving from enmity to teamwork that leads to their escape), Tracey Beaker (complex interplay of relationships between the children in the children’ home).
- Exploring how tabloid newspapers marginalise, demonise and reduce certain groups (eg, ‘foreigners’, ‘young hooligans’. Muslim extremists’, ‘scroungers’. ‘asylum seekers’) and the language and imagery they use to do it.
- Developing active listening skills through exercises in drama – playing the part of good and bad listeners and discussing how it feels
- Exploring how we make judgements about people, eg. snap judgement – top-slicing the information, instant body language choices based on how someone looks, our gut reactions (eg why did Harry Potter instantly stick up for Ron when he met him and Draco Malfoy together?)
- Thought tracking, externalising internal monologues in pairs, one the actor and one the voice to convey an internal state through body language
- Explore the concepts of developing understanding, meaning, intention and motivation in English and drama – ask key reasons why people create and enjoy the expressive arts
- Make meaning in their own lives eg. by understanding the central importance of having clear and strong goals, a vision, intentions and sound values
- Understand the idea of cause and effect in the context of English and drama. Eg. explore the links between character, motivation and plot and how outcomes for a story flow from the nature, intentions and personality of the people involved
- Identify, using appropriate terminology, the way writers match language and organisation to their intentions
- Structure a piece of writing or a speech in a well-organised, clearly sequenced, prioritised, logical and chronological way
- Use exploratory, hypothetical and speculative talk as a way of researching ideas and expanding thinking
- Work alone and with others to solve problems, make deductions, share, test and evaluate ideas
- Set personal targets
- Develop drama techniques and strategies for anticipating, visualising and problem solving in different learning contexts
- Develop their powers of critical reflection
SPECIFIC CONTENT IDEAS
- Explore the link between character and motivation. Take examples from fiction/biography and in their own writing/drama of characters, explore the impact of their motivation on the story/plot/outcomes fir the character and for others
- Solve problems, eg explore what went wrong for a character (in literature or in drama/role-play) due to their lack of motivation, persistence, resilience, goal setting etc. How might they have dealt with it better? What might have happened if they had?
- Explore the experience of characters who have difficulties that need to be overcome and problems to solve, in literature, writing and drama
- Compare characters in a story who have different degrees of motivation. Eg. degrees of vision, persistence, resilience, or who are motivated by different things and look at the outcomes that follow
- ‘What makes a hero?’ Explore the central role of motivation in the hero’s story/moral journey. Ie clear vision and purpose, persistence, resilience, courage, conviction – using books and films popular with the group. Eg Harry Potter, The Hobbitt, Holes, Tracey Baker, Artemis Fowl, The Lightning Tree, Whispers in the Dark, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eragom, Dr Who
- Invite pupils to predict what will happen next in a story – involves considering intentions, causality and their link to outcomes
- Link the idea of creating a structure for a story (ie, with an arresting opening, a developing plot, a complication, a crisis and a satisfying resolution) with the idea of trying to tackle problems in real life, including exploring how far real life follows such neat patterns
- Pupils learn how to structure a piece of writing or a speech in a well organised, prioritised, logical and chronological way which makes cause and effect clear, eg collect, select and assemble ideas in a suitable format, such as a flow chart, list, star chart, or PowerPoint presentation, make clearly organised notes of key points for later use or to support a speech, organise texts in ways appropriate to their content and purpose, put a muddled story in a logical order
- Pupils identify and report the main points emerging from discussion, eg. to agree a course of action including responsibilities and deadlines
- Pupils set personal targets for English and drama, eg. to improve the presentation of their written work, improve spellings, speak up more often in class, take a lead role in drama, increase the descriptive power of their story telling etc
- Developing powers of critical reflection – through evaluating a piece of work and giving a considered, personal response to a presentation, play, script, film or performance through sharing views, or through keeping a reading journal
- Explore the idea of emotional engagement in literature and drama, exploring issues such as identification with character, search for emotional resonance and meaning and vivid/juicy emotional experience as some of the reasons why people create and go to the arts
- Give direct emotional experience in real time, for example through responding to a story, poem or film, or experiencing an event in drama or role-play
- Explore their emotional reactions to incidents, in literature, drama or real-life and compare their reactions with those of other people
- Develop the range, subtlety and depth of their emotional experience and expression
- Develop their language and whole body skills so they have a complex repertoire of vocabulary, facial and body language to express a wide range of emotions and feelings
- Develop their ability to use a range of devices to persuade and emotionally engage their audience, in speech, writing and drama eg. rhetoric (language), reiteration (echoing), exaggeration, repetition, suspense, withholding information, humour, emotive vocabulary
- Use talk and writing flexibly to express their feelings, find their own voice, explore personal experience, build their self-confidence and communicate their feelings to others, through engaging in formal and informal talk, eg. group work, pairs, role-play, debating, speeches and presentations and a variety of types of writing
- Empathising with characters and ideas who experience a range of feelings of emotions, through reading or listening to literature and taking part in drama
- ‘read’ their audience emotionally, whether it is an audience for their writing or their drama
- Explore how writers convey feelings and mood, eg. through language, sound, word choice, imagery, alliteration, rhythm and rhyme
- Become more responsive to what others feel eg. though listening to what they say and observing their body language, responding to the feelings of others in the group or role-play
SPECIFIC CONTENT IDEAS
- Work to extend feeling vocabulary with ‘feelings words’ eg ‘feelings word of the week’. Encourage pupils to explore and include new words in oral and written work and give recognition to pupils who use more complex words to describe what they are feeling
- Discuss how a story, poem, film or television programme makes us feel – explore individual reactions to the piece – what range of emotions does it generate in us? What feeling is the writer/film or programme trying to convey? What devices do they use to achieve this?
- Take a cluster of feelings and develop work on that, eg. write a poem in a particular mood, feeling or atmosphere, perhaps linked to music or art. ‘Prose polaroids’ (word pictures) – individual or group reflection then fill a word square with words around a mood or feeling, body sculpting to create a mood
- Explore what makes us laugh? Humour though the ages, ‘getting it’ or not, social aspects of humour, why is Shakespeare not funny any more? ‘In’ jokes and ‘out’ jokes, ‘cool’ humour (eg study latest television comedies that appeal to young people – why are they appealing? Contrast the shows with those your nan likes).
- Tragedy/comedy – what’s the key difference, how is the difference created, what attracts us to one or both, why do children’s films/stories always end happily, adult’s often not?
- Compare and contrast the ways information is presented in different forms, eg. orally, in text, visually, web page, diagrams, prose and explore the impact of these different forms on the feelings of the audience
- Drama – warm up, movements, body language, freeze framing, statues, tableaux to illustrate a particular mood or feeling
- Museum of feelings/emotions or museum of one specific emotion, eg joy. Small group become the ‘sculptors’, others are the ‘statues’, rest of the class is the audience who have to move around the museum and guess what emotions are being conveyed or comment on how well the statues convey the emotion
- Making or mirroring facial expressions – what mood or feeling am I trying to convey/how does the other person feel?
- Stage fighting – learning to control your body and your aggression (can help with aggressive pupils, gives a sense of control and detachment. Links with martial arts)
- ‘Hello’ games – how many ways can you say a word. What emotions can it convey?
- Mask work – use Greek-type masks that convey a particular emotion – pairs or group theatre work
- Drama – warm-down, breathing exercises, relaxations, visualisations
- Advertisements – the techniques they use to shape and affect moods, feeling and desires
- Web source: https://www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/media/pdf/2/8/SEAL_and_English.pdf