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Realities about role drama: the trials of one teacher’s year-long implementation Warden, Mary L. 1993

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REALITIES ABOUT ROLE DRAMAthe trials of one teacher's year-long implementationbyMARY LEIGH WARDENB.A.(Journalism), The University of Montana, 1963B.A.(Education), The University of Montana, 1965Diploma, Ed.(Eng.Ed.),The University of British Columbia, 1989A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THEREQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Language Education)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1993© Mary Leigh Warden, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of Language EducationThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDateDE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTAlthough role drama is being regarded as a key ingredientin the recipe for children's learning, it appears to be makingsurprisingly little impact on the methods used by many teachers.After wading through related literature, and talking withcolleagues, I realized that role drama is not growing to itsfullest potential because it appears threatening to classroomteachers who are not drama specialists. In order to bring thisproblematic issue into clear view, I decided to document theimplementation of role drama by a teacher in her classroom.Dianne, the brave grade one (year two of the primary program)teacher who volunteered for my study, had completed one Drama inEducation teacher training course at The University of BritishColumbia. Like many of her colleagues, Dianne was hesitantabout using role drama, but, since she was aware of its value asa teaching tool, she was eager to help me uncover thedifficulties. Over a time span of approximately nine months, Ivideotaped 15 drama sessions, conducted audiotaped reviews withDianne following each session, collected Dianne's reflectiveiinotes related to her observations of the videos (and maintainedmy own reflective journal, too), and audiotaped two overviewdiscussions regarding the entire implementation and theimplications for teachers in classrooms and for Drama inEducation teacher training courses. The documentation issometimes exhilarating, sometimes disheartening -- but,invariably, it is honest.iiiTABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT^ iiTABLE OF CONTENTS^ ivACKNOWLEDGEMENT viPROLOGUE^ 1PART ONE 7PRELIMINARIES^ 7PART TWO^ 14THE BEGINNING^ 14December 3, Session #1^ 15December 5, Session #2 21December 10, Session #3 31PART THREE^ 39BACKTRACKING^ 39December 12, Session #4^ 40December 17, Session #5 44PART FOUR^ 53A NEW BEGINNING^ 53February 14, Session #6^ 54February 21, Session #7 61February 28, Session #8 73March 13, Session #9 79PART FIVE^ 82DISAPPOINTMENTS^ 82March 27, Session #10^ 83April 3, Session #11 90ivPART SIX^ 96TRIALS WITH LITERATURE^ 96April 10 and April 16, Sessions #12 and #13^ 97May 1, Session #14 102May 8, Session #15^ 105PART SEVEN^ 107REFLECTIONS AND CONNECTIONS^ 107EPILOGUE^ 114BIBLIOGRAPHY^ 116vACKNOWLEDGEMENTMy gratitude to Dianne (not her real name), whoseincredible courage and commitment must be, without doubt,unsurpassed, to Dr. Patrick Verriour, whose nearly undetectablepersistence gave me wings, and to John Dinning, whose computerskills and equable problem-solving capabilities (unaltered bymiddle-of-the-night catastrophes) leave me in awe. Additionalappreciation to Dr. Carl Leggo for his sensitive perceptions,and to Dr. Jim Anderson for his uncluttered reasoning. And mythanks to Christy Dinning and Rob Dinning for their patientwillingness to listen and encourage (also unaltered by middle-of-the-night catastrophes), to the Leighs for their across-the-miles interest and for their occasional bits of financialincentive, and to Barry Warden for groceries and gourmet dinnersand Mr. Misty floats.viPROLOGUEIncreasingly, role drama is being regarded as aneducational tool that can facilitate the integration of varioussubject areas across the elementary school curricula (Tarlingtonand Verriour, 1983). Drama in education is considered to be akey ingredient in the recipe for children's understanding,internal learning and attitude change (Bolton, 1979 andHeathcote, 1984). Although drama may receive this recognition,it appears to be making surprisingly little impact on themethods used by the majority of teachers in schools (Courtney,1980, O'Neill, 1987 and Ormiston, 1991). Assuming it is truethat, potentially, drama is an important element in children'slearning, why has its influence not spread more noticeably amongteachers?This problematic issue became apparent to me initially whenI was enrolled in Advanced Drama in Education at the Universityof British Columbia. For the most part, the class was comprisedof experienced, employed teachers, many of whom were workingtowards obtaining a graduate degree. Although the general1atmosphere of the sessions was friendly and comfortable, I wasalerted to the fact that most class members seemed to feelhesitant about using role drama -- not just within the confinesof the university course, but in their own classrooms with theirown students. As I progressed through my studies and wadedthrough literature, research indicated that not only do teachersfeel threatened by role drama (Heathcote, 1984), but thatteacher training for drama in education is inadequate and doesnot reduce the threats which role drama seems to pose (O"Neill,1987).The research of drama specialists fueled my need for acloser look at the problem. My path was clearly visible to me:a closer look meant going directly to a real-world classroomteacher (as far as I could determine, no one had conducted asimilar study previously). With this in mind, I decided torecruit a volunteer from UBC's introductory Drama in Educationcourse (summer session), then to observe and document thatteacher's implementation of role drama in her classroomthroughout the following school year. From a group ofapproximately 100 teachers who were enrolled in the summercourse (ENED 335), four persons volunteered to participate in my2study. From the four volunteers, I chose one -- Dianne, anexperienced teacher (at the time, she was employed to teachgrade one -- year two of the Primary Program) whose studentswere representative of multi-ethnic, average income families.In addition to the fact that she offered a fairly typical lowermainland Primary class, Dianne seemed the perfect choice -- shewas self-confident, had never before used role drama with herstudents and was eager to try. During our first get-to-know-each-other chat over coffee, Dianne told me that when she heardme outline my research intentions to the ENED 335 group shewanted to volunteer because she knew it was the only way shewould be forced to try to use role drama in her classroom.Dianne, even with her self-confidence and eight years ofteaching experience (and, I discovered later, an artisticbackground), admitted to feeling role drama's threat.Dianne's willingness to participate in my study isappreciated far beyond description. She courageously putherself on display in front of a video camera for 15 dramasessions throughout the school year; she tirelessly gave timefor audiotaped discussions following each drama experience, andshe faithfully reviewed each videotape and maintained a journal3of reflections. As well, Dianne patiently and honestly sharedher thoughts during two lengthy overview discussions which wereaudiotaped. All of this, combined with my own videotape reviewsand diarized observations, provided detailed documentation ofthe implementation of role drama in Dianne's classroom; clearly,a heavy focus was placed on continuous reflection anddiscussion.In return for Dianne's efforts, I volunteered my time asher classroom assistant one day per week throughout theimplementation; upon reflection, my offering seems minisculecompared with the magnitude of Dianne's task. Because I feltthat it was necessary for me to intervene as little as possiblewith Dianne's ideas for the drama sessions, she was out on alimb often; however, never was she without my empathy and myencouragement. As the implementation progressed, though, Idecided to become slightly more vocal and attempted to provideoptional considerations so that Dianne could try to extend herthinking and her experiences.The actual implementation process spanned a time period ofapproximately seven months: from December, 1991 through June,1992 (excluding January when Dianne was ill). A familiarization4stage, during October and November, 1991, allowed Dianne, herstudents and myself to become comfortable with each other (andwith the presence of the video camera) prior to the beginning ofthe drama implementation. During this preliminary period,Dianne and I had two audiotaped discussions pertaining to thesummer session Drama in Education course (ENED 335) and itsinfluences on Dianne's ideas for implementation of role drama inher classroom. These discussions were necessary so that I couldbe aware of Dianne's relevant experiences during herparticipation in ENED 335, her drama-related knowledge base asan outcome of ENED 335, and her goals as they pertained to theuse of role drama in the classroom. We referred to these issuesthroughout the implementation.The documentation which follows is sometimes positive andexhilarating, sometimes negative and disheartening -- but,invariably, it is honest. The scenarios and reflections havebeen pieced together painstakingly and are shared for thebenefit of educators who sense the value of drama, schoolboards and school administrators -- all of whom must unite inorder to provide a framework of non-threatening, practicalsupport which role drama requires in order to take its rightful5place of honor as a valuable teaching tool in today'sclassrooms.6PART ONEPRELIMINARIES7Throughout the months of October and November, my visits toDianne's classroom were frequent. I immersed myself in the roleof teacher's aid so that Dianne, the children and I would feelcomfortable together as quickly as possible. By November 8 thechildren seemed to accept my presence -- at this point behaviourwas no longer exaggerated in pursuit of my attention, and twochildren who had appeared hesitant to hand me their trust wereinteracting with me in a positive and friendly manner. As Iinvolved myself in the classroom activities, I realized that Iwould have to allow for a backing off time prior to thebeginning of the drama sessions when I would have to be filmingand, therefore, very much in the background and unresponsive.Opportunities for casual conversation between Dianne andmyself arose often and it was during this period that Idiscovered her artistic side: a wealth of experience in art,dance, theatre and music. This was a bonus, indeed! If anyonecould help me to solve this teacher/teacher-training/role dramapuzzle, it would be Dianne.I was curious about Dianne's ideas for the implementationand our conversations often touched upon that topic. OnNovember 4 I asked, "How long do you think each drama session8will be?" Dianne replied, "Forty-five minutes to an hour.""That long?" I questioned. Dianne's response was, "Oh, gosh.I don't know. Half an hour maybe." In retrospect, I shouldn'thave questioned Dianne's first reply because it was my intentionto be as non-intervening as possible. However, I did wonderwhether ENED 335 had dealt with the reality of appropriate timeframes for Primary role drama sessions. On the other hand,perhaps Dianne was simply leaving herself room for positiveflexibility.Tarlington and Verriour (1991) state, "In the hands of askillful and sensitive teacher, role drama can be a powerfulmode of learning across the school curriculum" (p.8). Drama ineducation is considered to be a key ingredient in the recipe forchildren's understanding, internal learning and attitude change(Bolton, 1979 and Heathcote, 1984). Ideas for this powerfulmode of teaching surround teachers daily. Issues which emergefrom literature are innumerable, and often a good drama topicwill arise from a real classroom incident; whatever the origin,however, the focus for any role drama should involve an issuewith which the children can relate.9Here is an example of a classroom situation which couldhave provided the base for role drama: one morning in November,a child, accompanied by her mother, entered Dianne's classroomin tears. Other kids in the class, the mother explained, weremaking fun of her daughter's East Indian name. The motherinsisted that the child's name was no longer Poohnam -- she wasto be called Jotte so that she would be happier and more willingto come to school. Dianne discussed the situation with theentire class and, later, she told me that she knew this issuewould be a good topic for a drama but she wasn't sure how shecould elevate it. Dianne's recognition of role drama's placehere was positive; as I agreed with Dianne's belief that herelay a drama issue, I stressed the importance of using role dramaas a tool for learning -- this was a prime example. I mustadmit my concern, though, about Dianne's uncertainty regardinghow to elevate the issue. In my opinion, the issue did notrequire elevating -- it was a prime teaching situation just asit happened. Through role drama the children could haveexperienced the feelings of the hurt child, the distressed andprotective mother, and the thoughtless, name-calling classmates.However, Dianne seemed to feel that the drama would have to be10extended, to go somewhere; in reality, the value was in that onelittle slice. Again, I questioned whether the realities ofusing role drama in the classroom were being stressed adequatelyin the teacher training course. Research shows that in orderfor teachers to be able to use effectively what Bolton (1979)describes as role function and what Heathcote (1984) terms roletaking, there must be adequate teacher training. I suggest thatDianne's intuitive sense was nudging her along the right path;possibly, however, the teacher training course did not offerenough guidance that would allow her to take a role drama ideafrom a real situation and use it successfully and effectivelywith the children.Key issues for role drama were abundant in Dianne'sclassroom: taking report cards home( Will they be good or bad?Will parents be mad? Will the children be punished?); bringingcandy to school and sharing it with everyone except one child;taking a classmate to a makeshift, pretend jail on the schoolgrounds and determining to lock her in to the point where shewas frightened; coming to school tired and tense because of asleepless night spent listening to a domestic fight. For thechildren, these concerns were real and important enough to1 1warrant serious attention during group circle times. Clearly,the children wanted to better comprehend what was happeningaround