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Educational drama : one teacher's search for significance 1991

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Educational Drama: One Teacher's Search for Significance By Laurie Jardine B.Ed. University of Alberta, 1979 A THESIS IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTERS OF ARTS IN THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Language Education) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1991 © LAURIE JARDINE, 1991 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT This study describes the journey of one teacher and her students through a year of change i n thinking about, planning and implementing the secondary drama program. The change occurred as a r e s u l t of a six-week summer course which I took in 1990, with leading drama theorist, Gavin Bolton. In September, 1990, I began to use the methodology and theory presented by Bolton i n my own secondary drama program for Grade Eight, Nine and Ten students. The data for the study came from the student journals, teacher/ researcher observation, interviews, samples of student writing-in-role and post-unit evaluative strategies c o l l e c t e d throughout this year of t r a n s i t i o n . The re s u l t s indicate that the change of methodology had an impact on the perceived learning outcomes for both students and teacher. As well, strong evidence surfaced to support my b e l i e f that teaching drama i n this manner has benefits which may not be e a s i l y achieved by other means. This study was written for teachers and students i n the b e l i e f that both may find a more s i g n i f i c a n t learning experience through the use of educational drama. i i i Table of Contents ABSTRACT i i TABLE OF CONTENTS i i i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v 1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY 1 Purpose . 4 Educational Significance 5 Limitations 10 D e f i n i t i o n of terms 12 Reflections on the Summer of 1990 15 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 18 3 DESIGN OF THE STUDY 32 Selection of s i t e •  32 Selection of subjects 34 Research Role 35 Data c o l l e c t i o n 35 4 ANALYSIS OF THE DATA 39 Introduction 39 Planning 39 Co-learner . .41 Change of teaching style 42 5 THE YEAR: A DESCRIPTIVE NARRATIVE OF THE JOURNEY 45 6 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 99 iv Summary 99 Conclusions 100 Implications 105 Recommendations for further study 107 Concluding Remarks 109 Epilogue 109 REFERENCES 110 APPENDIX A Lesson Sequence: "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 113 APPENDIX B Interview with Grade Ten Students 132 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v This journey has been graced by many encounters with special people. Thank you... Dr. Patrick Verriour, for your own vi s i o n . Dr. Jean Barman, for your guiding questions. Dr. Carl Leggo, for your enthusiasm for journeys. Susann Baum, for sharing the steps. Albert Murphy, for steady winds. 1 1. Background to the Study To embark on a journey with a destination in mind i s exciting and enticing, but f a i r l y predictable. To begin a journey whose outcome i s unclear but i n v i t i n g i s an adventure. People undertake adventures when the r e a l i t y of their l i v e s becomes too predictable, too s t a i d . A great number of professional educators take short t r i p s , but substantially fewer actually ready themselves for a journey, e s p e c i a l l y i f they know that there may be no reason to return to their present location. However, recent trends i n educational thinking encourage educators to discover many new ideas, methodologies, and challenges i n the world of teaching, and change i s within reach, for drama educators p a r t i c u l a r l y . Drama education seems to be a term which i s clear and uncomplicated. A gentle probe beneath the surface, however, reveals a m u l t i p l i c i t y of questions, c o n f l i c t i n g theories and confused, ungrounded practices. The ambiguity which surrounds the study and teaching of drama exists for several reasons: 1) i t i s a creative art, whose form i s naturally t r a n s i t i o n a l ; 2) i t i s a r e l a t i v e infant on the c u r r i c u l a r agenda; 2 3) a single approach has yet to be presented which can be agreed upon by the majority of pr a c t i t i o n e r s ; 4) a s i g n i f i c a n t absence of communication exists between theorists and p r a c t i t i o n e r s ; and 5) teacher t r a i n i n g i n s t i t u t e s are negligent and tardy i n exploring and endorsing a wider range of s p e c i f i c approaches. How can drama teachers continue to build on the foundation set by the drama pioneers of the second half of thi s century? It seems to me that the only possible way for educational drama to continue to exis t is by s h i f t i n g the balance regarding learning objectives. For some time the trend in drama education has been to move unquestioningly toward a primarily skills-based curriculum. It has been suggested that drama become an examinable subject, with r i g i d c r i t e r i a to be met. This i s , of course, a long way from the enervating chaos of the late s i x t i e s and early seventies when individual expression, at any cost, was the choice. However, the skil l s - b a s e d only approach may lead to a chaos of i t s own. Before too many ra d i c a l moves are made, i t might be useful to assess what i s ri g h t about the many techniques and theories that currently e x i s t , and perhaps, to discover a way to meld them more cl o s e l y to find the ri g h t 3 f i t for the coming decades. This study re s u l t s from my increasing d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the nature and quality of the work displayed by my secondary drama students. I grew t i r e d of the r e p e t i t i v e theatre games which, while amusing, led nowhere. In improvisation, the students f e l t compelled to demonstrate Hollywood mimicry and soap-opera dramatics. Work with text at this l e v e l (Grade Eight, Nine and Ten) had no r e l a t i o n to sincere understanding of subtext or intention, simply r e l y i n g on a r t i c u l a t i o n and oral reading a b i l i t y . However, no matter how shallow I perceived the e f f o r t s to be, the students seemed to have an insatiable appetite for the ludicrous and i n s i g n i f i c a n t . Sadly, none of the numerous workshops I attended, the material I swapped with drama colleagues, or the too-brief annual Drama Teacher's Conference provided the answers I was seeking. I wanted something that could go beyond exercises and group entertainment. I discovered through this study that what I was sensing as missing in my lessons was context. Cecily O'Neill (1989) in comments regarding B r i t i s h drama education states: We've begun to move away from... short-term, fragmented exercises and sensory experiences. Now drama teachers are aiming to set up work which w i l l 4 allow for the growth of the s i g n i f i c a n t context in which meaning may be negotiated. (p.211) I enroled at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia in pursuit of a remedy - a tonic - which would return v i t a l i t y and v a l i d i t y to my teaching. As part of my program of studies I completed a six-week summer course with noted B r i t i s h scholar, Gavin Bolton. The experience of this single class provided me with the framework I needed to return to my classroom with a renewed s p i r i t of certainty that i t was possible to teach drama i n a s i g n i f i c a n t , highly participatory way. The new approach drove t h i s entire study and w i l l receive elaboration throughout the document. Purpose of the study The intention of thi s study i s to describe the journey I began with my students in September, 1990, with the desired outcome being an affirmation that drama teachers have choices to make i n designing their programs. One of the most desired objectives i s that teachers w i l l f i n i s h reading this paper and exclaim, "I could do that!" There i s a great need for continued exploration of the way drama is used in the classroom. To date l i t t l e attention has been given to the kind of r e f l e c t i v e practices 5 theorists have long agreed are essential to drama work., although a recent study by Harpe (1991) addresses the student's perspective. My focus i s on how I as teacher/learner made changes i n my thinking as we tra v e l l e d through the year, and how the noticeable evidence of change was seen by both students and myself. The p o s s i b i l i t y exists for any drama teacher to u t i l i z e techniques and philosophy which encourage meaning which i s s i g n i f i c a n t to the students. Educational Significance An i n s i g h t f u l commentary on the attitude of many of today's students i s made by Eisner (1979) when he says: The major task i n schooling for many students i s to discover just what they need to do in order to get through at a le v e l of performance they regard as acceptable for themselves, (p.60) Opportunities ex i s t for drama teachers to help students push their levels higher. Usually, when a Grade Eight student enrols i n secondary school drama, a set of expectations e x i s t s , even though that student may have l i t t l e p r ior drama experience. When asked to say what they think drama might be about, they most frequently reply, x a c t i n g ' . This 6 s i n g l e response i s the key, or the b a r r i e r t h a t f a c e s the drama t e a c h e r . R e g a r d l e s s which methodology a t e a c h e r u s e s , e d u c a t i o n a l drama or " a c t o r - t r a i n i n g 1 , s t u d e n t s must be eased i n t o the s u b j e c t i n a c o o p e r a t i v e manner, so t h a t more than s u p e r f i c i a l r e s u l t s w i l l d e v e l o p . Without f a i l , n o v i c e s t u d e n t s e x p e c t t o be asked t o "perform*. Contemporary s t u d e n t s a r e consumers o f i n c r e d i b l y e f f e c t i v e m a r k e t i n g . Many s t u d e n t s i d o l i z e movie s t a r s , l i s t e n t o music which has become as much v i s u a l as a u d i b l e , and r e a d magazines which are h e a v i l y f a s h i o n o r i e n t e d . T h i s a d o l e s c e n t group i s b a r r a g e d w i t h i n f o r m a t i o n d i c t a t i n g s o c i a l norms o u t s i d e o f t h e i r power to r e s i s t . They are d i s p l a y some d e f i c i e n c i e s i n the a r e a s o f r e a d i n g , c r i t i c a l t h i n k i n g , s e l f - e s t e e m , group s k i l l s , and o r a l language a b i l i t y . I n a s o c i e t y which r e v e r e s the f l e e t i n g and glamorous, i t i s not d i f f i c u l t t o g r a s p why s t u d e n t s would want to emulate the " s t a r s ' they a r e i n u n d a t e d w i t h everyday. T h i s view o f s u c c e s s i s p e r p e t r a t e d by t e a c h e r s whose a r t i s t i c view i s g u i d e d by the l a t e s t American stage h i t . The c u r r e n t B r i t i s h Columbia Drama C u r r i c u l u m Guide evades the fundamental c o n c e p t s o f what i s d r a m a t i c . With i t s u l t i m a t e i n t e n t i o n to produce the s t u d e n t a c t o r , i t d i c t a t e s a d i e t o f fragmented, i s o l a t e d e x e r c i s e s , t a u g h t 7 without a context. Not only does this approach f a l l short of success, i t also leaves inexperienced teachers bewildered by i t s brevity and eventually subjected to a state of i n e r t i a . The recent popularity of Keith Johnstone's Theatre Sports technique has had the e f f e c t of providing teachers with recipe cards for survival i n the classroom. There are some observations to be made on what a steady d i e t of such a c t i v i t y promotes. Barker (1986) comments: The major l i m i t a t i o n i s that (as i n children's play) delight is the reward for playing, and the actor, given the choice, usually takes the comic path rather than the trag i c . This makes the performance very enjoyable, but l i m i t s the area of a r t i c u l a t i o n of the human condition, (p.231) It i s only by peeling away the layers of the human condition that art begins to be revealed. The v i t a l l i n k which can bring students i n touch with their learning i s content explored in context. Eisner (1979) explains: To discern what an event means requires an understanding of the context i n which i t occurs; that context requires not only some knowledge of the people involved and the circumstances within which 8 the event occurs, but in many situations something about the past, against which the p a r t i c u l a r s of the present can be placed, (p.222) The Province of B r i t i s h Columbia Ministry of Education Curriculum Guides suggest that Trust, Concentration, Observation, and Imagination are suitable areas of study. I believe that while these elements are essential to the whole picture, they must develop as a product of other explorations, not as ends in themselves. As Bolton (1985) states: "Learning i n drama i s e s s e n t i a l l y a reframing. What knowledge a student has i s placed in a new perspective" (p. 156). The present B r i t i s h Columbia Drama Curriculum i s based on a developmental model, formulated largely by Brian Way in the 1960's. Generally, his intention was to further the "growth of the i n d i v i d u a l 1 i n an educational environment, to u t i l i z e an arsenal of exercises and games to evoke a sense of structure i n the lesson, and to emphasize sensory awareness, or d i r e c t experience for the students. This approach i s sequential i n nature, assuming that students can acquire a set of s k i l l s at one grade l e v e l , then develop other s k i l l s at subsequent l e v e l s and emerge at the end " f u l l y developed'. This method i s , at best, drawn sketchily i n the current curriculum, and 9 leaves teachers without material after perhaps three months' work. I needed to find a model for my future teaching which would sustain my interest, challenge me i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , and above a l l , permit the very best quality of work from the students I would work with in years to come. S p e c i f i c a l l y , I desired my students to display a greater sense of commitment, an understanding of dramatic art, greater i n t e g r i t y toward in-depth discovery and, most importantly, confidence i n their own a b i l i t y to create drama and share the meanings of their worlds. It has become increasingly important to me to find a more s i g n i f i c a n t way to explore c r e a t i v i t y , both i n the students and myself, through the dramatic art form. In essence, "the teacher i s attempting to match the c h i l d ' s e x i s t i n g experience of play to the less familiar forms of theatre i n order to focus and deepen the c h i l d ' s learning experience" (Neelands, 1984, p.7). It i s our r e s p o n s i b i l i t y as educators to find fresh ways of framing the work to enhance opportunities for learning. In the same way, i t i s important for new research to be framed i n fresh ways to make the process and the r e s u l t s clear and accessible for the intended audience, i n th i s case, teachers. This study evolved i n a q u a l i t a t i v e 10 way because the very nature of drama is e s s e n t i a l l y r e f l e c t i v