Describe a sequence of three drama lessons that you could teach during the next phase of ESE. Discuss these with reference to the process and educational benefits of your proposed Drama learning experience. For this assignment I have developed a sequence of three lessons that I will carry out with my year 5 class during my next school placement. Whilst developing my ideas, I looked carefully into themes that could capture my class’s imagination. It is important when planning drama that the subject appeals to the children. When the topic is of interest they will be more likely to listen to instructions and understand the learning objectives throughout. McCrae (2003:34) states,
It is essential to find a theme that interests the participants. It will help your class to get in touch with their spontaneity more quickly if they know they are going to do something they like. McCrae (2003:34) I have chosen the theme of the sinking of the Titanic in April, 1912. I believe that this topic will hold the interest of my class and after careful consideration feel that the children will react to the story with a level of maturity and understanding. It is important however that any topic chosen is suitable for the age and maturity of the class. Children that feel out of their depth or upset by a theme may feel threatened and not perform to their full potential. Likewise children who are bored or uninspired by a topic could become distracted and lose interest.
Class 5 is made up of 24 children, 14 girls and 10 boys. Prior to the lesson all tables and chairs have been moved to the side of the room so that the class can work in a safe environment. The lessons will take 45 minutes and will run in the first morning session of Monday, Wednesday and Friday in a single week. It is felt 45 minutes is sufficient time for the children to enjoy the drama session without losing interest and enthusiasm. It is also felt that teaching all three lessons in a week will hold their attention and reduce the risk of the children forgetting what they have previously learned.
The class has been learning about the First World War, so they have some understanding of the period that we are looking at. They are aware of the methods of transportation, dress code and class structure of the time. This prior knowledge will be useful when constructing a scene for drama and will also inject life into the period they are studying in history. Broomfield and Childs (2000:29) state; Drama may become the main focus in project work, linking with science or history. In these instances it takes on a particularly valuable role as a vehicle for learning, drawing upon the children’s knowledge base to inform the drama.
By having a basic understanding of the history surrounding the theme the children will have a good grounding on which to build their drama work. Lesson one will focus on the first day of the Titanic’s voyage and will give the children an understanding of the different characters involved. The Learning Objective will be for the class to create roles showing how behaviour can be interpreted through movement and facial expressions. This objective is broad enough to be able to include all members of the class at some level. Objectives that cannot be easily adapted for all ability levels can restrict teaching and potentially alienate children who are less able.
I will introduce the lesson by setting the scene at the docks in Portsmouth on the 12th April 1912. The children will be shown pictures of the Titanic will be enlarged and laminated for this purpose (Appendix. 1). Good resources can bring a drama topic to life giving children something tangible on which to focus their work. Photographs, pictures and letters from a historical period help construct the scene that the children need to become part of. I will then give each child a card with one of the following printed on it; first class passenger, third class passenger, Steward, Sailor, Captain, Watchman. Each child will go into role as that person; would they feel excited and privileged to be sailing on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, or nervous under pressure to perform their job well?
The children will take on the role as they move around the room. Careful consideration must be given to movement and facial expression at this stage. As teacher I will model a role and interact with the class by walking around ‘the ship’ and asking questions about their feelings. McCrae, (2003:11) states, During drama the teacher becomes a facilitator, someone who enables – rather than compels – things to unfold.