them. Dramas do not need to be about these very specificincidents, but they can be about the feelings, the thinkinginvolved in these incidents. In this way role dramas have thepotential to explore and to translate valuable understandings asthey relate to the children's daily living.On November 28 and 29 I audiotaped Dianne's impressions ofthe summer course, ENED 335. It is my intention to considerthis information in Part Seven, "Reflections and Connections" ;at this point, however, I will acknowledge some of the positiveconcepts which Dianne acquired from the course -- role dramarequires that the teacher release control (control in thetraditional sense, as well as control over focus re classroominterests/topics); the children should be given roles ofauthority and expertise, and they should be cast as adults, notchildren; successful role drama allows for a slowed down pace;the teacher should be aware of giving the children ample spaceand time for exploration of thoughts/talk; the teacher'squestioning skills play an important part in role drama. Duringthese interviews Dianne also shared her goals as they pertained12to her implementation of role drama: long term -- "to be able todo role drama and feel comfortable"; short term -- "to survivethe first few lessons." Dianne admitted to me her strong needto be a leader, and, coupled with this need, her great fear ofrelinquishing control and focus while using role drama in herclassroom. An underlying reality seemed to be surfacing againand again -- Dianne, typical of many teachers, feltuncomfortable about using role drama. "Teachers tend to do whatis safe," Dianne told me, "but I want to try this because roledrama is the cheapest field trip going!"And how was this "cheapest field trip" going to begin?Initially, Dianne considered two possibilities: entry throughliterature, or through construction of a village by thechildren, after which the children could choose roles forthemselves (Who is living in the village? Who could you be?).Dianne commented to me that "Anything can be dealt with underthe umbrella of a village." In the end, Dianne chose the latteroption, the construction of a village (one which would haveexisted 100 years ago), and, on December 3, the implementationof role drama was under way.13PART TWOTHE BEGINNING14December 3, Session #1On this rainy afternoon Dianne spoke with a hushed voice toher circle of six year olds seated cross-legged on the carpet.Unbeknownst to the children, the air whirled with a daring mixof tension and exhilaration, and the camera was loaded andrecording.Dianne: You know, 100 years ago people lived in villages andthey didn't have phones or TVs or cars...I thought, forsomething special today, we might want to think about buildinga village. (Twenty voices cheer!) So, that's why I've createda space (all the desks are shoved to the sides of the room).You know, when people make villages they don't just sort of rushand go and build them. They plan them a little bit. So, we'regoing to do a bit of planning first.Child: Like people. Like adults.Dianne: Yes...we're going to be the town planners.Child: We can make the London Bridge!After recognizing this remark, Dianne suggested that theclass could compile a list of what they should include in their15village. The ideas flowed: houses, wagons, horses, cows, acastle, books (a library), stores, a bakery, trees, a fleamarket, a candy shop, a shoe store, a shirt-making shop,fields/pumpkins, a clock-maker, a doctor's house, water (a riveror lake), and a jewellery-maker. When the list was completed,Dianne asked the children to consider which parts of the villagethey would each be responsible for building, and to share theirdecisions with one another.Dianne: I thought it might help if we think about materials --who will use what -- and what the boundaries are (they designatethe carpet perimeter as the boundaries for the village, andselect various building blocks, popsicle sticks, styrofoampieces, plastic packaging pieces, etc. for the constructionmaterials)....Just to give you an idea of scale, here is agrown-up and here is a child (she holds up toy figures and setsthem on the chalk board ledge). This shows you how big thepeople are so you can think about how big your buildings need tobe....O.K., let's make a circle....(Dianne explains that sheneeds their commitment to this village-building effort. Eachchild, in turn, promises, "I will cooperate to make a goodvillage.")....I would like to suggest an idea. I'm the head16town planner here. I'm hoping you will build this villagetogether. I would like to suggest we have a town square. Wouldyou like to have a town square?Children: Yeah!Dianne: The town square is where all the shops would be...wherethe center of the village is...where the people would come formeetings.Dianne and the children determined the locations of thebuildings, the cows, etc., then, as each child revealed his/herbuilding choice, Dianne wrote the name of the choice on a cardwhich the child took to a building location. The builders beganto construct, with the name-cards propped beside their sites.(Many children worked in teams of two or three.)Dianne: Everybody! Listen! It's necessary for builders totalk, plan before they start building. Talk to each other.(Dianne moves from group to group and tries to encourage andextend planning and building discussions.) Stop! Freeze!Stop! Listen up! (Dianne shakes the tambourine.) Townbuilders! Jeff! I'd like all the town builders over here.(While the children watch, Dianne examines the building projectsand attempts to engage the children in thoughtful talk.)17Dianne: What were some of the problems we had?Child: Jeff wrecked our building.Dianne: What were some of the good things that happened?Child: We made some good buildings.Child: Can we leave it up for tomorrow?Dianne: No. The janitor needs to be able to clean.Child: We could show it to Mrs. Shaw's (the grade 2 class nextdoor).Dianne: No. There's too much going on. They can see thevideo.Child: We should draw a picture of it.Dianne: We'll make a map of it later.When the village was dismantled and put away, Dianne askedthe children to draw pictures of people who might live in thevillage. She reminded them of the 100 years ago time frame andencouraged the children to consider that the people would not bewearing the kinds of clothing that we wear. The children's workproduced such characters as farmers, a baker, a water man (thechild's term), house builders and a teacher. A reflective timefollowed the picture drawing. The children indicated that theyhad enjoyed "the coloring," " making the castle," " nothing,"18and "the city part." According to the children, the activitiesthey found difficult were "the water" (making the water/river),"working with rods" (building materials), "making the bakery"and "making the farm."The time frame for this first session was two hours --understandably, this lengthy period of tense concentration tookits toll. Dianne admitted to me later, during the audiotapedreview, "I feel completely bagged!" For the most part, Ithink this was a positive beginning towards building belief andcommitment, creating a mental atmosphere from which further roledramas could develop. My primary questions following thisafternoon, however, were: Did the children have any realconcept of what Dianne was asking them to do -- what did theyreally know about 100 years ago? Had they seen pictures, booksrelated to that time period? Were the children interested inpeople who lived 100 years ago? Maybe they would have chosen tobuild a different kind of village. And I had other concerns.There had been no mention of drama, no effort to discover whatknowledge, if any, the children had of drama, no discussionregarding rules for drama (i.e., use of the tambourine and19verbal signals such as "freeze"), no explanation about thechildren and the teacher taking roles, and no talk aboutselecting a specific area of the room for group discussions whenthey are out of role -- when the role drama has been halted andthe children and Dianne need to talk. Another concern: Diannetried to believe that she was the chief town planner and thatthe children were the town builders (and, for a brief time,planners), but any attempts at role taking were inconsistent andunexplained. I do not think that the children shared Dianne'svision. I could see, though, that Dianne was leading thechildren closer to actual role drama by way of having themcreate pictures of people in the village; also, I thought thatthe next session might include a discussion about drama androle-taking. For these reasons, I chose to keep my questionssilent for the time being.20December 5, Session #2This session took place just two days after the firsteffort, so the village-building was fresh in the children'sminds. Prior to the beginning of today's drama activity, Dianneshowed the class a map which had been made by one of thechildren -- a map of the village that had been constructed onDecember 3 (the idea for making a map came from suggestionsduring the first session; this child took the idea and, with noexternal prodding, created the map at home). Then, with nofurther discussion, Dianne began session #2.Dianne: Well, you know, I was sent by the king to meet with youbuilders. The king is very interested in having the buildersbuild the village again today....He would like the village builtin this (same) space....He thought it would be a good idea if wehave some plans for the building....(Dianne puts building-namecards on display ). Please partner up, or triple up and thinkof what other things we need. (The children talk together.Someone suggests an idea which Dianne refuses: "No, we'retalking about the old days.") O.K., planners, these are the21ideas you have (she reads the cards aloud)...Planners!Planners! (Dianne tries to get everyone's attention.) O.K.I'm going to have to stop. I'm going to be Ms. D. now. We'redoing a pretend thing and we've got some kids who are not takingthis seriously. Do you want to do this?Children: Yes.Dianne: Well, you have to commit to doing it. You guys have toget serious about being planners and builders. Do planners andbuilders wrestle?Children: No.Dianne: Or fight?Children: No.Dianne: Planners have to pretend that they're really seriousabout the job that they're going to do. Now, are you ready toplay the game, 'cause I'm going to go back and be the person theking has sent and you guys are going to really build a village.Child: And we're going to draw.Dianne: And I'm going to give you a responsibility. Are youready to take the responsibility? Raise your hand. Now say, Iam take the responsibility...(the children repeat thepledge). I'm going to turn around and when I come back I'm22going to be the person sent by the king. Can you pretend that?And we're going to be in a meeting and we've just decided thatthis is what will be in our village. Are you ready to be aserious town builder and planner? (Dianne gets up, turnsaround, and sits down in the circle again.) Good people of thevillage, the king has sent me to work on this village that weneed to construct and we need to work on some plans. You know,from one of our planners we got a map of what the whole villagewill look like. We need to have some plans for the individualbuildings....The children repeated the process of choosing partners,deciding which building to plan and construct, and relating thedecisions to Dianne. Eventually, each child took a building-name card and began to draw a building on a sheet of paper.Again, Dianne moved among the children, questioning andencouraging. Usually, Dianne addressed the children using theirreal names, but, occasionally, she remembered to use "Mr.Builder" or "Miss Builder". Later, a problem surfaced andDianne called everyone to meet for a discussion.Dianne: Builder Pablo has a problem he'd like to tell usabout....(another child, Lonny, has been messing up Pablo's23paper, and Dianne asks for everyone's input for dealing with theproblem.).... We have to decide what to do with the culprit....Child: We could send him to the king.Dianne: Do we have to send Lonny to the king?Children: Yes!Dianne: Can't we talk to Lonny ourselves?Children: No!Dianne: Why not?Children: 'Cause....He's always bad....Dianne tried to imply that the king was extremely busy andmight be annoyed with having to tend to such a small problem --couldn't the builders deal with it themselves? At this point,the children's reactions were becoming increasingly silly. Onechild suggested that Lonny should be flushed down the toilet --everyone laughted uproariously.Dianne: Wait a minute! This is 100 years ago. We don't havetoilets.Child: Put him in a dungeon?Dianne: We do have dungeons, but has Lonny been that bad?Children: Yes!24Before long, the children's behaviour was becomingdisruptive. Dianne requested serious, thoughtful suggestionswhich she wrote on a chart and on which the children voted todetermine Lonny's fate. The outcome of the vote was to sendLonny to jail.Dianne: But there is no jail and we don't have a jailer.Child: We could make one outside.Dianne: But we're here, 100 years ago.Child: This is not 100 years ago (she is angry).Dianne: Everyone, sit down. Yes. This game we're playing is100 years ago....Master Builders, please sit down. We have toget on with building our village. But we had a builder messingaround and we need some consequences....O.K. I'm stepping out ofrole (she sits down). If we're going to have a big pretend likethis, people have to concentrate. You guys are builders. Youare not kids who put pencils in your sneakers. You are notgossipers. You are builders right now; so, what I'd like to getthrough is what consequences you builders would like to have forLonny....having him go to jail is an outcome that isn't possiblebecause in this situation we don't have a jail.Child: Yes, we dol(refers to an earlier incident)25Dianne: No. We haven't built it yet. The people who areworking on the police station and the fire station are going tobuild a jail. But they haven't built it yet, so there's no jailfor him to go to.Child: We could put him in the garbage and lock him up (otherslaugh and add to this idea).Dianne: How would you like to be in the garbage...O.K. I thinkI'm going to have to move this along. We're getting boggeddown. (Dianne tells Lonny to sit at a desk for his consequenceand directs the builders to go back to the task of planning.)Throughout the remainder of this session, Dianne wrotedictated descriptions on completed building plans, then markedeach paper with a stamp which she explained was "the king'sstamp." Having been given the king's approval, the builderstook their plans to selected classroom sites and commencedconstruction. Minutes before the end of the drama time, Dianneshook the tambourine and called "Freeze! Freeze!" After thissignalling was repeated, Dianne