e and progressive. I quote Eisner (1979) again for the c l a r i t y in the rationale: There i s no area of human inquiry that epitomizes the q u a l i t a t i v e more than a r t i s t s do when they work... A r t i s t s inquire i n a qu a l i t a t i v e mode both i n the formulation of ends and the use of means to achieve such ends. (p.216) Limitations The l i m i t a t i o n s of the study stem from i t s a b i l i t y only to report one person's move toward a h o l i s t i c method of drama teaching. Thus the study can only provide insights into the benefits perceived by this teacher and her students. Yet, because of i t s personal voice, I hope that my experience w i l l resonate for other teachers who may see s i m i l a r i t i e s to their own experience i n my journey. This description i s not a guidepost, but a chronicle; not a prescription, but a p o s s i b i l i t y . The study was r e s t r i c t e d to one school year and, therefore, examines only i n i t i a l responses to the changes. A future study could look at long term development and progress i n one group of students. The position of teacher as researcher also 11 incorporated teacher as learner. While the study was ongoing throughout the year, my r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s were twofold: both acquiring the data and functioning as a teacher using an e n t i r e l y new methodology. Since both areas were new to me, the le v e l of expertise may be questionable. Neither teacher nor students had had previous experience with the material. I am s u f f i c i e n t l y established i n the school to have my personal standards and expectations recognized and unchallenged. A bias may ex i s t i n the perceptions of the students toward an undertaking approached e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y by me. In summary, I decided to make changes to my teaching style because I no longer believed that the work I was doing had i n t e g r i t y or that to continue on the same path would lead to an increased understanding of either myself, my students or the art form. In order to move into the future with confidence, teachers need to feel free to break away from some of the t r a d i t i o n a l ways of thinking and prepare to proceed with open minds. Benjamin (1989) writes: Society's needs of the population w i l l demand active-learning, higher cognitive s k i l l s , past- present-future focus, service learning, l i f e l o n g 12 learning, wholeperson education, coping with d i v e r s i t y , general education, t r a n s d i s c i p l i n a r y education, personalized learning, a process approach, and education for communication, (pp.8-12) If we can look at drama as a composite of a l l these parts, then drama teachers are well-poised to move ahead. D e f i n i t i o n of terms The following terms i n the f i e l d of drama i n education are presented in condensed form for the purposes of this study. Dramatic play: The dramatic playing mode occurs at the experiential end of the dramatic action continuum. It i s in this medium that the participant examines events as they are actually occurring. Performance mode: The performance mode l i e s at the opposite end of the dramatic action continuum. The purpose is to demonstrate a pa r t i c u l a r perspective to an audience, usually of co-learners. Theatre elements: It i s the manipulation of time space and action which creates symbols and c l a r i f i e s meaning. Theatre elements are integral to educational drama. Educational drama: Educational drama engages the participants i n a wide range of a c t i v i t i e s with the intention of exploring human situations. The c o l l e c t i v e experience of the participants leads to the creation of new meanings and understanding. The focus of the work l i e s i n the change i n understanding created by the experience, which i s shaped by a careful selection of the elements of the art form. Dramatic action: Dramatic action examines a narrow aspect of content deeply. The purpose i s to explore symbolic not l i t e r a l meanings to extract universal meanings. It takes place i n the present, but draws from the f i c t i t i o u s s i t u a t i o n and the imagination of the learners to bring new understanding to the participants. Context: Any content area can offer a wide variety of experiences and perspectives. It i s the p a r t i c u l a r angle or aspect that the teacher chooses to examine that forms the context of that drama. Learning areas such as meanings or subtext are the teacher's p r i o r i t y . Student involvement i s concerned with the development of the p r a c t i c a l d e t a i l s of that context. Teacher i n role (TIR): A device which places the teacher i n the dramatic a c t i v i t y alongside the students. From this p osition, the teacher can evoke, through negotiation, the d i r e c t i o n of the drama by drawing on the contributions of the students. Tableaux (depiction): A s t i l l image created by the selective use of the art form which c l a r i f i e s meaning of an event or idea. Reflection: A process integral to the understanding of the ideas explored i n the drama and how they relate to the ind i v i d u a l . Reflection can and should occur at numerous points i n the drama. Playbuilding: The development of a single theme relevant to the participants. A c o l l e c t i v e piece of work i s created through the use of dramatic conventions to convey multiple perspectives on the theme. Role playing: Individuals or groups agree to adhere to the so c i a l conventions of a p a r t i c u l a r place and time to encounter an experience pertaining to the theme. Reflections on the summer of 1990 In May, 1990, i t was suggested to teaching colleague and fellow student Susann Baum and I, that we enrol i n Gavin Bolton's summer drama course. This was to be a course for graduate students only, presumably ones with experience in role drama. We were unaware, at the time, of the real content of the course; we had both heard of Bolton, but in our ignorance had pigeon-holed him as most close l y associated with elementary drama. As the essence of Gavin Bolton's work, began to reveal i t s e l f to us over the six weeks of the course, we underwent a tremendously powerful s h i f t i n thinking. Our i n i t i a l scepticism before beginning the course was almost acerbic, i n fact, c e r t a i n colleagues had even gone so far as to query i n puzzled tones why we would "go i n for that sort of thing"! It was not u n t i l the f i r s t week of class had passed that the j o l t of recognition occurred. This was indeed going to have a s i g n i f i c a n t impact on our teaching s t y l e s . Even beyond that, our teaching paradigm was about to be injected with the v i t a l i t y we were seeking, and a sense of destiny permeated the energy with which we set i n to tackle the assignments presented to us. It was essential for us to have had the chance to be Bolton's students, in that we experienced the detailed expertise he demonstrated in the simplest of lessons. The moments of sheer joy which sparkled as we struggled and succeeded to solve a problem he set for us were frequent. I became impatient for the time when I could provide similar challenges for my students. He c l e v e r l y gave us what his own books and a r t i c l e s could never quite a r t i c u l a t e with such c l a r i t y : a way to imprint the moments on ourselves. He made the material personally meaningful. As each day passed, the urge to absorb as much as possible was strong. I have never taken more notes, or followed more intently, the content of any course - there was always a fee l i n g of a n t i c i p a t i o n about what would be shared next. Like a c h i l d finding treasure I wanted to st u f f a l l my pockets for the future as insurance for the time when I would have to s t r i k e out on my own. In retrospect the summer proved somewhat disconcerting for me. While I was c e r t a i n l y ready to embrace a new way of teaching, and p a r t i c u l a r l y one which had now proven i t s e l f to be of considerable c r e d i b i l i t y and value, I was nervous about how much material I was carrying around that now had to now be "unlearned". I knew that Bolton was providing a l l the fundamental background I would need to make the change, yet i t was d i f f i c u l t to f i n a l l y just say, "I w i l l commit myself and my students to trying i t this way for a whole year, whatever happens and no matter how frustrated I get." Gavin Bolton's conviction in his work inspired each of us i n the course to challenge our ways of thinking about drama. Discovering the many s i g n i f i c a n t ways of engaging the students i n relevant material was exhilarating. I was surprised at how strongly I was now personally committed to t h i s approach to drama teaching, but I recognized that for the f i r s t time, I had within reach a drama teaching methodology whose essence enables learners and knowing. 18 2. Literature Review This chapter is a review of the l i t e r a t u r e related to the study and examines the views about drama i n education as i t relates to curriculum planning and thinking. The main purpose i s to highlight the contributions drama can make to education when taught i n this manner. There has not been a vast body of theory developed on the subject of drama education, and what does exi s t has been formulated and shaped by a handful of theorists worldwide. However, from early i n the f i r s t half of this century, those who have contributed to the f i e l d have done so passionately, not always with acute c l a r i t y to the layperson, but with i n t e g r i t y . Fortunately, each decade has added a new layer to the common understanding of what i t i s that drama accomplishes. The thread which weaves through twentieth century drama theory i s succinctly traced by Gavin Bolton (1984). His use of the term "pioneers' includes Finlay-Johnson, Caldwell Cook, Peter Slade, Brian Way and Dorothy Heathcote. It i s those individuals whose work w i l l provide the foundation for twenty-first century developments. The premise which l i n k s a l l of these people is that the c h i l d has something to offer to the experience, whatever i t 19 might be. As the thinking of one generation merged with the next, the f a b r i c became richer and the texture more dense, each new length adding value to the whole. A concise review of the contributions made by drama prac t i t i o n e r s to the late 1970's i s presented by Bolton (1984). Serious readers should consult the texts of the various theorists to gain a thorough foundation of the history of drama education. Where does present day drama belong on the h i s t o r i c a l continuum? A move afoot in Great B r i t a i n would place drama i n the company of examinable subjects. Davis (1984) describes the s i t u a t i o n as a contradiction, saying: At the very time when i t should be possible to make a leap forward on the basis of the enormous contribution from Dorothy Heathcote and Gavin Bolton over the l a s t twenty to t h i r t y years, and when the po s i t i o n the young are i n demands c r e a t i v i t y and invention, we have instead, a whole trend back to theatre arts of the worst sort. (p.15) Surely, we can see an opportunity here i n Canada not to follow those i n B r i t a i n who are supporting this approach. The pedagogical model presented by Bolton and Heathcote addresses the concerns of modern educators with great c l a r i t y . In implementing t h i s approach i n the 20 secondary classroom, I discovered devices which help the students understand material more successfully, as well as how to become a better teacher. The most s t r i k i n g concept of the work i s that the elements of the theatre are always present and must be jud i c i o u s l y and s e l e c t i v e l y implemented from within the dramatic events being explored. The sharpest d i v i s i o n between understanding the work done by drama pr a c t i t i o n e r s l i k e Bolton and that of theatre-arts proponents who malign the method l i e s i n the emphasis placed on the importance of the dramatic event over the technical s k i l l s of acting. Bolton (1986) states: Of course we want young people to develop s k i l l s i n theatre, but the firmest foundations for such s k i l l s derive from tr a i n i n g the director's/playwright's eye and ear, and i n the d i s c i p l i n e of ensemble playing, (p.371) A tendency toward the 'academic' has made some of the writings of Bolton somewhat inaccessible to the average teacher, an unfortunate gap i n the education of many. My personal experience was that, once having taken the course with Gavin, rereading his work was far easier to understand. I f e l t that his unique a b i l i t y as a teacher came through much more profoundly i n the classroom. Even i n the simplest of lessons, Bolton displayed highly detailed planning. Tiny moments had been pre- thought and alternative actions readied for possible use throughout the lessons. Certainly some of the d i r e c t i o n taken i n class must have been i n s t i n c t i v e and spontaneous, but i t was the acute attention to d e t a i l that e l i c i t e d the deepest responses i n the students. As pointed out by Hornbrook (1989), i t was Bolton and Heathcote who dominated drama pedagogy throughout the 1980's. It is precisely because these scholars constantly evaluate and push the boundaries of their own theories that their contribution to current thinking i s so valuable. Indeed, i t i s clear that the s h i f t i n Bolton's thinking to include multiple constructs of the "performance mode' makes i t much easier for former naysayers to begin a discovery of this methodology. In his categorization of drama into four types, Bolton manages to include a l l forms of drama, but places greatest importance on drama as a vehicle for learning about content. B r i e f l y , these categories are: A. Drama as Learning about Content; B. Drama as Personal Development; C. Drama as Social Development; and D. Drama for Learning about Dramatic Art Form. This c l a s s i f i c a t i o n does not at any time exclude the relevance of theatre elements and techniques. Indeed these q u a l i t i e s are integral to understanding why this methodology i s optimal for current trends i n education, not just drama education. Benefits to students taught through an educational drama approach are numerous. The approach makes easier the need Graham (1986) sees to "develop a curriculum relevant to the needs of i t s c l i e n t s , not i t s masters". According to Morgan and Saxton (1985) drama experiences provide opportunities for the exploration of language. Not only can the teacher model appropriate language strategies through teacher-in-role, but they can stimulate "language occasions' to develop s t y l e , language, tone, l o g i c and content. Again, the experiences of the students are d i r e c t l y linked to the s k i l l the teacher displays with the approach, because, "the more roles a teacher can play i n a drama, the more opportunities the students have for playing roles within the same s i t u a t i o n ; the more occasions there are for students to play the same r o l e " i n d i f f e r e n t s i t uations, the richer the language becomes" (p. 40 ) . O'Neill and Lambert (1982) also note the provision for challenging student language resources, primarily in the areas of developing student competence i n handling description, i n s t r u c t i o n , l o g i c a l reasoning, persuasion and planning. Verriour (1986) agrees, indicating that when 23 students are i n the performance mode, "they are expected to engage i n dialogue that i s clear i n r e f e r e n t i a l intent to the audience as well as the other participants i n the drama" (p.256). Dramatic a c t i v i t y r e l i e s heavily on s o c i a l i z i n g behaviour which has been both a strong point for supporters and a target for detractors of drama education from the beginning. Too much emphasis on the development of the individual's i n d i v i d u a l i t y leads to chaos, while not enough makes the experience meaningless and s t e r i l e . However, meaningful group e f f o r t s often encourage students to find what Bolton refers to as a "public voice', one which can be tested i n a protected environment. This group structuring helps foster common conceptual understandings of the world and l i f e , or "universals'. Neelands (1984) also seeks th i s c o l l e c t i v e view which at the same time encourages individual expression within the larger community, one which has already agreed not to s e t t l e for the middle ground without considering each person's contribution. O'Neill (1989) agrees with th i s when she states that a group i n a drama lesson has to both "expect* and "respond' to situations. This pattern requires the student to "read' the roles around them and discover clues about themselves and the si t u a t i o n , and r e f l e c t on 24 themselves from both inside and outside the drama. The strength of drama i s i t s a b i l i t y to provide these multiple perceptions for students which, i n turn, empowers them. O'Neill (1989) states the objective c l e a r l y : "We are aiming to create imagined worlds with our students and encourage them to perceive themselves as world makers" (p.211). Surely, t h i s i s one of the acquisitions teachers hope their students can r e l y upon when they encounter unique situations in their real worlds. Equally relevant to the connection with universals i s the way a student w i l l "make sense of their experience in the world and begin to organize i t into the unity, significance and coherence of a r t " (O'Neill and Lambert, 1982 p.15). As well, the opportunity to recognize symbols, to enter into a degree of consciousness belonging to a f i c t i t i o u s character and to focus on interacting with others spontaneously i s l i k e l y to enhance the depth with which a student encounters the re a l world, and to assign value to real experiences as they occur. An a r t i c u l a t e advocate of the arts i n the development of educational curriculum theory, Eisner (1979) i s adamant in his b e l i e f that the arts provide a unique perspective. The degree of awareness developed by students i s r e l a t i v e to the opportunities they have to "participate v i c a r i o u s l y 25 in the l i v e s of others, to acquire an understanding of situations, and therefore to know them i n ways that only the arts can reveal" (p.227). This emphasis on encouraging students to give credence to their own experience i n real l i f e encounters permeates a paper given by Highwater (1989) at the "Drama as a Meaning Maker" American conference. In reference to the e f f e c t the media has had on the general public, he states: What we have done i s to censor people out of existence. We have sent them under their beds. We have denied their existence so they don't want to be anybody. We have destroyed their experience and we are less because of i t . (p.85) I would extend this analogy to include the e f f e c t that the education system has had on i t s students. Highwater also makes use of a phrase which captures the necessary ambiguity of the entire drama experience by saying that he relates more cl o s e l y with a "multiverse' than a universe. How c l e a r l y that captures the essence of a drama teacher's expectations. Eisner (1979) corroborates t h i s by writing: The idea that there are multiple ways in which things are known - that there i s a variety of expressive modalities through which what i s known can be disclosed - simply has been absent from the conversations that animate the educational research community . (p.224) This idea of layering experience i n a multiverse, provides an interesting perspective from which to examine drama work. It has been stated many times that drama comprises a m u l t i p l i c i t y of s k i l l s , but this has yet to be translated into a h o l i s t i c view of the personal worlds of the student, both inner and outer. In the past, the perspective of the most active ingredient i n the class, the pupils, has not been regarded as reciprocal to the outcome of events. What Highwater suggests dovetails nicely with the concepts of drama education, for i t i n v i t e s both students and teachers to i n s i s t on making meaning together. The next benefit drama can envelop students i n i s that of challenging and asserting moral values. Drama in education, as i t i s currently practised, asserts Graham (1984), i s both art-form and learning-form. It o f f e r s v a l i d and important kinds of knowledge to students, d i f f e r e n t from conventional school knowledge. In a society which i s complex and diverse, the boundaries of moral attitude are sometimes hazy. A recent paper (Hansen,1989) talks about the importance of drama to the understanding of values: "Drama i s responsible for creating context and context i s necessary for meaning" (p.216). This strongly supports the Heathcote/Bolton stance of drama as a vehicle for learning. Teachers who adopt an educational drama approach stand to benefit i n many ways, not the least of which is to be regarded as human beings by students. Although the teacher remains responsible for the framework, the entire group, teacher included, must pursue the learning outcomes together. According to Morgan and Saxton (1988), "The teacher's function i s to find those approaches which w i l l be divergent and open" (p.36). This approach balances the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n the room, a condition which causes anxiety for many teachers. Verriour (1985) states that, through being i n ro l e , teachers and students are allowed to adopt s o c i a l roles outside the familiar ones they carry. A d i f f e r e n t and special r e l a t i o n s h i p i s fostered i n such an environment. As guideposts for teachers, Neelands (1984) suggests that teachers can esta b l i s h a comfortable environment for learning by working toward the following: - taking informed r i s k s - trying not to be the omnipotent expert 28 - encouraging self-assessment in students and s e l f - helping students find their own voice - applying meaningful contexts in the classroom,and not depending on ir r e l e v a n t exercises The importance of these c r i t e r i a i s that they suggest dual r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n the classroom. Granted, the l i s t of behaviors for teachers sounds optimistic and, perhaps for some, even daunting. Nevertheless, i f we are to bury the "pitcher of knowledge' theory forever, teachers w i l l need to find ways to meet the challenges of the current trends i n education. A quarrel of Hornbrook (1985) i s with the mystical quality which permeates the realm of drama teaching. If the world of pretend cannot be mystical, then we are i n grave danger of eliminating much of the r i t u a l of theatre and c u l t u r a l habits i n general. His reference to Dorothy Heathcote as a mystic indicates his unwillingness to appreciate the charismatic personality of a contemporary with c r e d i b i l i t y and a fear of the unknown. As Bolton (1986) points out: "Moving i n and out of s c r i p t s i s something Dorothy Heathcote has been doing for years" (p.370). It seems that Hornbrook has a blind eye i n c e r t a i n d i r e c t i o n s . Graham (1984) claims, "Bolton defends drama i n education through i d e n t i f y i n g the aesthetic of theatre as a key to good drama practice" (p.284). Hornbrook f a i l s to recognize what Bolton has ca t e g o r i c a l l y defined in his theory as the "performance mode', the end of the spectrum which provides for the very experience Hornbrook claims i s lacking. In a concise manner, Male (1990) i n s i s t s that Hornbrook has neglected for the most part to id e n t i f y anything seriously amiss with the methodology. Her gentle sarcasm casts considerable doubt on the claims Hornbrook makes against drama i n education as she finds numerous contradictions in Hornbrook's documentation. In short order she i d e n t i f i e s her major disagreements with his thoughts on philosophical underpinning, h i s t o r i c a l development of drama, perceptions of the theo r i s t s , and legitimate course content. Only once does Hornbrook pose a question which seems to want to bridge the opposing theories. This i s when he asks: "If childr e n are learning through drama, then what are they learning?" (p.356). Fortunately, this opens the door for a response, and here I quote Warwick Dobson (1986) at length: They might be learning that they have a voice; they 30 are learning that i t i s possible to take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for their own actions; they are learning that there i s a power in c o l l e c t i v e action; they are learning that individuals have r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s that go beyond their own s e l f - i n terest; they are learning that i t i s possible to use dramatic forms to pose questions and explore issues which have a d i r e c t bearing on their own l i v e s ; they are learning their own c u l t u r a l forms possess legitimacy; and above a l l they are learning that drama and theatre provide a potent means of exposing and challenging the dominant ideology and i t s p r e v a i l i n g modes of intimidation (p. 373). What i s ultimately disturbing i s the continued resistance to allowing the best elements of both forms to be at work in the classroom. Perhaps a new generation of theorists w i l l find a way to merge the resources of both paths i n a manner acceptable to everyone. Hansen (1989) capsulizes the underlying intention of both sides by saying: "Drama/theatre i s an e s p e c i a l l y e f f e c t i v e way to negotiate the potential and actual meaning of the behaviours that make up a human l i f e " (p.218). It is my b e l i e f that i f drama i s now to move ahead and continue to build on the strengths that e x i s t i n 31 the dramatic art form, there must be a desire to promote theories that do not develop for the sake of administrative ease, but for the benefit of the students we teach. In a curriculum oriented toward personal relevance we can capture the events and situations which occur so rapidly i n our highly technical world, and anchor them securely to an understanding based in what Graham (1986) c a l l s "a h i s t o r i c a l , p o l i t i c a l and economic context". It is time to act on the basis suggested by Eisner (1979) by building c u r r i c u l a which "emphasizes personal meaning and the schools r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to develop programs which make such meanings possible" (p.57). Drama teachers are in the uniquely situated position to f a c i l i t a t e such programming within schools, not only i n their own classrooms, but also, should they choose to do so, i n harmony with other subject area teachers i n challenging, meaningful ways. 32 3. Design of the Study Introduction The objective of the study was to describe as f u l l y as possible, the events in Room 202, the Drama Studio, during the 1990-91 school year. The experiences of a teacher implementing a new program, using the unique set of strategies of the drama i n education model and a s h i f t i n learning objectives, are not well-documented i n the l i t e r a t u r e . Of course, the events a f f e c t two parties, student and teacher, and every e f f o r t has been made to describe the perceptions of each group i n a balanced manner. Many questions of both a personal and professional nature were posed before embarking on thi s adventure. For example: What are the p o s s i b i l i t i e s for drama education? What i s wrong with the present arrangement? What do students currently gain from the program? What do I currently gain from the program? What do I hope to accomplish by changing paradigms? At the very heart of an educational drama program l i e s the need to question and r e f l e c t and here I hope to find my way to becoming "co- learner /explorer , not "omnipotent expert'! Selection of Site 33 The study's intimate focus on the reactions of the students and myself made i t essential for the research to be conducted in the least threatening, most comfortable environment possible. For thi s reason, I chose my own classroom in a Burnaby secondary school as the s i t e . This p a r t i c u l a r school has some c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which contribute to i t s s u i t a b i l i t y as a research s i t e . It i s situated i n a predominantly r e s i d e n t i a l , mixed income suburban neighbourhood. The student population f l o a t s at approximately 600, which i s considerably smaller than many contemporary secondary schools. Thus i t resembles the size of school located away from the heavily populated urban centres. The student body is multi-ethnic and there are several programs for special need students i n the school. The s t a f f of t h i r t y - f i v e i s generally supportive of each other and e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y become involved i n school a c t i v i t i e s . The school and d i s t r i c t administration are regarded as progressive and both demonstrated support of this study. The Drama Studio i s located on the second fl o o r of the school in a recently renovated classroom. Larger than a regular classroom, the studio has an annex for storage and a small o f f i c e for me. The space i t s e l f contributes to the contentment I experience as a teacher. The classroom 34 space is carpeted with a better-than-average quality carpet. It i s a comfortable, bright, f r i e n d l y space, much- admired by s t a f f and appreciated by students. There are no desks; chairs are brought i n as needed, but not on a permanent basis - we s i t on the f l o o r . The Studio has three proper bars for hanging theatre l i g h t s and adequate power supplies and outlets for the equipment that e x i s t s . In short, i t i s a model, yet modest, example of a suitable space for drama. No other classes are taught i n the room. Students frequently comment on the d i s t i n c t "personality' the room has in comparison to the rest of the school. Selection of subjects The study used the work of five groups of students: two Drama Eight classes (with no previous drama background), two Drama Nine classes and one Drama Ten cla s s , (either one or two years drama experience at the time of the study). There are no prerequisites for drama students at the junior secondary l e v e l which in v i t e s a great mixture of interest and a b i l i t y , ranging from