(cohort mean: 86%)
This shows a moment:
The students had been prepared for this work with steps such as:
● Prior to the exercise, students were asked to walk around the room and name an object in the direction of which they are walking (this builds comfort and awareness of the environment)
● Then students were instructed to walk towards a person and say their name (build comfort with other participants)
● Instructed to find a pair (the random walking prior encourages students to find a partner nearest to them, reducing isolation)
The purpose of this activity:
The purpose was to build students knowledge and utilization of the drama techniques (voice, gesture, facial expression, movement). Furthermore, this exercise builds empathy as students role play different characters.
Values for classroom and drama learning include:
● Community and participation (Ministry of Education 2007): Drama learning is interactive, which mandates participation and teamwork.
● Respect (Ministry of Education, 2007): Students build respect for themselves and others by exploring their own values with others, through role play.
The Learning Objective would be:
Students will be able to explain, in their own words, the techniques of drama – voice, gesture, facial expression, and movement.
|An example of the feedback:
As you’re performing in this role, I want you to think about the techniques of drama – voice, gesture, facial expression, and movement – and consider their impact each has on the performance. The meaning can change depending on how they are delivered. For example, think about how energy behind movements and gestures changes the meaning – if it’s slow then it seems sluggish or lazy, but if it’s fast then it comes across as much more exciting and intense.
As the Teacher, I would hope that after this the students would be able to reflect that:
After this feedback, I would hope that students would be able to reflect that each of the techniques of drama have a significant impact on not just this role play, but, also, all aspects of interaction. Developing awareness about the various forms of communication may allow students to reflect on the impact they have on others, which aligns to New Zealand Curriculum values of community and respect.
Two of the particular values of drama that this activity illustrates are:
● Express human experience through a focus on role, action, and tension (Ministry of Education, 2007, p.20).
● students learn to use dramatic techniques to create imagined worlds (Ministry of Education, 2007, p.20).
| A memorable feature:
A memorable feature of this work was the performance done by Peter and Sam because the delivery of their play changed the meaning entirely. Whilst most performances carried themes of endearment and affection, their performance was quite sinister. This was achieved through aggressive body language, a trembling voice, and quick movements. This demonstrated the effectiveness of drama techniques and the impact they have on the meaning conveyed.Aspects of drama illustrated in this photo are:This photo illustrates the use of dramatic techniques to create an imagined world. The gestures of both participants are considered closed with their arms crossed. However, this is contradicted with friendly facial expressions, which may indicate a playful atmosphere. Furthermore, the two participants are in a stationary position. The absence of movement and close proximity portrays a sense of familiarity between them. This photo also illustrates that both students are expressing a make-believe human experience, displaying empathy through body language, and experiencing ‘life’ from another perspective.
A quote from a drama reading which supports this work is:
“Dramatic play provides students with the opportunities to learn more about the relationships between people” (Nicholls & Mooney, 2004, p.14).
The work shows, as Nicholls & Mooney (2004) states, that drama is an effective convention for students to learn the intricacies of communication. This is illustrated in the image through the mirroring of body language, an effective technique for rapport building (Beattie, 2004). Additionally, students demonstrate awareness of three techniques – movement, gestures, and facial expressions – and appear to be experimenting with each technique. In summary, the image reflects the message that providing students with the opportunity to develop various communication techniques assists students in developing healthy relationships.
The most valuable learning about drama education that I take from this experience and from the reading is that:
Drama is purposeful play. Students are able to have fun, whilst learning important values identified in the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The link between learning about drama and relationships (Nicholls & Mooney, 2004, p.14) allows students to develop the NZC values of respect and community engagement (Ministry of Education 2007). As O’Toole & Dunn (2002, p.16) point out, “drama is a very good way to help children learn effective group skills”. These relationship skills are further developed through the ‘fun’ of drama, allowing students to enjoy experiencing life through other people’s point of view (Nicholls & Mooney, 2004). This aspect of empathy also allows students to learn more about themselves and others. In conclusion, drama education is a fun medium for students to learn essential life skills.
Beattie, G. (2004). Visible thought: The new psychology of body language. Psychology Press.
Ministry of Education. (2007). New Zealand curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.
Nicholls, J., & Mooney, M. (2004). Drama Journeys: Inside drama learning.
O’Toole, J., & Dunn, J. (2002). Pretending to learn: Helping children learn through drama. Longman, an imprint of Pearson Education Australia.