told the children that shewanted them to really freeze when she used the tambourine, andthat the recess bell was about to ring so clean-up would takeplace after recess.26Later, during our audiotaped review, Dianne offered suchcomments as, "Well, stepping in and out of role was much easierthan I imagined -- I could see where it was necessary to doit....The stuff about Lonny -- I didn't know what I was going todo. I didn't really want to send him to jail....I wonder why Iwas so hesitant about drama -- I think it's giving up control."Although today's session had its pot-holes, I could seeclearly that Dianne was attempting to take some positive steps:she did try to explain that some of the time she would pretendto be the person sent by the king and that some of the time shewould be Ms. D., and she did try, once, to be clear about thischange; Dianne did try to address the children as Master or MissBuilder; she did try to solve a behaviour problem from withinthe drama, and she did try to explain the game-playing, thepretending. However, the children were no less confused and nomore satisfied. There had not yet been any real discussionabout drama and roles. Dianne still had no hint of whatknowledge, if any, the children had about drama, and I do notthink the children were connecting with the concepts of avillage and people 100 years ago, notwithstanding the idea ofrole-playing in this framework. The children's confusion was27evident when they wanted to build a jail for Lonny outside.Previously, a group of children had created a jail outside inthe school grounds and had tried to imprison a child. Now, thechildren were associating their present reality with what Diannewas attempting to instigate. Add to this confusion the factthat the children's own ideas were not being accepted (theirinterest in a jail was real and important -- but Dianne did notsee this) and that they were having to repeat a building taskwhich they had completed two days earlier, it is understandablethat the children became inattentive and disruptive. I wassurprised by the repetition of the construction and by the lackof follow-up on the pictures of the village people which thechildren had drawn in the first session. Also, the rules fordrama were appearing in unexplained spurts (the use of thetambourine, and freezes, in role and out of role changes andrelated group meetings and meeting places).The problem-solving episode (regarding Lonny) provides agood example of the kinds of real issues that can erupt duringa role drama. As I have mentioned, Dianne did recognize thatthe incident could be handled in role; considering that thishappened so near to the beginning of the implementation, her28recognition and resulting effort was commendable. Difficultiessprouted, though, for these reasons: no roles were clear atthis point (Dianne tried to think of the children as buildersand of herself as the king's representative, but her confusionwas obvious and the children's confusion was only heightened);the discussion was too lengthy and lost its potential impact;the children's ideas were not being accepted (perhaps a lettercould have been sent to the king, not telling about BuilderLonny, but requesting a set of rules for builders and planners;perhaps a meeting could have been called so that the builderscould plan to construct a jail; perhaps Builder Lonny could havebeen given a special job related to constructing the jail --community service -- which would have given him another chanceand no jail sentence). Throughout this entire episode, Lonnybecame more and more disinterested (along with the others) when,had the matter been treated more positively, he may have felthappier about participating. This incident also exemplifies howeasily role drama's spontaneous crux can be missed. Here wasthe opportunity to help the children work through a problemcooperatively, with thoughtfulness and caring for a fellow humanbeing. The jail issue was meaningful to the children -- they29were experiencing related difficulties on the playground;perhaps they were hearing about incidents at home. But thisexperience also exemplifies how difficult it is for a teacher torelinquish her ideas and control. As Dianne said earlier,teachers tend to do what is safe, so they tend to stick withtheir own plans. In order for a teacher to feel safe whilegoing with the flow of the children's ideas, a teacher must beadept at questioning. Spontaneous, skilled questioning is anessential element in successful role drama -- it is thiselement, however, that is one of the most difficult to master.30December 10, Session #3Dianne: I have heard from the king. He is very happy with yourbuildings, with the village you made.Child: He is?Dianne: Yes. He is wondering whether you would be interestedin planning some more towns.Children: (groans)Dianne: Well, you know, we have some plans of some towns here(real plans are on display)....Now these plans would be like amap showing some other villages that maybe we could build. Areyou builders interested in making another town -- the plans fora town?Child: Did the king...did he thought that we were good map-making? (this is the child who made the village map at home)Child: But who's the king?Child: Is it Mr. J.? (the school principal)Dianne: Who?Children: Mr. J.!31Dianne: No. He's Your Majesty, King Charles. Would you liketo meet him?Children: Yes!Dianne:^Well, perhaps he will come after we've made ourvillages, our plans.Child: It's Mr. J. -- I know.Dianne: Who is Mr. J.?Child: The principal.Children: Yah!Dianne: A king is not a principal.Children: Yah!Dianne: Good builders! You don't understand....(the childrentry to explain and are becoming annoyed and determined).Dianne: Well, we'll have to ask the king when he comes...goodpeople of the village, before we make our villages, our plansand maps, are there any questions you would like to ask theking?Child: We can show him our drawings.Child: Who's the king? Who's gonna be the king?Child: Who is it?32Dianne: King Charles is the king....O.K., the question is, "Whois the king?" We'll have an answer for that in a little while.Do you have a question for the king?Dianne explained that in the last session the children madepictures of buildings; today, they would make pictures of wholevillages. What did they need to ask the king in order to dothis task? The children, however, were losing interest andbecoming inattentive.Dianne: I'm going to stop. I'm going out of role now. I'mgoing to be Ms. D.Child: Role?Dianne: Yes. I'm taking a role. I'm pretending to be thisperson from the king. Now I'm going to be Ms. D. (the childrenare restless and giggly)...Now look! Are you guys reallyprepared to think of things to ask the king?Child: What about the queen?Dianne: Well, we could meet the queen, too.Children: Yeah!The children's demands continued.^They needed moreinformation and they wanted to meet the king and the queen rightaway. Dianne asked the children to get into groups of two or33three and talk about what they would ask the king and queen.The activity was not being taken seriously and the resultingcommotion compelled Dianne to call "Freeze!" and to shake thetambourine.Dianne: Freeze! Freeze! Your job in your little groups is totalk about the questions you have for the king. Your job is notto make silly jokes. If you're going to do drama, you have tobe serious about it. This isn't just being silly.Children: Drama?Dianne: This is called drama. Are you ready to think aboutquestions you want to ask the king, because we can't have a lotof dopey questions. He'll be upset if you come and ask himstupid questions. His time is valuable and so is QueenEleanor's.Child: It's Queen Lisobith.Dianne: No. This is Queen Eleanor. This is 100 years ago,remember?Eventually, the groups managed further discussion and alist of questions for the king was compiled on a chart. At onepoint, Dianne stopped to deal with a few disruptive children.Dianne: When we do drama you have to concentrate!34Child: What's drama?Dianne did not hear this question; however, it resurfacedlater.Child: What's drama?Dianne: We're doing a drama -- a big make pretend. Now, we'regoing to get ready to meet the king and we need to have a placewhere the king is going to sit (she gets a chair while thechildren announce "I'm a prince!", "I'm a princess!", theneveryone sits in a circle)....Who would like to go on with thedrama....O.K., what do we need to know about behaviour with theking? (The children respond with laughter and silly answers;Dianne shakes her head, sighs, and takes off her glasses.) Idon't know what? I don't really feel like going on.I'm scared. You guys are being so silly that I'mscared to go before the king. I'm afraid that he's going to getreally angry with you because you're not able to concentrate.Child: That's not a real king! He's not real! That's whyyou're not taking us (to meet him)!Dianne:^(exhausted and exasperated)^It's PRE-TEND!^It'spretend. Are you really master builders? It's just pretend.So, the queen is going to be pretend, too. (The children start35calling out what they want to be, again.) I think I'm going toshift here. I think I'm not going to send you to the king untilyou've done your city plans -- your village plans. I think youguys need to get a little more serious, so I'm going to back offfrom the visit with the king until I'm sure that you really havea lot to tell him.Child: I know...You're lying...There's nothing! (He is angry.)Dianne: Good city builders...(children are calling "Yes, yes,"and "No, no, no!")...I have some paper...(children are gettingangry)...some old paper from 100 years ago...In the end, the children who wanted to continue to work atvillage pictures did so, and the others were sent to their desksfor a quiet time.Clearly, these children were feeling cheated. First, theyneeded information, and second, they wanted their ideas to be ofvalue. These issues, combined with the lengthy time frames(each session has been 1 1/2 to 2 hours long), too much out-putfrom Dianne and not enough in-put from the children, plus toomuch repetition of the same picture-drawing, village-buildingactivities had resulted in the children's disinterest. At somepoints during this session, I thought Dianne would move ahead36with the children's interests in meeting the king; however, toomuch time had been spent without a strong, clear, appealingfocus. The children were bored and disruptive, so Dianne'sdecision was to stop and, again, stick with what was safe: herplans, and drawing pictures of villages. As difficulties aroseduring the session, Dianne worked hard at dealing with them fromwithin her visions of roles for the children and for herself.Unfortunately, at this stage of the implementation, the childrenstill were not able to share Dianne's vision.During the audiotaped review following this session, Dianneand I talked about the children's confusion between what wasreal and what was not real and about her own assessment that thechildren needed to work on their own roles in the drama.Another concern for Dianne was the introduction of the elementof surprise -- in other words: tension, wrinkles. Shequestioned, "How do you do it? What is surprising enough?"Dianne mentioned, too, that she had been having difficulty withremembering to announce when she was going in and out of role;related to this issue, we talked about establishing a particularplace for out-of-role group meetings.37Dianne's reflective notes from her review of the videotapeacknowledge that she felt vulnerable during this session, andshe admits that she hadn't been aware of the significance of thechildren's questions about the king and about drama until sheand I discussed the issues later. Dianne writes, "Interpretingtheir reactions when I am so much worrying about myself and mybehaviour/performance is one of the problems."38PART THREEBACKTRACKING39December 12, Session #4Dianne: First, I'm going to tell you about drama. Some peopleare kind of mixed up. Drama is when you all do a make-believeall together and everyone in the classroom goes into role,pretends to be somebody else. Now...I've been pretending tobe...who?Child: The king.Dianne: No.Children: Ms. D....a builder...a master builder...the plannerguy.Dianne: I've been a planner guy, and I've also been someonewho's come to you from who?Child: The king.Dianne: Do you remember....(she reviews the details regardingKing Charles, Queen Eleanor, etc. from the previoussessions)....Now, today I'm going to ask you to do somepretending and I want you to think about becoming someone in thevillage....I want you to spread out, get your own space. Closeyour eyes and imagine yourself in this village 100 years ago.40Imagine the kind of house you live in. Open the door. Lookaround. Who are you? (etc.)Dianne continued to guide the children's imaginations and,when the children responded in a silly manner to prompting thatmaybe they imagined themselves to be married and have sonsand/or daughters, Dianne reminded them that they were to begrown-ups, not children, and that they should not be silly.When disruptive behaviour continued, Dianne stopped; she askedthe children if they were ready to go on. At this juncture,Dianne placed the children into pre-planned pairs for thesharing of who each imagined him or herself to be in thevillage. Following this discussion in pairs, Dianne asked thechildren to sit in a circle and to take turns telling aboutthemselves as people in the village. The children began to talkabout their real families, so Dianne reviewed the task and beganagain. Any mention of marriage continued to bring gales oflaughter but Dianne persisted; eventually, village charactersbegan to emerge: Mrs. Wong, the teacher; Nick, the farmer;Michelle, the gardener; Lanny, the apple tree planter, and soon. Again, this session culminated with the children drawingpictures (of themselves as villagers).41Later, after each picture was shown and explained, Dianneand the children reflected on the drama session.Dianne: What was hard about the work we did today with drama?Children: Nothing....It was hard to draw....It was hard tocolor....Dianne: What did we do today in drama?Child: Think.Dianne: How many of you found the thinking hard?....How many ofyou found the partner work hard?....Do you have any ideas aboutwhat we could pretend next time? (In pairs, the childrendiscuss the question which Dianne has posed.)My review notes for this session state, "Finally, Diannetells the children what drama is, and what role taking is...."Dianne felt more positive, too. During our audiotapeddiscussion, she acknowledged, "I thought this was a bit better,although I wasn't particularly in role -- but I thought they(the children) were getting a clearer picture of what was goingon." This time, the drama began clearly; talk was explicit,concise. Dianne did not allow any segment to become