the "easy c r e d i t ' seekers to the "I'm going to be an actor' hopefuls. Classes are six t y minutes long, three times per week. 35 Research Role In my dual role as teacher/researcher, I did not feel that there was anything unusual enough to a l t e r the normal proceedings i n c l a s s , nor would th i s persona be disruptive to the students in any way. I have been a teacher i n this school since 1988 and am currently i n the second year of a three-year appointment as Visual and Performing Arts Department Head. The students are accustomed to my style and expectations in the areas of d i s c i p l i n e and classroom management. I fe e l that the student/teacher rel a t i o n s h i p i s most s a t i s f a c t o r y and assisted in e l i c i t i n g depth and truth i n student responses. Often in the course of the study I experienced multiple roles simultaneously, being conscious of myself as teacher, teacher-in-role, researcher and learner. There was frequently the sensation of the " i n f i n i t e mirror' syndrome of "watching myself watching'. Data C o l l e c t i o n From the moment the b e l l rang to signal the beginning of term i n September, the spontaneous and r e f l e c t i v e reactions of teachers and students to the events of the lessons were recorded. It took d a i l y practice to be aware of the kinds of questions I needed to ask myself as the lessons unfolded. How would I make the next step into the lesson deepen b e l i e f or follow a student's idea? Why did t h i s x i n - r o l e ' sequence work so well in the morning cla s s , but not at a l l i n the afternoon session? What was i t that I said as teacher-in-role that prompted i n s i g h t f u l responses from the students? How w i l l I a r t i c u l a t e this so other teachers w i l l be able to follow the thinking? The study occurred over the ten months of the 1990-91 school year providing a diverse variety of opportunities for data c o l l e c t i o n . My personal f i e l d observations were ongoing, and were supplemented with journal r e f l e c t i o n s . In addition, student journals, writing-in^-role assignments and short evaluation papers were examined. A central premise of the educational drama approach i s that r e f l e c t i o n on the process is essential for developing personalized knowledge of the event and a necessary ingredient i n understanding change in perspectives. An important source of feedback throughout the study was provided by Susann Baum, a colleague and friend, whose study (1991) provides the complementary view of the senior grades. Eleven and Twelve. Beginning i n the summer of 1990, we both enroled i n Gavin Bolton's course, and from there, we shared the steps of our journey. I was always grateful for the chance to corroborate findings, c l a r i f y thinking about some element or commiserate when the going was tough. We acted as sounding boards for each other, were empathetic in a way no other person could be, helped each other organize plans, and often found a r a t i o n a l explanation for something the other could not. In many ways i t was the f i r s t r e a l opportunity I had to enjoy e f f e c t i v e c o l l e g i a l support and cooperative learning, and my wish i s to develop this kind of arrangement more often in the future. We need to be a l e r t to the resources that e x i s t i n our fellow teachers, and be generous about giving and dipping i n to the pool of knowledge. There were many times during the year when I f e l t that I was heading o f f on a wrong tangent, only to discover through talking to Susann that she was feeling the same way. Without the reassurance of touching base regularly at dinner meetings, getting through the year would have been considerably harder. As we met throughout the year to discuss our progress, we were sometimes elated with our discoveries, at other times discouraged by our own lack of understanding. Perhaps more accurately, the stumbling through the unknown that was inevitable and necessary became an important part of the journey. Another benefit to our close working relationship was the opportunity i t provided for probing the subject more 38 deeply. Between the two of us, one was often clearer on a ce r t a i n aspect than the other; thus, i n regard to our strengths, we complemented each other very well. Even when i t came time to do the research proposal, the questioning process we underwent was of substantial use to both of us. In retrospect, there was a real need to have the contact with someone l i k e Susann, p a r t i a l l y because drama teachers are isolated i n their individual schools and also because i t i s rare for such r a d i c a l changes to occur to people c o i n c i d e n t a l l y . As to how the r e l a t i o n s h i p may have influenced the study, I suggest that, while the confidence i t afforded helped immensely to keep us on track, once i n the classroom, as ever, the teacher is quite alone with the students. At the same time, actions taken may l a t e r be analyzed at length, the analysis to be of benefit on another occasion. This study emerged i n i t s present form because i t could not be done any other way, i t was a day-to-day challenge not to f a l l back into old habits and practices, and having each other helped ensure that our commitment would be r e a l i z e d . 39 4. The Analysis of the Data Introduction This chapter describes several aspects of the study which became apparent as the work progressed. The s i g n i f i c a n t learning objectives which emerged from the data c o l l e c t e d from the students are summarized here. Also included i n the chapter are the elements which affected my teaching role. It became clear as the study progressed that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between students and teacher was an evolving, not a s t a t i c one. Each party had adjustments to make and one stage of growth precipitated the next. The changes of greatest importance occurred in my teaching st y l e and these are also described i n t h i s chapter. Planning At the beginning of the study, Susann Baum and I decided to run p a r a l l e l programs throughout the year as much as possible. Our reasons for doing so were based on the assumption that this would make a more supportive environment for us to work i n as the material was unfamiliar. By being able to give each other immediate feedback on our experiences i n the classroom, we would reinforce the events in our memories and also be able to 40 modify or adjust the plans accordingly i n successive, repeated lessons. We could also begin to make suggestions and recommendations for the range of grade levels we were studying. Grade Eight through Ten for me and Grades Eleven and Twelve in Susann's case. We f e l t that for the purposes of the study i t would be both suitable and interesting i f we concentrated on the process of educational drama, and that i t was not c r i t i c a l to devise extra material to accommodate d i f f e r e n t grade l e v e l s . In terms of teacher preparation this approach supplied b u i l t - i n confidence, as the lessons were decided upon i n September for the entire year. This became important as a security measure to ensure that we did not revert to the previous methodology simply for the sake of convenience. Indeed, once the i n i t i a l months were past, the feeling of anxiety vanished without l i n g e r i n g doubt about the effectiveness of the new methodology. Another e f f e c t of thi s planning was the opportunity i t provided for r e f l e c t i o n on the experiences. In the past i t was often too easy to bulldoze through the year with the kind of f r enetic energy created by the mood of the old methodology. One of the most s i g n i f i c a n t features of the new approach was that events seemed to slow down to a manageable pace; instead of a blur of abrupt fragments. 41 moments became more recognizable and were seen i n d e t a i l . Co-learner The teaching role i n the educational drama process i s unique i n that i t promotes the creation of a cooperative learning r e l a t i o n s h i p with students. A teacher who embraces th i s method can no longer wear the mask of "expert 1, but must a c t i v e l y seek interaction with students through the use of role drama, shared discovery, and r i s k taking. The teacher must do what students are expected to do every day - cope with new information to be processed in a personally relevant way, contribute spontaneously as incidents unfold, and assess the value of the events as they a f f e c t the group as a whole. Even though my rel a t i o n s h i p with students was excellent i n the past, I f e l t that the rapport was enhanced when I began to enter into the learning with them, rather than "d i r e c t i n g ' a c t i v i t i e s . I f e l t that students were f i n a l l y able to see me as a human being who, l i k e them, struggled to understand my responses to our various projects. I also f e l t much more connected and a l e r t during the day-to-day encounters, as my teaching could not re l y on the successes of the past. No longer a n t i c i p a t i n g the expected responses from the students to the x t r i e d and true' exercises and scenes freed me up to become much more open to their responses and consequently to be more creative. As a r e s u l t of the freshness of each new a c t i v i t y the sense of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n and boredom I had been experiencing disappeared. Most importantly, while many of the role dramas were thought-provoking, challenging and s t i r r i n g , I knew that these moments did not ever have to be repeated; that now, with a way of tackling the essence of the dramatic event, I could explore any issue that might be of interest to the students. In the old style of drama teaching, i t was a constant struggle to find appropriate s c r i p t material for young secondary students, r e s u l t i n g i n repeated use when something good happened to be unearthed. Change of teaching style The importance of teaching style to learning i s indisputable, and the teacher of educational drama has what Neelands (1984) refers to as an opportunity to estab l i s h a comfortable environment for learning. However, i n order to do t h i s , some of the old ways must be abandoned in favor of techniques that place the teacher inside the action, not d i r e c t i n g from outside. This i s not to say that this i s the only way classes are conducted, for l i k e any other s t y l e , i t would wear thin with overuse. It is a unique experience as a teacher to be part of a discovery that i s not anticipated or predetermined. Several changes occurred in my approach to teaching style as the year progressed. In many instances, I was able to r e s i s t the "teacher' impulse to t e l l students how to work through an idea and accept what the students offered as solutions. When i t was obvious that an opportunity was present to c l a r i f y a point of theatre art form, I was able to do so i n the context of the work in progress, not through an unfamiliar or i n s i g n i f i c a n t example. This format allowed great freedom for the teacher to work on several planes at once. During class I found I was much less preoccupied with the outcome of the event than with how we as a group would arrive there. Largely because t h i s pressure was absent, I feel that, generally, the students were more "tuned i n ' to the moment-to-moment de t a i l s and were able to open up more, give more ideas, work better in groups, and b a s i c a l l y be more involved as they were not working toward a mark out of ten for an improvisation in which they had invested ten minutes' work. The issue of classroom management became largely a moot point, as a l l the students were i n some way occupied with the building of the drama. Lapses of concentration were rare because there seemed to be a group pressure on individuals to make things work "for the good of the whole'. As Dorothy Heathcote (1972) advises: One very rarely finds children in this relationship to the teacher being rude or lacking class d i s c i p l i n e , because each recognizes the strength of the other i n the s i t u a t i o n . . . . This attitude brings with i t c e r t a i n i n s t i n c t i v e l y f e l t d i s c i p l i n e s which children w i l l not cross, (p. 162) In short, many problems inherent to the old methodology were simply not encountered i n the new approach. It became clear that this year provided a way in to hammering out a program i n keeping with the philosophy of the Year 2000 document proposed by the B r i t i s h Columbia Ministry of Education. Here was a tangible opportunity to explore child-centred learning, integrated programming and highly interactive thinking. 45 5. THE YEAR: A DESCRIPTIVE NARRATIVE OF THE JOURNEY Perhaps more than i n any previous year in my ten years of teaching, September, 1990, had a special meaning. It was special because I f e l t , f i n a l l y , that I could walk, into my drama classroom and begin to o f f e r the kind of program which I sensed that drama could be. It was special because the summer class with Gavin Bolton kindled some spark that I was beginning to feel was extinguished. It was also special because I knew that I would soon be faced with the kind of creative exercise that I had not seriously tapped into since my own days as a student - thinking on my feet, going with group decisions, working toward understanding. A l l of these things had my adrenalin pumping as the f i f t h of September drew closer and classes would soon be gathering i n the studio for their drama experiences. If ever there was to be a chance for me to develop as a drama teacher i n a s i g n i f i c a n t way, this was i t . I was excited by the opportunity to work through the material I'd learned over the summer, only now with real l i v e students. In truth, I f e l t inspired. This acted l i k e a psychological safety-net; since I already understood how the material had affected me, I f e l t more confident i n leading my c lasses through the same work. Susann and I agreed that , as far as poss ib le , we would try to follow the Bolton course c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y , aiming to f i n i s h units at roughly the same time so that we could discuss the d e t a i l s of our respect ive implementation. This stage of the journey was at once e x c i t i n g and in t imidat ing : the de l ight of a n t i c i p a t i o n . September, 1990 Journal Entry , September 5: I am exc i ted , nervous, conf ident , determined, joyous, expectant, eager, s t imulated, chal lenged, a l e r t , conscious of d e t a i l s , anchored i n my academic th inking and ready to see the year unfold in a new, e x c i t i n g way. After the i n i t i a l introductory c lasses , designed simply to help me l earn names and for the students to meet each other, I want to quick ly leap i n to a ro le drama. I fee l anxiety, b u t , l i k e jumping o f f the high board, I know that I have already walked to the edge of the board and i t i s easier to take the leap than to turn and go back down the ladder. For a moment though, I consider i t . (end of entry) The f i r s t example of the new type of drama a c t i v i t y i s an adaptation of one of Gavin Bolton's exerc ises . Even at th is