too long ortoo loose -- there was a clear focus. Dianne did not ask thechildren if they knew anything about drama, though -- I think it42would have been interesting to learn what base they were comingfrom; in all probability, Dianne did not want to give thechildren too much room for manoeuvering because she wanted toretain control (and she wanted to stay away from the kingissue). In fact, Dianne's notes from her review of the videoinclude these comments: "It looks and felt so much better! Morecontrol...I feel/appear more relaxed, positive and in control."Although there had been no attempt to use tension yet, Ifelt that today's session had helped to regain some of what hadbeen lost earlier when there had been no discussion about dramaand no follow-up on the first set of pictures of villagers.Also, Dianne was trying to develop the children's understandingsof the 100 years ago time period -- now there were manypictures, books, maps and related artifacts on display aroundthe room.43December 17, Session #5Today, Dianne and the children gathered on a different rug,in another part of the classroom (Dianne planned to establishthis location as the out-of-role drama meeting place).Dianne: We haven't really done very much drama yet, so youdon't know very much about it.Child: It's pretend.Dianne: It is. It's pretend. It's make-believe. So far inour drama work, mainly it's me who's been in role...I was theperson who came from the king, I was the person who tried tohelp organize all the planners and builders. Last time westarted to think about you being somebody in the village -- notjust a planner or a builder. Do you remember that?...Do youremember last time we did something where we closed our eyes andimagined? There were some rules about closing your eyes andimagining. Who remembers what the rules were?Children: Don't open your eyes....Don't say anything....You'repretending....Dianne: Where?44Child: Inside your head.Dianne: (stops some disruptive behaviour, then carries on) So,today we're going to do a little bit of that pretending in yourmind like that again.Children: Awwww!Dianne: But we're also going to do some real pretending whereyou start to be that person who lived 100 years ago in thatplace where there are so many apple growers. You will be thatperson that you drew on your piece of paper. Now we need tohave some rules about going into role. We're here -- we're justMs. D. and the gang. But when we leave this place (on the rug),we will all be pretending to be somebody else. I have to tellyou who I'm going to be.Child: The king.Dianne: No. I'm not going to be the king today. I'm going tobe the town crier.Child: Town crier?Dianne: The town crier is kind of like the radio -- the towncrier tells people what's happening. He tells the people thenews because in the old days you didn't have a radio or TV tofind out what happened. You had to go outdoors and listen to45the town crier tell his news. I'm going to be a man -- I'mgoing to pretend to be a man, and I'm going to be the towncrier.Child: He cries?Dianne:^He's called the town crier because he shouts....hemight shout SIX O'CLOCK AND THERE'S NEWS FROM THE PALACE! (Thechildren giggle.) And then everybody would know that theyshould come down to the town square to hear the news from thepalace.Child: Is the king coming?Dianne: I don't know if the king's coming today.Children: (groans of annoyance)Dianne: Oh, there's one other thing I need to tell you -- thereare some different ways that we go out of role. One way is I'mgoing to call everybody over here...'cause we're just going tobe kids and Ms. D. again -- and the other thing I might do isshake the tambourine if there's something quick that I have totell you.Child: Shake the tambourine (being a bit silly).Dianne: I will shake the tambourine.46Child: Shake, shake the tambourine...(the children are restless-- there is a lot of laughter and chatter)Dianne: ...Do you want to do this -- or not?Children: N0000! (two or three yahs)Dianne: Well some people are behaving in a sort of sillyway....boys and girls....this is important....(Finally, Diannegets everyone settled and asks them to close their eyes.) Iwant you to think about this old fashioned house that you livein, in this town where there are so many orchards...and you godownstairs, and you make breakfast....and today you are goinginto the market place. Some of you are going to be sellingthings...some of you are going to be buying things...Children:^(laughter -- the children are inattentive andrestless)Dianne: STOP! Open your eyes....(Dianne asks children to comeout from underneath desks and to stop making silly jokes.)Close your eyes again...(some children groan)...I want you tothink about what you need for going to market. Are you going toneed a cart?Child: Yah.47Dianne: Ssh. You're not supposed to say anything. Are yougoing to the market on a horse?^Are you going towalk' ^(etc.)....Now I want you to partner up and talk tosomeone about getting ready to go to market....Has everyone hada chance to talk about...Children: YAAAHHHH!Dianne: That means you're going to start pretending to be thisperson. The first thing I'd like you to do is stand up andthink about how your person is going to walk....(Dianne asks thechildren to walk around the room to show how their characterswould walk. This results in disruptive behaviour and anirritated "FREEZE!" from Dianne. When walking begins again,Dianne asks the children to think about what they want to do atthe market today -- after a bit more walking, she calls "FREEZE!FREEZE!" and moves around to question each villager, "What areyou going to do at market today?")When Dianne was satisfied that this segment had beencompleted, she instructed the children to partner up withsomeone in the town square and talk about the news of theirfamilies (their village families). The ensuing commotion causedDianne to hit and shake the tambourine and call, "STOP!" and to48hold a group meeting in the newly established drama out-of-rolearea. Following a discussion about the silliness, themisbehaviour and the lack of concentration, Dianne asked thechildren to walk around the market again and talk with eachother about their family news. Eventually, Dianne asked eachchild to tell his/her news to the whole group. Furtherdisruption took the class back to the drama meeting area again.Dianne: I want you to think about what we just did. I knowthere were parts that were really hard, and some parts that wereeasy. Let's think about what was hard.Children: Thinking....Hard to think....About the market....Hardto find a partner.Dianne: Do you think it would be better if we made the marketsquare a bit bigger and moved the desks? Do you think the nexttime we might set the room up...(more disciplining isdone)....It might be, if we went back into the market place,something exciting might happen -- or, it might be that you'renot up for trying something new. How many of you would like totry to go back to the drama again and see whether somethingexciting might happen? (There is no enthusiasm from thechildren.) How many would rather do some other activity? (Most49of the children put up their hands.) That's fine. You can havechoice time before the bell goes. (The children cheer loudly.)But wait -- before you go, your exit visa is to stand up, one ata time, and tell who you are in the village. (Each child standsin turn and speaks to the group.)Children: I am Michelle and I work in the book store....I amRog and I help poor people....I am Miss Wong and I am theteacher....I give people meat....I have apples....I am Bart andI build houses....I am Lanny and I am a apple planter....etc.Out of this troubled session came a wonderful ending, onewhich emerged spontaneously. It just happened that the firstchild to speak told her name and her occupation, then remainedstanding. All the children followed her pattern and theresulting scene was powerful. The children demonstrated acertainty about their characters; in fact, the characters werethe same ones which the children had chosen for themselves inthe previous session, and, even earlier, in the first dramasession when they were asked to draw pictures of people wholived in the village.Behaviour problems were abundant during this session. Thechildren were bored, and they were given little opportunity for50the expression of their own ideas. Today Dianne talkedconsiderably -- she devoted a substantial amount of time guidingthe children's imaginative thoughts from one vision to the next(I assumed she was trying to help them with a task which wasunfamiliar to most of them). Problems arose, however, becausethe activity was lengthy and restrictive. And, later, when thechildren tried to be creative with their walking styles, theywere reprimanded; so, although the children were given theopportunity to be active physically, they were restricted onceagain. Dianne's intention was to help the children move throughthe developmental stages which she had planned. In reality,though, she was stifling the children's reactions andimaginations. Today, the children had very little real in-putbecause what Dianne was doing -- although she did not realizethis at the time -- was controlling. Along with feeling theneed to control, Dianne was feeling the need to see her planthrough from beginning to end. Actually, I think it was a morespecific problem than that -- Dianne thought that a role dramashould have a clear beginning and a middle and an obvious,resolved ending. This is not so, but I think this is adifficult concept for most teachers to accept because planning51.occupies a place of importance throughout their training andtheir employment.Dianne told me, during our audiotaped review of thissession, that,"There still is the message that the kids arebeing cheated." Although she was right, Dianne's awareness ofthat problem was, in itself, positive. The children were beingdisappointed constantly -- they sensed that they would never beable to meet the king, they seldom were able to use theircreative ideas, and, usually, they had to listen to a great dealof Dianne's talking. Also, the children were tired of therepetitious activities. Each of these issues is connected by asingle rope: Dianne was doing what, for her, was safe. ButDianne was doing something else, too -- she was continuing withbrave determination. Following today's session, Dianneconfided, "I feel like I'm on this runway and I'm putting downthese various pieces....I'm still finding resistance -- they'resaying they don't want to do it, and I'm just sort of plowing onahead 'cause I know once we get lifted off they'll be O.K."52PART FOURA NEW BEGINNING53February 14, Session #6Nearly two months had lapsed since the last drama period(for medical reasons, Dianne had been absent for the month ofJanuary). This interruption in the implementation had givenDianne the opportunity to reflect upon the first few dramaefforts and our related follow-up discussions, and to reconsiderher strategies. For Dianne, and for myself, today's sessionrepresented a new beginning.Dianne: Let's talk about drama. Put up your hand if youremember what drama is.Children:^You drew pictures....You made up a name foryourself....Pretending....You make a village....You act....Dianne: Yes. You pretend.Child: NO! You ACT!Dianne: Yes. Well, that's close to pretending. (Dianne writesall suggestions except "You act" on chart paper.)Dianne: How many of you remember the rules about drama?Child: No fighting.54Dianne: Oh yes. That's class rules -- let's think about rulesthat we had for drama.Children: We made some maps....We did journals....Dianne: Yes. Were there any special rules about drama thatanyone remembers? (No one answers.) How many of you remembersometimes we went in role and we were here (on the largemeeting-carpet), and we went out of role and we were over there(on the smaller rug). Remember, sometimes I needed to be Ms.D., the teacher, and I'd talk to you over there, and then we'dcome back over here and go on with our play and pretend that wewere in the village....O.K., so one of the special rules is thatwe have a special place for teacher and kid talk (she writesthis on the chart then asks another child what he remembersabout the rules for drama).Child: But you still didn't show us the king.Dianne: The king.Child: You forgot the king.Dianne: I haven't forgotten the king.Child: Where's the king then?Dianne added "Where is the king?" to the compilation ofideas on the chart, paused briefly, then, after further55discussion unrelated to the king issue, she asked the childrenwhether they remembered who each had pretended to be in thevillage. A few children do recall their village identities butmany do not.Dianne: O.K. I think what we need to do is to start again alittle bit, 'cause some of you have forgotten. I'm going toshow you these pictures now (she shows illustrations from JohnnyAppleseed. This is from a little town you remembera lot of you decided you wanted to be apple I gotthis book to show you pictures of apple growers (one child, whowas determined to be an "apple planter" in December, comes up tohave a closer look at the illustrations -- he is the one whosaid that drama is acting), and pictures of other people, andhomes, and a village ....Now what I'm going to do is put outsome pictures from this book (Dianne has made enlarged, blackand white xeroxed copies of some of the book's illustrations),and I want you to decide -- are you a tree planter, someone whoputs shoes on horses, are you somebody who makes dresses, areyou a teacher...who are you? And I want you to add yourself toone of these pictures....and when we've figured out who you are,we'll write it on the side of the picture.56When the children's pictures were finished, Dianne wrotedictated information on the papers, all the while addressingeach child according to the name chosen for his/her villagecharacter. Following this activity, the children talked withone another about themselves as villagers and, eventually, thisinformation was shared with the entire class and was recorded byDianne on chart paper. During this sharing time, one childstated that he wanted to be a doctor in the village; however,two or three others had chosen to be doctors, too.Dianne: I think we're going to have too many doctors -- youmight have to think of something else.Child: I'll be the king.Dianne: Well, you wouldn't have a king for a village....but youcould be the mayor of the village.Child: O.K. (When Dianne asks him to think of a name forhimself as the mayor, he says he can't think of one.)Prior to the end of this session, three children had notchosen village identities. Acting on a suggestion made byDianne, the other class members assisted the three with theirdecision-making.57Today's session suggested that Dianne's medical hiatusfrom the drama implementation had yielded positive results.Here was the opportunity for Dianne to do what she had neglectedto do in the first session on December 3: she discussed dramaand asked the children what they knew (remembered) about it; shereviewed the rules for drama (with the exception of the signalsfor stopping the drama), and she showed the children excellentillustrations that depicted what a village and its people mighthave been like 100 years ago (this was a good way to buildbelief). Also, Dianne worked on stimulating ideas for thechildren's roles rather than for her own role. Earlier, in theDecember sessions, Dianne over-focussed on her personal dramaidentities, to the extent that she was unaware of the children'soften shallow experiences. In fact, it is my opinion thatteacher-in-role should be used sparingly, as it is needed tochange direction, or add tension, or to handle a problem (i.e.,a behaviour problem). I believe that a teacher who is tooinvolved in the drama may be relied upon unnecessarily by thechildren, or may overpower the children with the result thattheir potential creativity could be stifled.58Although the discussion about drama provided a worthwhilebeginning for this session, I was not convinced that thechildren's understandings were sufficient. It was important,though, for Dianne to hear first what the children knew;perhaps, however, she could have built upon this base a bit morethan she did -- possibly by delving into Lonny's offering thatin drama "you act." Maybe the children had more drama knowledgethan Dianne realized -- their terminology may have included theword acting rather than the word drama.The drama review also reconfirmed the fact that the kingstill held an important place in the children's minds -- theywere adamant about wanting to explore the king issue inDecember, and, two months later, with no hint of drama duringthat time, they were as determined as ever to know about theking.Later, during our audiotaped review of the drama session,Dianne told me that it was her idea that perhaps the childrenwould keep their roles (which they had chosen today) for theremainder of this school year's drama times. In Dianne's view,the village idea would be an umbrella for such projects asquilt-making, printing fabric, bread-making, butter-making,59weaving, etc. The child who had chosen to be the villageseamstress, for example, would be a key person during the quilt-making, and so on. At this point, I realized that Dianne wasviewing role drama almost as she would view the incorporation ofa theme around which activities/lessons are planned. Itappeared that Dianne was thinking in terms of a relativelyloose, long-term plan for role drama -- a continuing saga, asequence of connected events. In fact, Dianne told me duringour audiotaped review that she had been nervous about beginningagain today. "It wasn't so much that I had sort of withdrawnand wasn't wanting to do it -- it's just that I had lost thethreads...." So, perhaps Dianne's long-range, united ideasoffered her further means of retaining what she termed a safeenvironment.60February 21, Session #7(Dianne begins by addressing each child with his/hervillage role name and asking what job each one has to do today -- the list of characters determined during the last session ison display.)Dianne: Would Jesse, the tree planter, please stand up?Child: That's Matthew! (Dianne ignores this reference to thefact that the "tree planter's" real name is Matthew.)Dianne: Jesse, what are you going to do today in your tree-planting orchard? (He doesn't know.) Are you going to plantsome more trees? Nancy, the teacher...what are you going todo....etc.^A few of the children offered information aboutthe jobs they might accomplish in the village today: the banker-- "Give them more money"; the policeman -- "Find some robbers";one of the doctors -- "Help poor people." Interestingly, thechild who Dianne said could be the mayor (when he really wantedto be another of the village's doctors) insisted today that heis a doctor, not the mayor. After everyone had been given anopportunity to share ideas, Dianne took the children to the out-61of-role drama meeting place on the rug. This move was chaotic,however, so Dianne called the group back to the originallocation and told them they needed to "practise doing thisright." Eventually, the children were relocated and began towork in teams of two or three, deciding who would be A, B and C.Dianne: ....Now listen...I know you all have jobs, but we'regoing to go to market today.Children: For real?....A real market?....Dianne: We're really going to market...because you knowvillagers in the old days went to market everyday. Now I wantyou to think about two things: something you will buy -- itmight be eggs, it might be milk, (etc.)....and the other thingI want you to think about in your imagination is who you mightmeet and talk to in the village.Several times during this portion, Dianne had to stop toquieten children who were attempting to interject -- they werebecoming fidgety; however, she continued to offer her ideas ("Doyou need to go to the florist?...Do you need to see theDoctor?...Do you need to talk to the banker?...Is there somebodyyou need to talk to in the village?...etc., etc.). Dianne askedthe As, the Bs, then the Cs to share their ideas with each62other, then everyone shared the information with the wholegroup. One child stated that he was going to play in the park -- Dianne reminded him that he was a grown-up in the village, nota child. Another child announced that he was going to see thedoctor in the village because all his kids were sick. Followingthe sharing, Dianne resumed her talking.Dianne: O.K. now, in just a minute we are going to go into thevillage. We are going to start thinking about being this person...that means you're going to stop being a kid and start beinga grown-up. (Dianne asks the children to set up a row ofchairs, then she tells them that she is going to be the towncrier. Throughout her explanation of her role as the town crierwho will give the news of the village, Dianne stops often todiscipline children who are being disruptive -- but she persistsand carries on.) ....So, I need to figure out when it would bea good time for me to give my news...and I need to go shoppingfor some fruit....but, just for right now, I'm going to be thephotographer who has come to the village....(Dianne organizesthe children around the chairs for a group photograph.) Youhave to be very still....think about who you are in the village63and how you might stand...and the photographer has come manymiles by horse and set up his camera here....Finally, the photograph was taken and everyone began towalk in the village; the children were boisterous, though, andDianne instructed them to go back to the rug.Dianne: Can I have your attention, please? I'm Ms. D....overthere is the market place....(She tries to get the children'sattention, but this is difficult -- many of them have climbedonto the chairs or crawled underneath desks.)....We can't dodrama if you're not going to be obedient. I need to givedirections and I need you to be responsible. Do I have yourears?....Now, look. When you go into town, you're going toreally pretend to buy things....You might have a basket overyour arm to put groceries in (Dianne explains that there were noplastic bags 100 years ago)....what else might you have?Child: Did they have boxes?Dianne: They had boxes. You might have your children with you.Child: Right -- in the box. (laughter)Dianne: Think about where your money is...Child: In the box. (laughter)64By now, the children were extremely restless and theirresponses were silly, but Dianne continued.Dianne: ....Think about whether you've got a hat on....I wantyou to really start thinking about pretending to be in thevillage. Now, grown-ups, when they go to market, are theyrunning around like children? No. You have to really pretendthat you're a grown-up and you've got something to do in thevillage -- so I don't want to see a lot of silly behaviourbecause then I just have to bring you back here and then we haveto think about whether you can really do drama....We're going tohave to do some pretending now. How many of you are ready to dothat? (About half the class raise their hands slightly andslowly. O.K. When you're really, really ready, you can standup and start going into the village. (A few children go intothe drama space but several stay behind and sit on the chairs.Dianne talks with a three children in the "village" while otherswander aimlessly and watch those who are seated. When Diannenotices the group on the chairs, she calls, "Freeze!" andinstructs everyone to go back to the rug.)Children: AaawwwlDianne: Why are you people here?65Child: We already been.Dianne: You bought all your groceries?Children: Yahl....The stores weren't open!....Dianne: The stores weren't open! Well, why did you go tomarket if the stores weren't open?Dianne decided to end that battle. She pressed on with theannouncement that the town crier would be going into the villageand calling, "Ten o'clock and all is well!" and that, then, thechildren would know that the stores are open. When Dianne, asthe town crier, gave this news, everyone ran into the marketspace shouting like charging warriors. Dianne glanced in mydirection, grinned, shook her head, and called, "O.K. Back!Back to the rug!"Dianne: O.K. We're back in Ms. D.'s class...(etc.)....Now, dothe townspeople go "YEAH" and run into the town? (No, say thechildren blankly.) The townspeople don't run into the village,they walk -- and they visit with each other (Dianne demonstratesseveral examples of visiting). You do not come back here (tothe rug) -- this is not part of our drama space....Dianne reviewed how the children should behave, then theytried the task again. This time, as the children visited with66one another in the village, Dianne (as the town crier) declaredthat something terrible had happened -- she had just heard that200 trees had been cut down. Everyone stopped to listen, thenseveral children ran back to the chairs, some rushed around theroom, a few wandered, and two or three went to talk to Dianne.Dianne: STOP! O.K. Now all the people who are sitting on thechairs...will you put the chairs away! (When this job has beendone, Dianne talks with the group about obedience and about thefact that she does not understand their behaviour when they havejust been told such terrible news. Following this talk, Dianneasks the children to get into their A,B,C groups to discuss whateach one's character would do upon hearing such news. Ideas areshared with the whole class and, eventually, everyone returns tothe village for a repeat of the town crier's announcement andanother attempt at reaction. With this activity completed,Dianne calls, "Freeze!", and takes the children back to therug.)At this point, Dianne gave the children paper and askedthem to draw something about the trees being cut down -- apicture of some of the trees, of who may have cut down thetrees, of how this problem could be resolved. Later, Dianne67involved the children in a discussion by questioning, "What canwe do about this?"Children: ....Find out who did it....Hide out in the forest,jump out and get him....Put him in jail....I know who did it(Dianne doesn't hear this remark)....This discussion paved the way for small group meetings(committees of three or four children) for further deliberationof the tree-chopping issue, and, after the interruption ofanother talk about not listening, the whole class reconvened fora committee meeting with Dianne in role as the committee leader.In the meantime, however, when the children did not walk to themeeting area (instead, they ran, skipped, jumped, and then,rather than sit on the floor, they pretended to sit on benches),Dianne called them back to the rug for more talk aboutcooperation, focus, and not being silly. Eventually, the classmet as a committee and consideration of the trees issue resumed.Dianne: ....What if we get the wrong person? We have to thinkabout that carefully....Child: I did it!68Dianne: You did it? Then what are we going to do? This mansays he did it.Children: Get him....kill him....Dianne: It seems to me we should put this man in jail.Children: N00001 Kill him! (Two other children now admit thatthey chopped the trees down, too.)Dianne: Mr. Policeman, I think we have no other choice but todetain these gentlemen. The jail is over there....(Thepoliceman takes the three tree choppers away. Several otherchildren dash off excitedly. Dianne stops the drama, calls thechildren back to the rug -- this time, not to discuss behaviour,but to express her surprise about the three people admittingthat they chopped down the trees.Dianne: Why would these people get up in the public meeting andsay, "I did it?" It doesn't make sense. Does anyone else havea problem with this?Children: I think they're lying....Yah, they're lying...