point I recognize, perhaps subconsciously, that for the material to succeed, I must make i t my own, hence the adaptation. The class become ar c h i t e c t u r a l students i n the second term of their f i r s t year and are asked by their instructor to consider a proposal submitted by the l o c a l school board in regard to designing a brand new school to accommodate special needs students. Even i n the apparent s i m p l i c i t y of this scenario, many of the essential elements for meeting c r i t i c a l learning objectives have been set up. F i r s t , by ensuring that the students are not in a t o t a l l y unfamiliar role (they are s t i l l students and I am s t i l l an i n s t r u c t o r ) , the way i s cleared for everyone to enter into a new, imaginary world with a high degree of confidence. The class has arranged i t s e l f , without d i r e c t i o n , into a format appropriate to the environment. Before the class began I asked a student i f he would be w i l l i n g to take on the role of a student confined to a wheelchair, and instructed him to keep one arm immobile and to s l i g h t l y turn i n his toes. These very subtle adjustments allow the student to build b e i i e v a b i l i t y in the character without resorting to "acting as an i n v a l i d ' . Davis and B i r t w i s t l e (1990) write: "Drama, as art, must involve high l e v e l s e l e c t i v i t y of sign to enable the sign to resonate layers of meaning i n r e l a t i o n to the context of the drama" (p.11). In r e f l e c t i o n after the drama the 48 s t u d e n t j o u r n a l s r e v e a l a l m o s t u n a n i m o u s l y t h a t i n e v e r y c l a s s where t h e d r a m a was d o n e , t h e p e r s o n p l a y i n g t h e s p e c i a l n e e d s p e r s o n was so r e a l t h a t s t u d e n t s were c o m p e l l e d t o t r e a t t h e d r a m a as r e a l a n d n o t a s a game. The r e c o g n i z e d s y m b o l o f t h i s " r e a l i t y ' was a l w a y s t h e p a r a l y s e d a r m . S o m e t h i n g was r e s o n a t i n g f o r t h e s e s t u d e n t s . The c l a s s i s i n t r o d u c e d t o t h e s p e c i a l n e e d s s t u d e n t , a n d a r e t o l d t h a t t h e p e r s o n i s t h e r e t o a c t a s a c o n s u l t a n t i n t h e i r d e s i g n p r o j e c t . T h e y a r e t o ask. q u e s t i o n s a n d d i s c u s s t h e i r p l a n s w i t h t h e s p e c i a l n e e d s p e r s o n , t h e n b r e a k i n t o s m a l l g r o u p s t o e s t a b l i s h t e n t a t i v e d e s i g n s . By t h i s p o i n t i n t o t h e d r a m a i t i s c l e a r t o me t h a t I am n e e d e d o n l y a s a g u i d e , a n d t h a t t h e s t u d e n t s a r e w e l l - e n g a g e d i n m a k i n g t h e moment p r o g r e s s i v e l y more r e a l . The s i n c e r e q u a l i t y o f t h e q u e s t i o n s t h e y a s k shows d e p t h o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d i n t e l l i g e n c e - t h e y a r e t a s k - o r i e n t e d t o w a r d d e v e l o p i n g a s u i t a b l e s i t e f o r t h e s p e c i a l n e e d s u s e r . W o u l d y o u l i k e t h e s c h o o l t o h a v e a s e p a r a t e a r e a f o r s p e c i a l n e e d s s t u d e n t s o r s h o u l d we k e e p t h e b u i l d i n g a s t o g e t h e r ( i n t e g r a t e d ) a s p o s s i b l e ? What k i n d s o f r e c r e a t i o n a l a c t i v i t y a r e a s do y o u 49 think, are needed? Would i t be better to have ramps or l i f t s ? Which i s most convenient? In addition, the students made myriad observations on the small d e t a i l s , the height of the lockers, the width of the h a l l s , tables or desks, s l i d i n g or swinging doors, covered walkways and lowered water fountains. They began to think i n re a l terms within the f i c t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n . The nature of the drama allows the class to be endowed with q u a l i t i e s as the work proceeds. It i s not necessary for anyone to "act' i n a r o l e . The simple label of "student' i s enough for the class to establish an appropriate response to the work. Since the behaviours required are so similar to these required of them i n r e a l i t y , they are free to concentrate on the task not on themselves having to play a role. If they lose the focus on the task, the drama f a i l s . The teacher i n role helps to keep the focus on the design problem. Students comment s i m i l a r l y whether i n Grade Eight, Nine or Ten : Everyone took i t seriously because i t was a serious subject; we a l l knew that could walk and r e a l l y has the use of his arms and legs, but because of the earnest way he presented his case, we l e f t the drama 50 room and quickly became arc h i t e c t students; the teacher was serious, so we were too. I f e l t l i k e my ideas might actually be useful! The person who played the man i n the wheelchair was very convincing. He did not have to think about the answers he gave to the questions we asked. I t seemed as though he actually was i n a wheelchair and had experienced some of the problems that a handicapped person might come across. Everyone came up with innovative ideas to solve the problem,and i t was also r e a l i s t i c because we addressed each other formally. I feel that the spontaneity was the key to the realism because nobody had a chance to think about what they were doing ahead of time. The following comments are from the boy who actually played the r o l e : I found myself thinking: these kids have r e a l l y t e r r i f i c ideas. The reason i t worked so well i s because i t wasn't l i k e we were playing a ro l e , i t was as i f i t were r e a l l y happening. What I believe they have been able to understand includes a sense of their own s o c i a l development that, as they feel success i n tackling a real s o c i a l issue, they assess and evaluate the responses of other students i n an active way. The group solves a s i g n i f i c a n t problem together, achieving i n one hour a fe e l i n g of unity which formerly took weeks of games to accomplish, and most importantly develops a change of attitude and awareness, both toward the d i f f i c u l t i e s experienced by special needs people and the nature of drama i t s e l f . In p r a c t i c a l terms, the drama i s a success, for the students have demonstrated the a b i l i t y to recognize what i s required of them i n the s i t u a t i o n and to make individual contributions to the outcome. I secretly cheer for Gavin Bolton! October, 1990 As I begin to feel more comfortable with the s t y l e , I notice myself gradually turning decision making over to the class, not just during dramatic playing, but any time when I suspect i t would be just as e f f e c t i v e for them to make a decision, and this also empowers them i n present and future negotiations. I notice that they begin to trust me more, and conversely I trust them to make more mature judgments - happily, this i s occurring. I'm s t a r t i n g to get swamped by the regular f a l l routine - the glow of newness of September has dissipated and we a l l f e e l more comfortable with each other. Often this i s the time of year when "problem' students begin to make themselves known, but I find that this i s n ' t happening much at a l l . Because the students are co-dependents i n the dramas, they are committed more to the work than entertaining each other. Although I'm not sure how i t w i l l succeed, I decide to try a drama which not only takes us to a distant h i s t o r i c a l time, but places a l l the students i n an unfamiliar role outside their experience. We embark on Bolton's monastery experience. In a l l fairness, the work i s somewhat out of context - the students have not had any input i n the choice and I feel that there i s a c e r t a i n resentment because of t h i s neglect on my part. However, some extremely important elements of drama are accessible through the unit, so we proceed. The underlying objective i s to help the student understand the concept of sanctuary. We begin by establishing the setting. The students are asked to locate something i n the room that w i l l simulate the sound of a huge brass door knocker on the front entrance of the monastery. After individuals and groups demonstrate their 53 sounds, I ask them to arrange the chairs to represent a chapel area, a place where we meet for prayers every four hours. This problem to solve involves a high degree of seriousness. Once the chairs have been arranged i n an adequate way, I ask a l l of them to stand with me i n front of the space and observe what they have created. This moment of a r t i s t i c choice i s c r i t i c a l in the development of a strong image base for a l l of us, as well as the rearranging we do to enhance the image even further. The t h e a t r i c a l use of space to create a sense of order and hierarchy suitable for the drama i s completed e n t i r e l y by the students, prodded simply by the question, "Is i t exactly the way you imagine i t should be, now? If not then make your f i n a l adjustments, and we w i l l accept that as done." The drama continues to unfold with the introduction of a stranger (student i n role) who arrives at the monastery seeking sanctuary. The students are semi- cognizant of what this means, and in an out of role discussion after the class, several students bring their current world-knowledge to l i g h t with the mention of the p a r a l l e l s i t u a t i o n which existed for Manuel Noriega and the pri e s t s in Panama during the American invasion of that country. Among the many pleasant surprises which occur for me in this unit i s the manner i n which students are able to find their way into the atmosphere of a fourteenth century monastery, their ease i n developing a s e n s i t i v i t y to the role of the monks and the abbot, and their treatment of the stranger with the proper mixture of compassion and suspicion. Keeping in mind that these are regular classes f u l l of young teenagers, the concentration and intensity are impressive. One other p a r t i c u l a r l y s i g n i f i c a n t moment emerges from this unit. The clas s , divided into groups of six or seven, i s asked to reveal through a tableau what they believe i s the strongest point of tension, or struggle, in the drama. Using the l i v i n g museum technique, we are treated to such powerful images as the abstract representation of man struggling with the mores of the society around him; the inhumanity of the treatment some people receive from society; the omnipresent struggle of r e l i g i o n vs. p o l i t i c s ; the strength of compassion. The students themselves are able to "read" the tableaux c l e a r l y and f u l l y a r t i c u l a t e the essence of each picture, discussing such d e t a i l s as the way groups have arranged themselves to help space create the meaning of the picture, and how interesting i t i s to see what each group highlights as being important. When asked to comment on what was memorable from the unit some seven months l a t e r , some students r e p l i e d : I had no idea what was happening at the beginning of the unit, but by the time we had got to the end I re a l i z e d how much I had actually learned: about staying in role,concentrating on what was happening around me. The most d i f f i c u l t thing i n thi s unit was trying to compare our reactions (to the idea of sanctuary) with a monk's reaction i n the 1300's, and wondering i f they had to cope with some of the same dilemmas that we have to i n 1990. In retrospect, i t was essential for r e f l e c t i o n on the events i n the unit to occur after a considerable time had passed. This enforced the b e l i e f that the majority of growth which occurs through drama i s achieved upon the objective r e f l e c t i o n which happens at a distance from the events. It i s inter e s t i n g to note that there were several instances in this unit where students were engaged in dramatic playing, which was generally unfamiliar to them. Most students commented s i m i l a r l y to the following in r e f l e c t i n g on the a c t i v i t i e s : It was neat because when the stranger walked i n , we didn't know quite what to expect and how to react, but after the f i r s t few people had spoken i t was easy to see what we had to do.It was neat because i t was so spontaneous - we had no preparation time to think up questions for the stranger. The way the room became the monastery helped me believe I was there. As a teacher, I was enjoying the group communication that was happening without words. The class had reached a s i g n i f i c a n t l e v e l i n their " dependence upon a t a c i t agreement by the members of the group to manage and sustain the f i c t i t i o u s s o c i a l context" (Bolton,1990). For the classes this was a key moment in understanding the nature of drama. The monastery unit ran for six to nine classes, depending on the needs and desires of the pa r t i c u l a r group. Incorporated at various points i n the drama were in d i v i d u a l , pair, small group and whole class improvisation, d i r e c t i n g and s c r i p t w r i t i n g , recognizing 57 symbols, use of space and dramatic tension, use of language to match the s i t u a t i o n and, naturally, some factual h i s t o r i c a l information. I experience moments of panic now. I have finished doing the monastery drama with a l l the Grade Nine and Ten classes. Although I r e a l i z e that t h i s served to set the tone of seriousness I sought, i t has alienated some of the students. Partly t h i s i s because they were not expecting th i s type of work, but also, I later r e a l i z e , i t i s because I imposed i t on them - they had no stake i n the material. Regardless, they displayed some of the most thoughtful, sophisticated c r e a t i v i t y I had seen them produce in two years. However the panicky feeling sets me back a few steps as I feel that I must somehow appease them and "win 1 the "doubters' back... Fortunately, I do not have time to consider f a l l i n g back into "old' strategies. Fate steps i n at thi s moment as one of the community outreach counsellors arrives at my door with an i n v i t a t i o n . The f i r s t week of November i s Substance Abuse Awareness week; can I think of any way to incorporate t h i s as a theme in the Fine Arts Department? Since the l o g i c a l purpose of the special focus week i s to reach as many students as possible with information on substance abuse, the l o g i c a l route might be to produce a 58 play to present at noon hours for the rest of the school - a perfect opportunity for a unit on playbuilding. I am motivated to get underway as we have only three weeks to ready a piece for the week indicated. I had only been involved i n coordinating one student c o l l e c t i v e before. Fate also i n d i r e c t l y guided t h i s step, as only a week before, I had the enlightening and fortunate opportunity to observe Carole Tarlington work with a group of elementary school students at the annual Association of B r i t i s h Columbia Drama Educators Conference. Tarlington's innovative work over many years as director of Vancouver Youth Theatre has been e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y received by the education community. This opportunity for observation was a l l I needed to feel confident that we could succeed with a similar model. I firmly believe that, i f more teachers were w i l l i n g to provide such valuable inservice, the myths that are f l o a t i n g around could e a s i l y be d i s p e l l e d . Things are progressing for the Grade Nine classes. We begin the play by asking what i t i s that i s important for secondary school students to know about Substance Abuse. Their l i s t of concerns is thorough and we s t a r t to examine the small d e t a i l s of various situations. A l l of the i n i t i a l scenarios are developed i n pairs through the theatre convention of tableaux. Students i n pairs are 59 asked to frame a s t i l l picture of two people who might be affected i n some way by even an occasional use of a substance. I want them to consider the larger question, and to begin to define for themselves, "when does use become abuse?" A l l students are keen to contribute either personal stories or opinions. Knowing that the work w i l l soon be in the performance mode gives the class added impetus to stay with the work and concentration i s high. There is a d e f i n i t e desire on the part of the students to "get the sto r i e s r i g h t ' ; they do not want to treat the scenes l i g h t l y as they are o r i g i n a l creations, they are co-creators and work extremely hard to make meaning for their intended audience, whom they know w i l l be students. As Hansen (1989) noted i n an address to educators, "...a second aspect of the negotiation of meaning is of great importance to drama with young people: the empowering of a l l p a r t i e s " (p.216). Now we are asked to prepare the entire assembly for Remembrance Day. It i s , of course, the normal procedure, e s p e c i a l l y as the expectation i s that one enjoys creating these events so that the enrolment in the program w i l l increase. This then sets us on track for the Grade Ten clas s . Meanwhile, I am anxious about the Grade Eight groups. 