(andthey begin to call out punishments).Child (one of the tree choppers): But we told the truth! (Thiscomment receives little acknowledgement.)69Several children announced that they wanted to be treechoppers, too; Dianne decided that the idea was a good one and,finally, after more talks about disruption and back and forthattempts, Dianne and the children were in role as tree chooperswho were in jail. During the jail scene, as the childrenexpressed many ideas for further action, Dianne looked at me andsaid, "I don't know how to do this." Her decision was to resortto writing the children's ideas on chart paper.A few milestones were passed during this session, butproblems emerged as well. First, the children presented someexcellent ideas during the beginning stages (the doctor wantedto help the poor people, another person's children were sick andneeded to see a doctor), but their ideas were not utilized orextended. Later, Dianne missed the opportunity to exploreanother worthwhile issue -- telling the truth. Second, thechildren continued to question "real" versus "pretend," butDianne was not aware of the magnitude of their concerns. WhenDianne told the children that they were going to market, onechild asked, "For real?" Dianne's response was, "We're reallygoing...." I think the children had not forgotten December'sking episode -- they had felt cheated when they couldn't meet70the king -- and now they sensed that nothing would happen withthe market, either. The children were distrusting and weren'tinterested in giving serious attention to Dianne's ideas. Theissue of the use of the word "real," though, may be anotherterminology problem (as in the case of "drama" and "acting").Third, Dianne's need to control resulted in tiresome andinterruptive disciplinary measures whenever the children'sbehaviour did not meet Dianne's expectations. Also, Diannetended to favour a discussion on the rug, or a list on chartpaper, whenever she didn't know how to move spontaneously aheadwith the children's ideas.Regardless of today's problems, however, Dianne did manageto take some positive steps. First, in a few instances, Diannetried to use the children's ideas. When the children didn'twant to participate in the going to market, saying that thestores weren't open, Dianne handled the potential problem inrole and tried to incorporate the idea in the drama. Later,Dianne consented to working with the idea that one child (thentwo others) had chopped down the trees, and, eventually, thateveryone should go to jail. Second, Dianne attempted toencourage the children to consider a meaningful issue when the71children wanted to find out who chopped down the trees and shequestioned, "What if we get the wrong person? We have to thinkabout that carefully." (Unfortunately, this question was notdealt with because, at that point, the child volunteered that hewas the culprit. However, the thinking could have been directedto "Why did you do it?".) Third, Dianne employed tension duringtoday's session (with the announcement that 200 trees had beenchopped down). With this introduction of tension, Diannestepped courageously forward.72February 28, Session #8When Dianne told the children that they were going to dodrama, they complained and groaned openly today -- this promptedDianne to ask them what they didn't like about drama. Thechildren's replies were honest.Children: I don't like drawing....I don't like the talking(pretending to talk to the people)....I don't like thedrama....We have to walk around, keep on walking, keep onwalking....I hate it when we have to walk and talk....I hate itwhen you have to talk to other people and do A,Bs....I don'tlike walking back and forth so many times (to the rug)....Dianne: I thought today we would stop going back and forth'cause I find that going back and forth is really a problem, soI'm going to try to find another way of going from pretend tojust doing the stuff that we need to do. (Someone suggests thatthey just shouldn't do drama.)....There's something else Iwanted to ask you about...(Dianne reviews the tree chopping, theconfessions of the three people, and the talk about punishment.)73Dianne tried to encourage thought about telling the truth(as a result of our audiotaped review after the last session),but the children were not eager to involve themselves. WhenDianne continued and asked, "Should we pretend that we'repolicemen?" some of the children responded with a subdued "Yah"and some with a lethargic "No."Dianne: Most aren't interested in doing this, so let's have thepeople who want to pretend to be a policeman find apartner....(There is commotion and Dianne tries to geteveryone's attention.)...I want you to pretend you're talking toyour policeman buddies about someone who has told the truth...A few children participated in this activity. Diannecalled the group together again and proceeded to the next partof her plan -- the announcement by one of the children (Diannehad prearranged this) that he had found a treasure map. Dianneasked the children what they thought would happen next, and whatthey would like to have happen. While some of the group sharedtheir ideas, several went to their desks and took out their mathbooks. Meanwhile, one child had gone to a corner and started topretend to dig with a real shovel kept there (and others quicklyjoined him). Dianne brought them back to the group stating,74"Lonny and his team were digging and they dug and dug and theyfound a huge, huge chest filled with -- "Children: Gold!Dianne: And -- what else? (They offer many ideas.) Goodtownspeople, what are we going to do with this treasure?....Iwant you to find a partner and discuss what you are going todo....(some children groan, don't want to participate).While the children shared their ideas and voted on theirfavourite one, a child went off to dig again. Dianne called himback to the group telling him, "No. We're not doing the dramapart -- we're doing the talking part before the drama." Thechildren were restless by now, and Dianne had to stop often todiscipline. At this point, Dianne gave each child paper andtold them to draw a picture about what they wanted to havehappen with the treasure. Although the children werediscontented with having to do this task, their ideas on paperwere interesting (Use magic to open the treasure....Take it tosee if it's real, then give it to the poor people....The goldwill blow up and all the people will share the money....etc.)Later, when the pictures had been displayed, Dianne toldthe children that she thought last week's drama had been too75hard and that today's was more fun. In response to her comment,one child offered, "Can we do something funner?" Dianne ignoredthe question and continued to the next stage.Dianne:^There's a rumour....the king has heard about thistreasure, and you know what he said? He says he's going to besending a messenger to us because he wants the treasure. (Thereare several gasps from the children.)Child: But we don't know where it is.Child: I hid it. I digged.Dianne: Did you hide it again? Well, what are we going to do?Child: Pretend we don't have it.Dianne: But he knows we have it. But does he know where themoney is?Child: Yes! I told him! (Several people run to the corner todig.)Dianne: O.K. Can all the children come back here?Child: We're not children!Dianne rephrased her question to replace the word"children" with "grown-ups" and she asked the main digger tocome and report to everyone.Child: I digged and digged and it's really down deep.76Dianne: Does Noni know where it (the money/gold) really is?Child: No. (The bell rings and the session is over.)Again, today's session showed many signs of progress, eventhough the beginning was unsuccessful. When Dianne tried to re-discuss the honesty issue from last week's drama time, thechildren were not interested, nor were they eager to bepolicemen. I think the children had grown weary of the village,the reviews, the slow, step by step, sequencing of events, andtalk. Today Dianne worked hard at staying away from thereprimanding and the interruptions (she ignored the children whoindicated that they would do math instead), and she allowed roomfor the children to be heard, for their own ideas to be used(Dianne incorporated Lonny's idea of digging with the shovel,and, at the end of the session, she encouraged those who had runoff to do more digging to report back to the group). For thesecond time, Dianne added tension to the drama: by way of thediscovery of a treasure map, and by way of the rumour that theking knows about and wants the treasure. The children did notquestion the return of the king to the drama today, perhapsbecause they could see that Dianne was listening to them andallowing them opportunities for the active development of their77own ideas -- I believe that it is the active expression of theircreative ideas that the children desired.78March 13, Session #9Because there was a new child in the class, Dianne askedeveryone to help explain drama and the events of the pastsessions so that he would be somewhat informed. When the reviewbrings the class to the finding of the treasure map and therumour that the king wanted the treasure, Dianne signalled fora grade two (year 3) student to come into the classroom and reada letter from King Charles (all of this was arranged by Dianneearlier). The letter indicated that the king must receive thetreasure today or else dire consequences would follow.While the children and Dianne discussed possible solutionsto the problem, one child slipped away to the corner, picked upthe shovel and began to dig (he was the original digger duringthe last session).Dianne: Wait a minute! Do we want citizen Lonny going out anddigging up the gold?Children: Tall!Dianne: What will we do then?79The discussion that ensued revolved around trust -- couldcitizen Lonny be trusted to dig up the gold by himself (severalchildren offered to go along and watch him) -- what if everyoneran off with the money? Enthusiastic participation lead tocommotion that was too rough -- one child was bumped and beganto cry. Dianne called the group together to talk about peoplegetting scared and hurt when activities get out of hand (Diannerefers to the incident which occurred in the Fall when a childwas frightened as the others tried to imprison her in a pretendjail outdoors).When Dianne had settled the injured child, she told theclass that she wanted them to compose a letter to King Charles.In order to think of ideas for the letter, Dianne placed thechildren with partners (she selected the pairing) andeventually, although the children had become restless again, alist of ideas was compiled (Say we're sorry....Give the treasureback....Tell the truth....The treasure falls in the water,people dive in for it and are eaten by sharks....). Followinga vote which determined that the most popular thing to tell theking was the water/sharks idea, Dianne began to write the classletter to the king. One child insisted that the treasure could80not be in the ocean because he and Lonny had dug with the shoveland buried the treasure. Noisy arguments erupted. Dianneattempted to regain everyone's attention, then chose to give thechildren paper so that they could show/tell what happened to thetreasure. Prior to the bell, each child shared his/her pictureand/or letter with the class.Dianne's review notes (written following her observation oftoday's video) provide food for thought: "I went into thislesson with much less on paper, feeling less prepared, but itfelt like my best lesson so far for me being open to theirsuggestions and allowing them to move the action of the dramathemselves."Indeed -- Dianne moved forward today. Because shecontinued to hear the children's ideas and to provide freedomfor the creative and active exploration of their ideas, trustwas growing. The children were allowing themselves to placetheir trust in Dianne, and Dianne was allowing herself to placetrust in the children -- she was, in fact, relinquishing some ofher control. And today, the children did not complain aboutbeing asked to draw pictures.81PART FIVEDISAPPOINTMENTS82March 27, Session #10Dianne (following a brief review of the last drama session): Iwanted to tell you that the king got your letters -- and Ithought we might have a new adventure in our drama and you couldpretend to be the advisors to the king....The king has heardabout all this treasure going overboard and he's pretty upsetand he doesn't know what to do...he want to call together hisadvisors to ask for their help. You wouldn't be meeting him asthe villagers, but as the advisors -- the wise men who arearound the king. (There is a lot of talk that is irrelevant tothis issue, so Dianne stops and tries to regain everyone'sattention.) What kind of advisor would you be if you lived inthe castle close to the king?Child: I'd be scared.Dianne: No, you wouldn't be scared, you'd be a helper to, raise your hands if you have some ideas about beinga helper to the king.Children: Wash dishes....guard the the princess,(etc.)....Guard his room....83Dianne: O.K. I'd like you to close your eyes and think aboutthe room where the king is going to meet with all hishelpers....(Dianne prods the children's imaginations withseveral suggestions; then, she asks for their ideas whichreflect things that are actually in the classroom -- Dianne re-defines the task and they offer new ideas: people standing upand chairs....)Eventually, the children asked, "Who is the king?" WhenDianne replied that she was going to be the king, the childrenshowed disappointment. Dianne helped the children to determinetheir roles, then everyone rearranged desks so that there weretwo rows facing each other, side by side down the centre of theroom, and a throne was constructed out of plastic crates and achair and pillows. The children selected items from the costumebarrel, and Dianne showed them a medallion which she would wearto indicate that she was the king, not Ms. D. Dianne reviewedwhat was about to happen, the children sat at the long table(the desks), and Dianne went to the throne.Dianne: Good morning, my royal subjects! ...How are you thismorning?Children: Good morning....Fine....84Dianne: I have come this morning to tell you of my terribleproblem. As you know, many years ago, I did a very bad thing.I lied to one of the fairies in our land. She said she wouldn'tpunish me if I'd give her a lot of money...I didn't give her themoney and I lost the money -- that bad, mad fairy took away myfirst child and I haven't seen my child for many years. Nowwhen citizen Jeff, in that town of Apple Grove, found that mapshowing where the money was buried, I was very happy....and whenthat money went to the bottom of the sea, I was very upsetagain....I don't know what to do....I need your help....Child: We could go together and kill the sharks.Dianne: But there are many, many sharks.Child: We could get submarines.Dianne: What are submarines? (Children try to explain.) Ihave never heard of this -- this sounds like a machine from thefuture. (A few children have left the desks and have gone backto the barrel to look for more costuming.)....Perhaps my loyaladvisors would talk amongst themselves about what to do...(Morechildren go to the costume barrel.) Wait a minute! Wh000aaaa!Ease up on the costumes, please. No more costumes....I'm out ofrole now...I'm Ms. D. (Dianne tries to get everyone back on task85but the costumes are a strong attraction -- she tells everyoneto get one piece of costuming so they can get that out of theway, and she announces that there will be no additions orchanges in costume after this. Finally, the children take theirseats again and the drama resumes. The children are restless,however, and one child has become particularly disruptive.Dianne chooses to recognize him as being the court jester andsuggests that he do some clowning for everyone; when the"jester's" silliness becomes too extreme, Dianne calls the groupover to the out-of-role rug.)Dianne (after a review is interrupted by several disciplinarymeasures): ....O.K. I have an idea -- I want you to...Child: Draw a picture.Dianne: Yes. Draw a picture of the solution...of what we'regoing to do (the children groan).Before the children began to draw their pictures, Diannetold them that the mad fairy had written her (the king) a letterindicating that the solution must be a kind and good one, not abloody, violent one; otherwise, and evil spell would be cast oneveryone. While the class busied themselves with the drawing,some of the children began to express serious concern about86aspects of Dianne's story (the king's story about the childhaving been stolen by the mad fairy). Several questions wereasked, and comments such as this one were volunteered.Child: You know what? In real life a seven year old went to astore and someone took her and he raped her.While the pictures/ideas were being shared, three children(who had been maintaining their roles as guards) finallysucceeded in getting Dianne's attention and insisted that themad fairy had arrived. Dianne attempted to talk her way aroundthis and, in the end, said that the mad fairy was invisible andno one could see her. But the three guards were not about togive up -- before long, they began to peer through small circlesof colored cellophane paper and announced that they could seethe fairy with their magic glass. Meanwhile, Dianne continuedto wade her way through the sharing of the drawings.Eventually, before the bell ended the session, the group brieflydiscussed today's drama. One child commented that he hadn'tenjoyed the drama because he "didn't get to do much being theprince," then that same child gave Dianne a container which hesaid had the money inside. He told Dianne that he had dug it upand that now she could get her baby back. Others continued to87express concern about the stolen child: "....the fairy mighthave killed him....or tortured him..." At this point, Dianneassured everyone that the fairy wasn't a bad fairy -- she wasjust a mad fairy.It is my belief that today's session was not a satisfyingone for the children or, after reflection, for Dianne. As faras the children were concerned, they were back to listeningwhile Dianne talked, and, primarily, it was Dianne's ideas thatwere being discussed. Also, I don't think the children wereclear about being advisors (and not villagers, Dianne had toldthem). For Dianne, there was dissatisfaction because thechildren were restless, disruptive and often disinterestedagain. Today Dianne had reverted to being too much in controland overly planned -- there was not enough room for thechildren's own active responses. Clearly, for example, thethree "guards" wanted to involve themselves actively with theirown ideas when they persisted with the notion that they couldsee the fairy. Another difficulty arose with the costumes.Ultimately, the problem was resolved somewhat, but, in themeantime, it had been interruptive. The children should havebeen given clear instructions about the use of costuming prior88to the beginning of the drama; however, this was a first trywith costumes, so it was a learning experience. (In fact,costumes are tricky to incorporate because they can bedistracting.) Behaviour problems were difficult for Diannetoday. Although she tried to handle them within the context ofthe drama (the "jester" episode, for example), Dianne wasn'table to spontaneously think of meaningful dialogue that mighthave given the action a more worthwhile focus.The issue of the stolen child again raises the problem ofreal versus pretend. While I listened to the children, as theyexpressed their concerns, I wondered whether they were uncertainabout Dianne's story -- did they think any of it was real?Today's session held positive bits, too, however: thesetting up of the room, the attempt at costuming, the use oftension through the story of the mad fairy, and the effort tosteer the children away from using violent solutions in theirpictures. So, amid the disappointments there flickered glimmersof light.89April 3, Session #11Prior to the beginning to this session, Dianne and thechildren reviewed the events of the previous drama. The partsthat the children recall are the ones in which they themselveswere actively involved -- seeing the mad fairy, using the magicglass, digging up the gold (and offering the container to Dianneat the end of the session). Dianne attempted to establish whatthe king did last week, but no one had an answer. She re-phrased her question.Dianne: Didn't the king meet with someone last week? Who didhe meet with?Children: Yah....The guards....The fairy....(then, after moreprodding from Dianne) He met with all the people who help him.While Dianne tried to review who had been in the room , withthe king when the meeting happened, she had to stop often inorder to tell children to listen.Dianne: Do you want to do drama today, you guys?Children: NO0001 (A couple of children quietly say yes.)90Dianne: ....Doing drama takes concentration and if you can'tconcentrate on what's happening here, then maybe we can't, last week, did the mad fairy finally get her moneyback?Children: No. (One says yes -- the one who dug up the gold andpresented the container to Dianne.)Dianne (to the child who answered "yes"): And how did she getthe money back?Child: I went down to the bottom of the ocean and I got themoney.Dianne: How did you get the sharks to leave you alone?Child: Because I talk to them. (Others laugh.)Dianne: Did you do magic on the sharks? (He nods.)The children moved the focus of the discussion to the fairy-- they wanted to know why the mad fairy took Dianne's child(Dianne's, not the king's). One child said that the child wastaken because Dianne lied. Another child questioned the realityof the story.Child: That wasn't for real....91Dianne: Oh yes. That was for real. The king and queen had notseen Roland (the name Dianne has used for the stolen child) forten years...and now, Roland is back at the castle....Child: Did you kill the mad fairy?Dianne: ....N00000...fairies don't die....While Dianne continued with further discussion about thefairy and the letter requesting a kind and good solution to theking's problem about the lost money, the children becameincreasingly restless and inattentive. Dianne stopped thediscussion and sent the children to their desks for a quiettime. Eventually, Dianne appointed two children to go to theothers and ask, "Do you want to do drama?" Those who chose toparticipate met with Dianne (about 7 or 8 children), and therest of the children stayed at their desks to do journals.Dianne could not sustain the interest of the drama group and,finally, she called the effort to a close.In the afternoon, Dianne told the class that there weresome questions she wanted to ask them about drama. Initially,the children were upset because they thought they were going tohave to do drama again; however, when Dianne assured them that92this was not the case, they presented their reasons fordisliking drama.Children: We have to go back and talk.... We had to go to ourdesks.... I hate drama 'cause it's so boring....Dianne: Well last week you didn't seem bored....Child: It's because this time I had to sit on the carpet andtalk.Dianne: Well we have to do that just to get going.Child: NO! A little bit...You talk about a little bit -- butwe talk about it longer.Dianne: Well, did we talk too long this morning?Children: YAH!Dianne: ....O.K....but, you see, even now we have people whoare fooling around....Now...if we're going to do drama and we'regoing to sort this out, then I need your help. I can't makedrama better unless I have your help.Child: It was so boring sitting on the carpet -- and talking,talking, talking.Dianne: O.K. You felt there was too much talking.Child: And you never got to DO anything!Children: YAAAH!93Dianne: O.K. There's too much talking. What else?Child: We don't get to do fun things.Dianne: Last week we didn't sit on the carpet the whole time.Child: We sat at our desks for a long time (at the desks thathad been placed side by side for the meeting).Dianne: O.K. Now, I have a question. There was a suggestionthis morning that the mad fairy had put a spell on the king, andI ...(the children begin to complain again )....Do you want todo the drama...?Children (loudly): N0000001 (Dianne asks the children to cleanout their desks, then gives them choice time.)The children's reasons for not wanting to do drama clearlydescribe most of the problems that occurred in this session(these problems were an extension of the difficulties from theprevious drama time: too much talking (by Dianne), not enoughaction. The children were not being given enough active,creative space. Also, I think the children had becomedistrusting again, because of that key issue of real versuspretend. Today, they attempted to sort out any confusion aboutDianne's story regarding the stolen child; unfortunately, Diannetold them, "Oh yes. That was for real...." This is a question94of terminology and meaning, as I have indicated earlier -- it isan important issue that warrants ample consideration by anyadult who works with children.Dianne's review notes for this session include thefollowing: "....One of the things that was troubling me....wasthat I had picked an issue and was going to tailor a drama tothat issue. To me this felt like I was backing into the dramaand 'manipulating' them somehow....I realize I want to talk toR. about we have had many discussions of 'following thekids' rather than 'imposing teacher prepared units' on kids...."95PART SIXTRIALS WITH LITERATURE96April 10 and April 16, Sessions #12 and #13April 10 marked the first time Dianne used literature as abase for drama. She began the session by reading a portion ofRumplestiltskin (without telling the children the title),stopping the story at the point where Rumplestiltskin tells thequeen that she must guess his name or he will take her firstbaby. One child quietly says that he knows the story, andanother child asks whether they could do their journals instead;but, Dianne ontinues.Dianne: So, the queen didn't know what?Child: It's just like the story we did on the king.Dianne: It's a little bit like that story....Following further discussion, Dianne told the class thatthe queen wanted to call her royal advisors together for asecret meeting so that she could be helped with her problem ofhaving to find out the little man's name. When Dianne asked thechildren if they would like to be the queen's advisors, a few ofthem answer, "Yah," and several insist, "No. No drama. Nodrama." Regardless of the showing of disinterest, Dianne97proceeded and helped the children to choose roles forthemselves -- one child wanted to be the queen, but Dianne toldher that she needed to be the queen; another child asked to bethe little man, but Dianne informed him that there would be nolittle man in this drama. Other children selected roles similarto the ones they had taken in previous dramas (prince, guard,knight, princess, etc.). The next steps involved the class inrearranging the room (a "pillar" in the middle to hold up thecastle roof, a flag on the pillar, desks in a circle, and athrone), and in choosing a costume piece. For the entrance tothe meeting place, Dianne quietly jingled a tambourine whileeveryone walked in silently (she had told them that it was themiddle of the night and no one must hear them).When the children (advisors) were seated at the desks,Dianne (the queen) began to explain her problem, and, in doingso, she started to re-tell the story.Child (interrupts Dianne): You told us! You told us! Youdon't have to make it long!Dianne continued with her story, then encouraged thechildren to suggest what she (the queen) could do. Meanwhile,one child had gone off to the door to listen -- he came rushing98back, announcing, "He's coming! The little man is coming!"Initially, Dianne tried to carry on and considered incorporatingthe idea into the meeting; instead, though, she decided to takethe children over to the rug to talk about the arrival of thelittle man and to ask for ideas about how to deal with him.(One child interrupted and asked, "Can we do journals?") Whilethe children talked (and were losing interest quickly), Diannearranged for a boy to be the little man when they returned tothe drama space -- the meeting eventually resumed and the boy,in role as the little man, made his announcement.Child: Good evening...I want the child...guess my name.Dianne: Well, let's try to guess.Children:^Darryl....That's Darryl....Darryl C^ LittleMan....Leprechaun....We give up.Once the little man had departed, the children began tosocialize boisterously and to make up silly names. AlthoughDianne tried to win the children's attention by pretending tocry (in role as the queen), they were not willing to listen. Asa result, Dianne stopped the drama and, following furtherdiscussion and increased restlessness, asked the children to99write a letter (or do a picture, or both) to the queen to tellher how she could find out the little man's name.Again, the same problems were re-surfacing. The childrendid not want to be subjected continually to so much talking;they wanted their ideas to be used, and they wanted action --they wanted to DO something. Later, during our audiotapedreview, Dianne admitted that she found it difficult to go withthe children's ideas (thereby relinquishing her own control) andshe realized that she was saying "no" and "yes, but..." toooften -- she understood the children's frustrations. Also,Dianne confided that she often resorted to calling the childrenover to the out-of-role rug for a discussion so that she couldhave time to collect herself -- this, she admitted, was hertactic often when she couldn't think of a means of working withthe children's spontaneous ideas.Later in the month, on April 16, Dianne attempted to doanother drama based on literature -- this time, The GreatQuillow. Basically, the results were the same as they had beenfor Rumplestiltskin. The children were disinterested anddisruptive when Dianne attempted to instigate a sharing ofideas, and, often, disciplining interrupted discussion. Again,100the session ended with the drawing and sharing of pictures.Dianne was obviously disheartened, but, through reflectivediscussions, we continued to hammer away at these difficultrealities of too much talking, no real action, not enoughspontaneous use of the children's ideas. Also, there seemed tobe the notion, in Dianne's mind, that a story should be started,then the drama should provide an ending. Why not, I suggested,try to veer away from this pattern and, instead, take a snipfrom a story and try to do something different with it?101May 1, Session #14Today Dianne briefly told a version of The Boy who CriedWolf. Following the story telling, Dianne asked for a few ideasregarding what to do about the children in the story; then, shedetermined that the class should be villagers. Eventually,Dianne asked the children (at this point they had costumingagain) to share their village identities; however, rather thando what Dianne had requested, the class resorted to presentingideas about solving the problem (i.e., capture all the wolves,put the kids in jail, kill the children and the wolves, shootthe wolves). One child said that he was going to be a wolf andDianne told him maybe they could be wolves later. In themeantime, though, Dianne tried to steer the group in anotherdirection.Dianne: ....Don't you adults try to keep your children awayfrom the forest?Children:^....I spank them....Ground them....They don'tlisten....Keep them in their rooms....Put them in the attic withno windows....Make somebody adopt them....Put them in a cage....102Dianne