60 and feel that I must get further into some of the dramatic play mode that Bolton has c l e a r l y established i n our thinking as the natural f i r s t step into role drama. The Grade Eight classes are seemingly more amenable to the process, as they do not have a previous history with me. They enter into the work somewhat more freely i n their expectations, but are, of course, r e s t r i c t e d by their shyness and u n f a m i l i a r i t y with each other. We s t a r t by looking at teen violence and are held by the interest that i s generated i n a l o c a l murder story. A troubled young student has been taken into the woods by some of his peers and bludgeoned to death over a drug deal gone bad. Many of the students are familiar with the case, but we also look at the issue that i s r e a l l y h o r r i f y i n g , and that i s that some of the students at that school know about the event, but have not told anyone about i t ! Through a variety of theatre conventions, we explore how i t i s possible for anyone to be involved i n such a s i t u a t i o n . After several days of exploration through small group role-plays and interpretive tableaux, where we examined the " a t - r i s k " person from many sides including the perspectives of friends, family, psychologists, teachers, poli c e , a whole class role-play was undertaken. I asked the group to arrange the room as i t would appear i f some school counsellors and teachers were having a meeting. Without any input from me, the room was transformed, c o l l e c t i v e l y , to a boardroom, with a four- foot by eight-foot platform raised onto two four-foot square blocks, and chairs for each class member (28) placed evenly around the table. I then asked for three volunteers to be placed on the "Hot-seat 1 a technique useful for interviewing characters for insight into a p a r t i c u l a r s i t u a t i o n . I took the three volunteers into the h a l l and explained that they would be i n role as "street kids' who would be granted absolute impunity and c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y regarding anything that was said. Leaving them i n the h a l l , I returned to the classroom in role as a school c o u n s e l l o r / f a c i l i t a t o r at the meeting and invited the rest of the class to enter into their roles as teachers and counsellors through a b r i e f discussion about the r i s i n g incidence of crime throughout the c i t y ' s schools, noting that i t was reaching epidemic proportions, requiring our immediate attention. I explained who our guests would be and informed them of the c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y agreement. Once the three "street kids' entered the room, several things became noticeable. Here i s a b r i e f 6 2 description of my i n i t i a l observations: The Street Kids: As these three (two boys and a g i r l ) entered the room, they were already i n r o l e . They looked to me b r i e f l y to be directed to their seats at one end of the board table and then did not require my guidance i n any way after that point. Imagine how intimidating i t must have appeared to them to s i t at one end of an oval with twenty-five enquiring faces peering at them! Seemingly unconcerned, they adapted themselves rea d i l y to the s i t u a t i o n , variously seated but with an outward, yet subtle defiance of authority indicated by a slouch, crossed arms, chewing gum, and d i r e c t staring back at their interviewers. Once the discussion began, they e a s i l y fielded the questions, were reasonably p o l i t e and incredibly candid. I am convinced t h i s was due to the impunity clause. The Teachers/Counsellors: Although the group responded appropriately to me i n role before the three street kids entered the role drama, i t wasn't u n t i l they actually took over the a c t i v i t y and I b a s i c a l l y withdrew, that the group character emerged. I had deliberately requested school counsellors rather than administrators so that an atmosphere of concern, not h o s t i l i t y , would p r e v a i l . It also allowed the students' own knowledge of street violence to be exposed, as they perceive that a counsellor might know some of these things which happen, but a pr i n c i p a l would be too far removed from the "action' to be in touch with what r e a l l y happens. I was correct i n this assumption, as the class became " s o f t l y 1 professional in their demeanour, many s i t t i n g up straighter, a l l deferring to the next speaker, r a i s i n g a hand when they wanted to speak, phrasing their questions to the three volunteers i n an a d u l t / c h i l d tone. Again, once they began the flow of discussion and were focused on the task of trying to understand the guests' perspectives on the increasing rate of violence, they did not look to me for d i r e c t i o n . For a f u l l f i f t y minutes, the three guests kept the rest of us enthraled with their family h i s t o r i e s . Detailed explanations were provided as to why they were in such precarious positions. Each made personal observations on the state of things on the street, in the schools and i n society. Many candid stories were shared about things that had happened either to them or their friends. Totally s u r p r i s i n g l y , to me at least, was that they reversed the questioning and asked the "counsellors' about their approaches to kids and suggested that some of the practices might be ali e n a t i n g a ce r t a i n type of kid. Throughout the hour, I was interested to see i f there would be a dominance of a few students during the interview, but each new path of questioning seemed to encourage new speakers. By the end of the hour, everyone had contributed and everyone had been absorbed i n the experience. Although the year has r e a l l y just started, I am beginning to sense a f a m i l i a r i t y and ease that inauspiciously creeps into an experience i f the t r a v e l l e r remains long enough i n one place. I begin to use the currency f r e e l y , I become comfortable addressing people i n the new language without their laughing, and I am learning to understand and use appropriate conventions. November, 1990 Then i t i s the middle of November, the onset of the f l u season ... the crush to get report cards done and the r e a l i t y of assessment h i t s me. Since I have not had the tidy x s i x out of ten 1 c o l l e c t i o n of marks to get me through the term, I must make decisions about the v a l i d i t y of my evaluative techniques. I decide that the only f a i r way to move through t h i s t r a n s i t i o n i s to base the mark on self-assessment reports from the students, and an open evaluation from me on each individual student using a modified c h e c k l i s t . Examples of these early c r i t e r i a are such observations as: - responds to classroom rules, procedures and routines - displays a responsible attitude toward physical and emotional safety and comfort - works cooperatively and productively with a l l members of the class in pairs, small groups and large groups - supports p o s i t i v e l y the work of others The evaluation sheet i s d i s t r i b u t e d to the students and they are asked to complete the sheet using a rating of E=excellent, G=good, I=improving, NW=Needs Work, and U=Unsatisfactory. We meet i n d i v i d u a l l y after these have been completed to discuss any outstanding areas of concern. As the debate over suitable assessment practices i s constant, I am attempting to remain open-minded enough to try any potential arrangement. But here, too, I begin to see that the more involved i n the process I i n v i t e the students to be, the more accurate the evaluation. I r e a l i z e f a i r l y quickly that i f I am to remain sane through the process outlined above I w i l l have to build i n 66 some classroom time where the students can work uninterrupted, without my input or d i r e c t i o n , for a reasonable length of time. Thus, for the f i r s t time in the year, I resort to an old standby, the oral reading of a one-act play! Unfortunately, i t i s not even a good example of one. It i s a standard "mellerdrammer' which I formerly used to introduce the use of tableaux.) Although I do this only with the Grade Eight classes, I experience a great deal of g u i l t over this exercise, fe e l i n g that I am compromising the i n t e g r i t y of the program and not using legitimate educational drama practices, but r e a l i t y i s that I am responsible for one hundred and eighty plus students, and I need the time to step back from the work to breathe and analyze our progress. In a c t u a l i t y they too are rather t i r e d from the energy th i s type of working demands, and we a l l benefit from this b r i e f hiatus. It i s an observation that we are sharing a much more intense r e l a t i o n s h i p as a group than the other system of working allowed us to develop. In November, a way of approaching "The Crucible" i s i n i t i a t e d with the Grade Nine and Ten classes. Of a l l the work i n the Bolton course, this has l e f t the strongest image with me. Primarily used by Gavin to give us an understanding of narrative techniques I find that i t 67 captures the imagination of the students more than anything to date. Again, the strategy of personalizing the knowledge provides a r i c h foundation for the rest of the drama to b u i l d upon. The reader must keep i n mind that while experiencing the essence of "The Crucible" i s the objective here, the students w i l l not see the text for at least two weeks. We w i l l f i r s t spend time building b e l i e f and understanding i n the people and times of Salem during the seventeenth century. Following exactly the drama demonstrated by Gavin Bolton,class members assume the roles of several families i n seventeenth century Salem. They are summoned to the v i l l a g e church by the p r i e s t (teacher-in-role) to hear a report that their daughters have been seen dancing naked i n the woods. Through a series of small group and whole group improvisations, the g u i l t of several of the g i r l s i s established. Two notes here: the students are not bothered by the teacher i n role being female, i n fact during the role drama someone addresses me as x s i r ' ; second, the g i r l s who actually are g u i l t y have made the choice to be so themselves, the roles are not imposed by the teacher. The students who choose not to be g u i l t y are s t i l l of major importance to the drama, however, as suspicion i s cast on a l l of them equally. Student comments: 68 Just to l i s t e n c a r e f u l l y made me believe, r e a l l y believe that I was there, at the church. I observed that people were " w i l l i n g to be g u i l t y ' and that everyone t r i e d hard to "see' the church and i t s people. When you (Teacher i n Role) took a book and made us place our hand on the "Bible' i t was a very strong symbol (action) and that helped me believe more. When I had to go up and say "my soul i s pure' i t was hard to l i e . I had a g u i l t y f e e l i n g inside so I had to confess to my parents and the reverend. Some very surprising moments occur during the role drama. Because of the c a r e f u l l y designed entry into the drama, students are completely involved i n characters which they w i l l maintain over a few days. When they enter the chapel for the f i r s t time, my observations as teacher include seeing some of the boys, who are now Salem farmers, automatically reach to remove their hats as they step over the threshold. The g i r l s who are mothers take on the mannerisms of women whose reputations are based on the 69 demeanor of their children - hushing them, quickly s l i c k i n g down unruly hair, and scowling at the squirming of their o f f s p r i n g . Even students were s t a r t l e d by the r e a l i s t i c turns that the drama could take: I observed that people are not r e a l l y what you expect them to be. For example you expect your daughter not to be involved in i t , instead, they were! Some examples of writing i n role from the study of the two l i n e s at the beginning of Act II follow below. The students were engaged i n using narration to illuminate subtext for an audience. The following two li n e s are presented and a class discussion begins about possible ways to interpret them. Elizabeth: What keeps you? It's almost dark. John: I were planting far out to the forest's edge. With the entire class acting as di r e c t o r s , and two volunteers playing John and Elizabeth, the class gives suggestions as to the set and opening actions of both characters. To be considered, they decide, some questions need answering, for example: How does John arrive? What i s Elizabeth doing as she waits? The class finds extremely e f f e c t i v e ways to manipulate both time and the space as they interpret the l i n e s s i l e n t l y , and then decide where i n the action they should occur. During this exercise, the perfect opportunities arise to discuss such theatre directions and terminology as upstage, downstage, masking and subtext. The teacher must not be a f r a i d or hesitant to incorporate the elements of the c r a f t at the appropriate times. What must be r e a l i z e d i s that t h i s method does not "throw the baby out with the bathwater'; i t allows