continued to talk, then paused, uncertain of what todo next. (At this point, one child asked if they could drawpictures now.) Dianne decided that, once all the costumes wereput away, everyone could be wolves. The remainder of thesession focussed on the howling wolves as hunters who killed andate a child; following this wolf scenario, Dianne tried toengage the children in further discussion ("What would thewolves do when the hunters come?"). The drama time ended withpicture drawing.Dianne informed me later (during our audiotaped review)that she had chosen this story to work with because it focussedon the responsibility of children; however, she wasn't able toguide the group in that direction during the drama time.Instead, the children wanted to dwell on violence (althoughDianne had chosen to engage the wolves in killing a child) andDianne admitted that she was quite weary of such results. WhenI suggested that Dianne needed to try to steer the children awayfrom their focus on violence, she replied, "I know, but everytime I have to do battle with that'sexhausting....and I get caught between taking their ideas anddeciding which one I'm going to jump in and run with....when do103you choose one?....which child's idea do you choose?...."Again, I mentioned the idea of trying to use snips of a story;further to this, I suggested that Dianne should consider doingtableaux -- making frozen (still) scenes of parts of a story,with the children in the scenes (as though preparing to becaptured by a camera for a photograph).Although the class had enjoyed being wolves (and Dianne hadused a child's idea), potential key issues were missed duringthis session -- what about the importance of telling the truth?Also, the children's ideas seemed to suggest that possibly theirproblems at home were being handled punitively and aggressively-- what about steering the drama in the direction of learning todeal with problems in positive, cooperative ways? However, herelie the issues of spontaneity and skilled questioning --important but difficult territories for any teacher.104May 8, Session #15For the final trial with literature, Dianne used The PiedPiper. This time, Dianne had read the story to the children theday before drama was scheduled; therefore, the children didn'thave to spend a lot of time sitting and listening. And todayDianne did take tiny snips of the story -- she had selected fourscenes to work with. Following explanation and demonstration,Dianne involved the children in doing tableaux and usingpretend cameras to take pictures of their creations. Later,after the class had shared their suggestions for getting thechildren back from the Pied Piper, Dianne bravely jumped in withone of the ideas -- before long, everyone was climbing amountain and trying to break through a magic wall of rock inorder to reach the Pied Piper and the stolen children.Dianne felt somewhat frustrated about the direction of thedrama -- for her there had been no conclusion, no resolve (thegroup never did reach the Pied Piper -- Dianne had asked them tostop so they could discuss the situation and draw picturesand/or write letters). The children, however, seemed to love105it. In fact, I think they enjoyed this entire session -- therewas no groaning, no restless or disruptive behaviour. Today,the children were not^subjected to lengthy talks or boringperiods of uninvolvement; instead, they were given theopportunity to participate actively in a variety of experiences.106PART SEVENREFLECTIONS AND CONNECTIONS107As Dianne pointed out earlier in the implementation,"Teachers tend to do what is safe." With the exception of a fewoccasions, Dianne resorted to playing it safe when she used roledrama in her classroom -- through the use of discussion (and,often, talking only by Dianne), stopping the drama and callingthe children back to the out-of-role rug, writing lists on chartpaper, assigning the drawing of pictures/writing of letters, andplanning (so that the dramas had a beginning, a middle and anend and, often, a continuing story for use in upcomingsessions), Dianne managed to maintain a familiar classroommanagement kind of control. The children sensed Dianne'scontrol. They quickly learned, I think, that there was no pointin extending their imaginations and in being eager to do dramabecause Dianne's plans were set and their own ideas were notgoing to be acted upon.Dianne was aware of her fear of relinquishing control.Also, she realized that she had not yet learned to control (inthe guiding sense of the word) from within the drama. Although108Dianne attempted to use teacher-in-role (and to steer the dramafrom within), she discovered that the method is not free offlaws. She confided, "It's hard to be the teacher and be theother (role) and keep the whole thing going....Interpretingtheir reactions when I am so much worrying about myself and mybehaviour/performance is one of the problems." Teacher-in-roleis a valuable tool, but, as Dianne learned, it is a tool whichcan be damaging if not used sparingly, with great care -- thisis my opinion. I believe that even a teacher in role as anunassuming character can be too domineering -- just by the verynature of the teacher-pupil relationship, regardless of whatrole the teacher adopts, the children are going to be somewhatstifled if the teacher is a constant participant in the drama.Teacher-in-role is a successful guiding tool, in my opinion, ifthe teacher is often out of the drama altogether, and has theopportunity to observe the children as they carry the drama ontheir own.Regardless of the approach taken to the use of teacher-in-role, however, the tool must go hand in hand with skilled,spontaneous questioning. This pairing is what can make roledrama the meaningful, thought-provoking learning experience that109it should be. Here we have what is probably the most crucial ofthe problems which role drama holds for teachers -- to beskilled with questioning is difficult, but to be skilled withspontaneous questioning is extremely tough. For teachers, whoare trained to be excellent at planning and working inunits/themes, spontaneity does not come easily.During one of three overview discussions, Dianne told methat, prior to the implementation, she had no idea of what gradeone role drama would look like. "I hadn't seen any examples ofwork with small children, and I hadn't participated as apractising teacher (in drama) with children so I had nothing togo on." Further, Dianne expressed her disappointment to mebecause her expectations for role drama hadn't been realized --she knew that the drama sessions should have provided worthwhilelearning experiences for the children; however, Diannemaintained that she felt cheated and she sensed that thechildren felt cheated, too.To begin with, Dianne explained, the summer course (ENED335) had not prepared her for the realities of theimplementation of role drama. "Our only field of operation waswith adults...seeing a few ace teachers (drama specialists such110as Dorothy Heathcote) on film. We didn't get to see any of therough edges of what the process was going to look like -- of howwe were going to stumble and fall." Dianne added, "I really dowonder -- how would I put it together if I didn't have someone(S. -- a colleague, and myself) to talk to. I don't know how Iwould do it."More specifically, Dianne suggested that perhaps ENED 335could offer students (training teachers) more opportunities toexperience the leadership role -- the teacher role -- ratherthan the usual involvments as the child/pupil. Peerworkshopping should be utilized as a means of providing studentswith practise in the teacher role, too, Dianne added, and forthe purpose of reviewing and discussing reading assignments.And readings, Dianne said, should be better tailored to thelevel of the course -- there should be a more broad, butselected, exposure to different scholars so that studentsreceive a clear flavour of each. Also, Dianne stressed theimportance of separating elementary teachers from secondaryteachers for the purpose of drama in education training (and,more specifically, separating the elementary sections intoprimary and intermediate).111I concur with Dianne's emphasis on the necessity for dramain education students to receive considerable practise in theleadership/teacher role. In keeping with this belief, I suggestthat, somehow, teachers training to use role drama should begiven the opportunity to practise working with children --during the summer session, perhaps children could be registeredfor a summer drama day camp which would operate under theumbrella of ENED 335 (and ENED 435, the advanced drama ineducation course). Also, Dianne and I discussed the possibilityof ENED 335 students (teachers in training) working in twos orthrees when practising to use role drama with children so that,while one teaches, the other observes (and vise versa), followedby overview discussions and , then, a sharing of experienceswith the entire ENED 335 group (these methods could be used forENED 435, too). During the fall/winter session, many studentsare employed teachers and can work with the children in theirown classrooms (but I think that even these teachers shouldpractise using role drama in pairs, or threes, taking time tovisit each other's classrooms); however, some students do nothave classes to practise with -- a "buddy system" such as theone I have described would address this need. Daytime112undergraduate students (enrolled in drama in education courses)who are not yet employed as teachers should be assignedclassrooms so that they, too, can practise using role drama withchildren (again, in pairs). Only through considerable practisein using role drama with children will teachers (or trainingteachers) learn to become skilled with spontaneous questioningand comfortable with relinquishing control. In support of thissystem, Dianne emphasizes, "When you're teaching, you can't seeeverything -- another can observe what one misses."Adequate teacher training for drama in education iscrucial. In Dianne's words, "Role drama is a neat idea, butit's so easy to be discouraged with it if teachers don't knowenough about how to use it. It's essential to give people(teachers in training) support during the time they are learningto teach -- like learning to drive a car, or to ride a bike andhaving help finding your balance."113EPILOGUEAt the beginning of this implementation, Dianne, like manyteachers, was reluctant to use role drama in her classroom;however, because she realized role drama's value as a teachingtool, she was will ing to set aside her hesitancies and becomethe focus of this project. Now, following Dianne's braveefforts, I think it is fair to say that we have a clear pictureof the real problems which role drama can pose for classroomteachers -- all of which could be addressed through teachertraining courses.Change does not come easily -- teachers are often mostcomfortable using their own familiar methods in the classroom.Morgan and Saxton (1987) support this view and add that it ispossible to train teachers in the kind of thinking and planningthat leads to successful drama teaching. Teachers areconcerned, at some level, with problems of control andpredictability. Heathcote (1984) is more specific. In herdiscussion of the threats which drama holds for teachers, sheincludes the following as being security thresholds: the noise114level, the space level, decision-making, and subject interestsof the teacher (Dianne clearly demonstrated her need to controleach of these thresholds). Another common threat for teachersis the use of teacher-in-role. The idea of role-takingfrightens uninformed teachers who incorrectly presume that theymust be skilled actors in order to use role drama and teacher-in-role (Heathcote, 1984, and Bolton, 1979). Dianne, forexample, acknowledged that she was overly concerned about herown "performance" when she tried to use teacher-in-role.(Again, I stress my belief that teacher-in-role can be misused.)However, the most difficult aspect of teacher-in-role (and out-of-role) is the necessity for skilled, spontaneous questioningthrough which the teacher applies pressure and deepens thechildren's experiences (Davies, 1987).As Dianne emphasized, "Teachers tend to do what is safe."It is time for drama educators to see the realities of roledrama in the classroom -- perhaps this clearer vision will allowthem to successfully guide teachers towards the notion that, notonly is role drama a valuable teaching tool, it is non-threatening and reliable, too.115BIBLIOGRAPHYBolton, Gavin (1986) Selected Writings on Drama in Education.London: Longman.Bolton, Gavin (1979) Towards a Theory of Drama in Education.London: Longman.Courtney, Richard (1980) The Dramatic Curriculum. London,Ontario: University of Western Ontario.Davies, Geoffrey (1987) Practical Primary Drama. London:Heinemann.Heathcote, Dorothy (1984) Training teachers to use drama aseducation. In Liz Johnson & Cecily 0"Neill (Eds.),Dorothy Heathcote:  Collected Writings on Education  andDrama (pp. 26-40). London: Hutchinson.Heathcote, Dorothy (1984) Role-taking. In Liz Johnson & Cecily0"Neill (Eds.), Dorothy  Heathcote: Collected Writings  onEducation and Drama (pp. 49-53). London: Hutchinson.116Heathcote, Dorothy (1984) Subject or system? In Liz Johnson &Cecily 0"Neill (Eds.), Dorothy Heathcote: Collected Writings on Education and Drama (pp. 61-79). London:Hutchinson.Heathcote, Dorothy^(1984)^The authentic teacher and thefuture. In Liz Johnson & Cecily O"Neill (Eds.), DorothyHeathcote: Collected Writings on Education and Drama (pp.170-199). London: Hutchinson.McNeil, John D.^(1985)^Curriculum, A ComprehensiveIntroduction. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.Morgan, Norah and Saxton, Juliana (1987) Teaching Drama, A Mindof Many Wonders. London: Hutchinson.Neelands, Jonothan (1984) Making Sense of Drama, a Guide  toClassroom Practice. London: Heinemann.Nixon, Jon (1982) Drama, and the Whole Curriculum. London:Hutchinson.O"Neill, Cecily et al (1976)^Drama Guidelines.^London:Heinemann.117O"Neill, Cecily and Lambert, Alan (1982) Drama Structures.London: Hutchinson.Ormiston, Patricia (1991) Drama in Education: How successful has  the classroom implementation of drama been  inelementary schools?^Unpublished master's thesis,University of British Columbia, Vancouver.Slade, Peter (1958) An Introduction to Child Drama. London:University of London Press.Tarlington, Carole & Verriour, Patrick (1983) Offstage, Elementary Education Through Drama.^Toronto: OxfordUniversity Press.Tarlington, Carole & Verriour, Patrick (1991) Role Drama.Markham, Ontario: Pembroke.Wagner, Betty Jane (1979) Dorothy Heathcote, Drama as aLearning Medium. London: Hutchinson.Way, Brian (1967) Development Through Drama. London: Longman.118


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