for these elements to be taught in context, with d i r e c t application to the moment. The student-written examples offered below were developed as narrative inserts after the class directed the volunteers through the two l i n e s . Broken into pairs, each pair wrote their "hidden thoughts' separately, then placed them appropriately in the scene. Each pair then had both the o r i g i n a l l i n e s and their own to use i n their presented work. Examples of student's hidden thoughts are: Elizabeth: At f i r s t our marriage was perfect. It r e a l l y was true love, but now I have my doubts. He comes home late and then gives me another excuse. But his excuses are getting as cold as the dinner that awaits him every night. I want to trust him and I 71 want our marriage to work out... we need to talk. Elizabeth: Look at him, he's acting l i k e nothing ever happened. Does he think I'm a fool? Did our marriage vows mean nothing to him? He knows not how to love, only to deceive. I don't know whether to be angry with him or myself. John: I know she doesn't believe me. I t o l d her I was sorry. Anyways, I stopped seeing A b i g a i l . . . Doesn't she understand i t ' s over? Oh! She i r r i t a t e s me. It i s easy to teach here that both words and actions can be surplus, and that economy i s a more e f f e c t i v e way to express meaning. What works i n this sequence i s that so many learning objectives can be met. Through teaching drama about something, (the l i v e s of people in Salem i n the seventeenth century), the students also learned about manipulating time, space and action, the basic elements of theatre, narration, history, language s t y l e s , vocal q u a l i t i e s , in a way that always kept them engaging with meaning. It becomes very clear now that, indeed, showing i s a very important part of the lessons, but not in the previous format of "go away and work on this improv for twenty minutes". When the students do present their work to the cl a s s , everyone i s tuned i n to the s p e c i f i c s of what they are seeing. The performance mode as seen by Gavin Bolton (1990) is a way to enhance learning through a sharply focused use of the t h e a t r i c a l elements of time, space, and action. Never to be mistaken for actor t r a i n i n g , the performance mode requires students to use theatre elements to achieve greater understanding of the material being explored. There i s no emphasis on studying theatre elements as learning objectives on their own. The performance mode would be used when i t i s the intention of the participants to engage the interest of an audience, which would generally be the rest of the cla s s . A useful c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the performance mode, which also distinguishes i t from dramatic playing, i s that i t allows a r e p e a t a b i l i t y , thereby sharpening focus on a single objective. Looking at only two li n e s of text and juxtaposing some simple narrative techniques with them permits both audience and participants to examine the work clo s e l y to obtain greater understanding and ownership of the material. Comments which arise during post-viewing discussions 73 include: I was amazed at how d i f f e r e n t l y people saw the same issues. The way they arranged the narration was very power f u l . A s l i g h t difference i n the way I used my voice made a big difference in the meaning. The way eye contact i s used i s r e a l l y important to show the tension between John and Elizabeth. I l i k e d how we changed character each c l a s s . I think i t allowed us to have d i f f e r e n t perspectives on the story and to better understand what was going on in the minds of a l l the characters, not just one. One of the c r i t i c i s m s of teacher-in-role comes from the observation that many inexperienced teachers, i e . those without drama background, and even some experienced ones, ie. those who say "I'm not here to act for the kids", are a f r a i d of taking the r i s k of "looking s i l l y ' i n front of their students. In fact, this p a r t i c u l a r exercise proved indisputably to me, that no matter how small a role I take, i t i s to my benefit and the students' that I am a 74 part of the work i n a par t i c i p a t o r y , not d i r e c t o r i a l manner. December, 1990 The Grade Eight classes spend December reading the one-act version of "A Christmas Carol" and doing a number of dramatic a c t i v i t i e s based on the plot, for example, a discussion that takes place between Scrooge and Cratchit before the play begins, a business deal conducted by Scrooge and Jacob Marley which doesn't succeed, a moment in the Cratchit home when the children want something special which the household cannot afford. Again, I notice an almost seasonal s h i f t i n the attention span of the classes as the holidays draw nearer. Even working i n t h i s mode, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to ignore the rhythms of the school year. As we near the Christmas break, the l e v e l of fatigue begins to show for teachers and students. The symptoms are the standard ones of short tempers, limited concentration span, increased incidents of inappropriate behaviour, and general impatience for the s t a r t of the break. Yet, I strongly feel that these "end of term symptoms' are less pronounced than in other years both for the students and myself. This might be attributed to the fact that while we worked intensely on the projects 75 we chose, there was a tangible feeling of slowing the process down, of being i n control and of following events through to a natural conclusion, not a r b i t r a r i l y making the events f i t the number of classes (or days remaining i n term!). January, 1991 Over the Christmas break, I have a chance to r e f l e c t on the progress so far and to begin mapping the next term. I have several things i n mind that I want to accomplish, and fortunately they seem to dovetail conveniently with other subject areas i n the school; t h i s i s , however, more by accident than design. During the Bolton course, our major assignment was to create a sequence of lessons on a topic of our choice which would integrate the concepts and methodologies we had been examining. Susann and I chose to design a unit to lead into a study of "A Midsummer Night's Dream", as i t i s currently required reading on the Grade Nine English curriculum. Although i n i t i a l l y we were daunted by the apparent magnitude of the assignment, i n retrospect we are also more than grateful to Bolton for forcing us to take the step which has given us the confidence to proceed with our journey into the methodology. Without having tackled this project too many questions as to potential routes would have remained unanswered. As i t was, we were able not only to design the program, but also to receive feedback and suggestions from the entire class before we ever attempted i t i n a regular classroom. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" seemed a perfect way to begin the new year with the Grade Nines. The classes were i n i t i a l l y nervous about tackling Shakespeare, as are most students, but the promise that this would be a d i f f e r e n t "way i n ' helped them to relax somewhat. During assessment "checkpoints' after the f i r s t three lessons, students announced that they f e l t comfortable, confident i n their understanding of the story, and well-immersed in the ambience of the play. This was not surprising, since the text was not introduced u n t i l the f i f t h lesson. Since Susann and I had developed this p a r t i c u l a r sequence, the f a m i l i a r i t y of i t gave us great confidence, and i t produced more evidence that we were on the r i g h t track to helping our students find personal meaning i n the subject matter. One early section of the sequence i s designed to help students understand the relationship between Helena and Hermia, as well as the secret of the elopement of Hermia and Lysander. The students are given copies of the 77 following passage: Hermia: And i n the wood, where often you and I Upon fa i n t primrose beds were wont to l i e , Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet. There my Lysander and myself s h a l l meet, And thence from Athens turn away our eyes. To seek, new friends and stranger companies. Farewell, sweet playfellow. Pray thou for us; And good luck grant thee thy Demetrius! Keep word, Lysander. We must starve our sight From lovers' food t i l l tomorrow deep midnight. In groups of three, they are set the task of interpreting the l i n e s , to be shared with an audience. However, I place r e s t r i c t i o n s on their work which are that they must remain in the same r e l a t i v e p osition throughout the scene, moving only from the waist up; they may use gestures to indicate meaning, but no f a c i a l expressions; and they must interpret every l i n e of the text i n some d i s t i n c t manner. This a c t i v i t y serves several purposes. Not only i s 78 the work, s i m p l e , e f f e c t i v e and e c o n o m i c a l , but the i n t e r a c t i o n s a r e a l s o q u i c k l y r e c o g n i z e d by both p a r t i c i p a n t s and a u d i e n c e . By a l l o w i n g " t h e a t r e 1 to do the work, none o f the p a r t i c i p a n t s h o l d s s o l e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r " c a r r y i n g ' the p i e c e , and t h i s i s a b a s i c t e n e t upon which B o l t o n ' s t h e o r y o f performance mode r e l i e s - s t u d e n t s never have to " a c t ' ; they a r e i n v o l v e d i n f o c u s i n g a t t e n t i o n on meaning, not on th e m s e l v e s . Some s t u d e n t r e f l e c t i o n s a f t e r s h a r i n g work form the scene where Hermia t e l l s Helena the p l a n s f o r elopement: We t r i e d t o use symbolism by u s i n g our hands o n l y to show t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . . . and t r i e d not to r e p e a t a c t i o n s . Doing t h i s scene h e l p e d me to u n d e r s t a n d the language because i t made me t h i n k about the v o c a b u l a r y and deeper meanings. We k e p t h e a r i n g the s c r i p t t o h e l p us u n d e r s t a n d i t have to u n d e r s t a n d the words to know how to a c t i t o u t . We weren't t a l k i n g , j u s t g o i n g through the images so we found out t h a t t h e r e was a l o t more than one meaning to words. 79 By looking at gestures you get a clear message of what the scene was about so then the language wasn't very hard to understand. As with any material one uses i n thi s method, i t i s essential for the teacher to know the basic universal purpose which drives the work. We chose the themes of love, power and i l l u s i o n as the most relevant to the l i v e s of teenagers. Indeed, a discussion about the i l l u s i o n of love in today's world revealed remarkably mature insights among the classes. The learning which occurs here i s at d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s : i t resonates with the eternal warmth of "best friends'; keeping secrets from parents; and being passionately x i n love* (a perpetual state of teenage existence). The a c t i v i t y also puts students in touch with the use of narrative, the theatre elements of manipulating space and action and c l a r i f y i n g meaning for an audience. F i n a l l y , i t serves as an excellent device to slow down the action of the entire play to help students see a small d e t a i l c l e a r l y , rather than the v b i g picture' vaguely. It was also a hope of mine to integrate some drama work with Social Studies. At the Grade Ten l e v e l , classes were beginning to study Canadian history. I knew that one 80 of the obvious figures to emerge would be Louis R i e l , but I was determined not to focus on the interminable t r i a l scene, an oft-used, but rather cloudy lens, through which to understand the essence of the man and the pursuits which drove him through history. This was a chance for me to incorporate again the p r i n c i p l e s of educational drama which I was trying to s o l i d i f y i n my own mind and we began our unit with a whole-class drama i n present day pariiament. The process of planning for content i s often f r u s t r a t i n g and time-consuming. To do j u s t i c e to this approach i t i s necessary to back-track and plan with a possible outcome in mind (ie . what do I want them to learn?). Naturally, there w i l l be incidental learning along the way, but the teacher must have some idea of where they themselves would l i k e to go, and then be f l e x i b l e enough to adapt and a l t e r the d i r e c t i o n i f i t is necessary, to accommodate the needs of the students. It i s essential to narrow the focus s u f f i c i e n t l y before the preparation begins, as i t i s just too easy to head i n an irr e l e v a n t d i r e c t i o n . This step gets easier only with practice. I thought about the Riel unit for five weeks before I recognized that what I wanted was to build understanding 81 and empathy for the p o s i t i o n of contemporary native peoples i n Canada. Through research I discovered that the s i m i l a r i t y of issues from the nineteenth century and today i s as tonishing . With the r e a l i t y of the Oka ordeal s t i l l fresh the topic i s pert inent . Based on the issue of land claims and economic progress we do a f u l l - c l a s s ro le drama as a present-day government in session i n parliament with teacher i n ro le as Prime M i n i s t e r , and the c lass as Min i s t er s . I ended the c lass with an excerpt writ ten in defence of some ac t ion that had been taken by a group of native people (actual ly a passage spoken by Louis R ie l in 1890, whose authorship I d id not reveal u n t i l we had debriefed the sess ion) . There was a precious moment when the i r jaws dropped simultaneously with "you're kidding"! I include here an ent ire journal entry by a grade ten student completed at the end of the f i r s t lesson. Embedded i n i t are a l l the learning object ives I hoped to achieve i n the study of R i e l : Today, we began a unit studying Louis R i e l and Native Canadian issues. Ms. Jardine became the Prime Minis ter of Canada, and everyone else became premiers ( s ic members) in the House of Commons. The main item of business was the "Oka s i t u a t i o n ' . F i r s t , several people spoke up with the ir views on the subject , then 82 we were separated into several groups and given study material. [Teacher Note: I c a l l e d these dossiers and asked for a complete p o l i t i c a l a n a l y s i s ] . In our groups we were to read the newspaper a r t i c l e s and decide the main issues. When we reconvened, we discussed the issues together. Almost everyone had a di f f e r e n t opinion on the topic, but no real arguments erupted. Next, we discussed possible solutions, a l l of which had f a u l t s , (but nobody's perfect). Later, we were handed a quote about how Native Canadians fought for their land and their aboriginal righ t s , i t was p e r f e c t l y v a l i d for today's times and situations, yet i t was said over 100 years ago by Louis R i e l . This exercise was very helpful i n aiding us to understand the li n k between h i s t o r i c a l and modern c o n f l i c t s between the natives and the government. This unit should also teach us to appreciate the native culture of Canada, as well as other cultures/races. I li k e d this class very much because i t made me aware of the other side of the story, which i s , I think, something everyone should be exposed to. The a c t i v i t i e s i n the unit proceed to uncover layers 83 o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g : e v e n t u a l l y l o o k i n g a t t h e e a r l y g o v e r n m e n t o f C a n a d a t h r o u g h t h e e y e s o f S i r J o h n A . M a c d o n a l d a n d G e n e r a l M i d d l e t o n ; e x a m i n i n g t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n L o u i s R i e l a n d G a b r i e l Dumont ; L o u i s a n d h i s f a m i l y ; L o u i s a n d h i s p e o p l e ; a n d by way o f c o n t r a s t , t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y p o s i t i o n o f M e t i s p e o p l e , t h r o u g h r o l e p l a y a n d t h e v i e w i n g o f t h e CBC p r o d u c t i o n D r u m s . The c u l m i n a t i o n o f t h i s s t u d y i s a p r e s e n t a t i o n t o t h r e e s e p a r a t e G r a d e T e n S o c i a l S t u d i e s c l a s s e s o f s e v e r a l o f t h e p i e c e s o f work w h i c h s t u d e n t s h a v e l i n k e d by a n a r r a t i v e . The c l a s s e s a r e i n v i t e d t o h o l d a q u e s t i o n a n d a n s w e r s e s s i o n a f t e r s e e i n g t h e p e r f o r m a n c e ; t h e e n t i r e s i t u a t i o n i s a b l y managed by s t u d e n t s , n o t t e a c h e r s . The G r a d e E i g h t c l a s s e s d e c i d e t o e x a m i n e t h e way t h e e l d e r l y a r e t r e a t e d i n s o c i e t y , a f t e r a d i s c u s s i o n a b o u t t h e h o l i d a y s a n d t h e i r i n t e r a c t i o n s w i t h f a m i l y a n d t r a d i t i o n s . The p r o c e s s f o r d e t e r m i n i n g t h e t o p i c t a k e s a f u l l c l a s s , so I h a v e two d a y s i n w h i c h t o d e c i d e o n a way i n . I n p r e v i o u s y e a r s , I w o u l d h a v e h a d t h e w h o l e way " p a v e d ' , b u t now, I s t a r t w i t h t h e s t u d e n t s ; no h i d d e n a g e n d a , no p r e c o n c e i v e d c o n c l u s i o n s . T r u t h f u l l y , a l t h o u g h I am c u r i o u s a b o u t where t h e work w i l l t a k e u s , I am no l o n g e r a f r a i d o f j u m p i n g i n a n d t r u s t i n g t h a t we w i l l 84 create the event together. The predominant focus i n th i s sequence i s the s h i f t of attitudes that occurs for the students. We do a series of family p o r t r a i t s to indicate where they see the members of their families in rela t i o n s h i p to themselves. Some are very surprised by the r e s u l t s . In each group of six, each student gets the chance to sculpt their own family. For me the strongest image i s of the family p o r t r a i t s , because I r e a l i z e d who I was close to and also that my family i s very close knit. In many families, I could see that grandparents are the centre of attention. I discovered that people's attitudes toward the eld e r l y are d i f f e r e n t than I expected... some are close, others, not at a l l . This unit l a s t s about eight classes and moves through various phases including the whole class role drama outlined here. At the end of the drama on aging, the students were asked to become members of a community i n a council meeting where the building of a seniors complex was being proposed. They were able to represent the various members after brainstorming who might be interested stakeholders i n the advantages or disadvantages of having the building on the proposed s i t e . The l i s t included: business men, people with aging parents, schoolchildren, taxpayers, people with young children, people who were a n t i - construction, and people who wanted more green-space. This t i e s i n with what Bolton (1979) suggests: the energies of the children i n thi s kind of work resemble most normal curriculum a c t i v i t i e s : the class is reading, recording, discussing, planning, selecting, checking, evaluating; a l l the common educational s k i l l s are practised and a great deal of objective knowledge i s obtained, (p.69) Another component of the unit has the students i n a hypothetical family unit with a resident grandparent who must be placed i n a home for the eld e r l y . The students do some writing i n role here and produce l e t t e r s which indicate very mature reasoning including economic hardship, lack of space, personal tension between family members, " i t ' s for your own good', and sheer heartlessness: Mother, I'm sorry that things had to turn out l i k e this for you, but this i s for the best of the family. 86 Now I must close o f f , I'm missing my manicure. Rhonda I am t h r i l l e d with the honesty and depth demonstrated by these Grade Eight students. In r e f l e c t i o n , a strong sense of their own moral fibr e becomes clear. These are comments that come from the heart; there were true moments of understanding where they stand on the issues surrounding the e l d e r l y i n our society. The feelings are a r t i c u l a t e d c l e a r l y and many students are warmed by the experience, but shocked as they r e a l i z e that their imaginary accounts are a l l too real for some elde r l y people. Already, I have begun to depart from my reliance on the summer's notes and outline. As 0'Toole and Haseman (1988) p o e t i c a l l y phrase t h i s , "as the water gets deeper, so the person who has learned to swim i s freer than the dabbler i n the shallows" ( p . v i i ) . February, 1991 An underlying expectation of many of the students, p a r t i c u l a r l y those who are accustomed to an annual Spring Production, starts to percolate, even though I was emphatic at the s t a r t of the year that my focus this year 87 would be on in-class work. Upon further consideration, I re a l i z e d that I would not be placing the i n t e g r i t y of this model in jeopardy, nor would I incur an overload of extracurricular time, i f some of the material that we developed i n class was prepared for presentation to an intimate audience of family and friends. This would serve two purposes: f i r s t , every student in the entire program would have the opportunity to be i n a performance mode in a safe s i t u a t i o n (as the material would be a c o l l e c t i v e e f f o r t ) ; and, second, the community/administrative expectation for "product' could be s a t i s f i e d on my terms. The rest of the month i s absorbed by establishing the th e a t r i c a l elements of the topics we decide to investigate. We adopt an experience f i r s t , not performance f i r s t philosophy. The playbuilding experience we had i n November with the Substance Abuse Awareness Week plays provided substantial background and thi s time I find the students more w i l l i n g to try out their ideas on each other because they feel safe within the format. One class chooses the topic racism; the other, an "insider' view of being a teenager today. Some student views: The most important lesson I learned while working on this project was to play a r a c i s t person and when I 88 was playing the r a c i s t person how wrong i t f e l t . The important lesson I learned through working on the project i s that racism i s everywhere and i t ' s going to take the help and support of everyone to stop i t . I learned how i t f e l t to be r a c i s t and how i t f e l t to be a victim of racism. Even the l i t t l e things that we say about people of a di f f e r e n t race can a f f e c t someone dramatically over the years. The lesson i s stop and think before you speak. The general fe e l i n g i n the Teenage Years play can be summed up: Since we are teenagers and our play was about that, i t probably made most of us feel comfortable, we acted i t out very well and i t was r e a l . March, 1991 March i s a short month because of Spring Break and again there are signs of fatigue, but, because the class presentations are scheduled for the week before the vacation, class work i s focused and productive r i g h t to the end. The presentations are an outstanding success. The parents are extremely proud of the creations their 89 children have developed, and, naturally, the students revel i n the attention. More importantly, however, they commend themselves on having worked together as a whole clas s , of having done the work themselves, and on seeing the process of c r e a t i v i t y in a clearer l i g h t . They p a r t i c u l a r l y enjoy the comments provided by other students about how relevant their work i s to other kids and how well i t was done. Other students recognize the serious e f f o r t s of the drama classes and i t sets a s a t i s f y i n g tone for everyone. We a l l leave for the vacation with a sense of accomplishment and a n t i c i p a t i o n of the l a s t term. For the f i r s t time, I don't feel the niggling haunt of "oh no, what w i l l we do for the l a s t six weeks"! A p r i l , 1991 Heading into the l a s t term i s a shock because the year has passed so quickly and with purpose. This i s a moment of e l a t i o n - I believe that my students have actually learned about things that w i l l have meaning for them i n the future. Not once have we touched on the mechanics of miming, the spontaneity of improv games or the need for "teamwork' exercises. Yet by this time, students are able to use appropriate gestures in a mimetic fashion to communicate their environment and intentions 90 c l e a r l y , they enter into improvisation, whether in pairs or large groups with confidence and b e i i e v a b i l i t y , and the classes are cohesive and conscious of the benefits of cooperative learning. An a i r of authenticity permeates the work. Several moments from the l a s t few months w i l l find a place i n my mind's "photo album' of the journey. When we begin to negotiate the d i r e c t i o n of the f i n a l term, the classes almost unanimously opt for exploring something i n a comic vein. They feel that they have worked seriously a l l year and need to explore something that i s n ' t , at least on the surface, so weighty. The teacher i s responsible for finding a way to make meaning relevant, yet the r i g h t vehicle has to work for the students, too. After much discussion, we embark on a unit i n clowning. I feel sure that I am not pursuing a subject of equal worthiness to the work we have already done th i s year, but I also know that, because of the standard of work the students achieved throughout the year, the attitude toward the topic i s much more dedicated than i t would have been otherwise. Eventually, we agree that i t would be fun to work as "street performers' and travel through the school during the l a s t few days of school doing short routines for other classes, beginning with some background information about clowns i n general. This study provides the chance for us to experiment with the creative exercise of designing and applying clown makeup. This a c t i v i t y I j u s t i f y under the heading "theatre a r t s ' , but i t feels l i k e a throwback to a previous l i f e ! The clowning unit is outlined on the book by Mark Stolzman, Be a Clown. It i s a "how to' of clowning which takes students through a detailed series of developmental phases in understanding the essence of clowning. Richly supplied with h i s t o r i c a l facts, character sketches of famous clowns and some popular "gags', i t has a nice tone about i t which makes the students see clowning as an art f i r s t , entertainment second. You didn't have to be yourself. You were able to express yourself in many ways whether or not i t ' s yourself. ...being able to l e t go and have fun while doing work. ...helps people to learn self-confidence, s e l f - control and e s p r i t de corps (pride i n one's group). Clowning helped me to understand that i t ' s not a l l that easy to make things funny. It's hard work. While i t seemed a b i t frivolous to me at the time, I now r e a l i z e that because we approached the a c t i v i t y with i n t e g r i t y we b u i l t upon some important areas of s e l f - concept, interpersonal s k i l l s and c r e a t i v i t y . However, during the unit, I f e l t l i k e I was taking the wrong t r a i n to someplace I didn't want to go! We are also awaiting a performance of "Canadian Stories" by Vancouver Youth Theatre. There i s an excellent guide to permit some preview a c t i v i t y i n the classroom. This guide sets a precedent i n quality that I have not seen before i n similar teaching aids. It makes the actual presentation incredibly a l i v e for the audience. I am anxious for the students to develop empathy for the topic, and we work through the series of lessons suggested with great responsiveness. The Grade Ten class also opts for something comedic, so I suggest the commedia d e l l 'arte. We explore the notion of stock characters i n whole class role play, and they whole-heartedly endorse the s t a r t i n g point. We develop our understanding of the style by working as troupes in the t r a d i t i o n a l way. They develop three separate groups, each with i d e n t i f y i n g troupe names: II Macho Tomato, The Flying T o r t e l l i n i s , and II Comedi Moto. Based on stock situations between the characters, each 93 group improvises a short c o l l e c t i o n of scenes. Generally, I am pleased with the intensity and energy they bring to the pieces. It seems that the unifying thread through this unit for them i s i n fact a h i s t o r i c a l t r a d i t i o n , a l i t t l e f r i e n d l y competition for creating the most engaging piece; either the w i t t i e s t , or the most physical or the zaniest. Without doubt, i t i s unanimously enjoyed. It also provides the opportunity for these older students to challenge themselves with the c r a f t of the theatre. I leave the d e t a i l s of staging to them, with a f i n a l conference as a whole class to discuss problem areas. They prove excellent directors of their own work. May,1991 The l a s t month of classes i s e f f e c t i v e l y upon us, and a l l i s well with the clowns and the commedia troupes. Attention i s now directed to the upcoming presentations and everyone is g a i n f u l l y occupied. This point of the year i s d i s t r e s s i n g for me while the work t i l l now has been i n s i g h t f u l , serious and thoughtful, I wonder why I have not been able to sustain the pace. Some of my conclusions are that again because of the rhythm of the school year, we are a l l too t i r e d to be engaged i n intense material; that students are now preoccupied with the completion of their academic subjects; that the usual abundance of year- end a c t i v i t i e s , both i n and out of school hours i s extremely disruptive; and, just possibly, the lure of summer vacation i s too much to bear. I suppose this f l e e t i n g disappointment i s , quite f i t t i n g l y , another stage of the journey. When a person has been away from home for some time, an unbidden wave of homesickness can break over the experience and blur the moment. Also true, however, i s that the fee l i n g subsides and one is l e f t to proceed with the journey refreshed. On the other hand, I am convinced that the l e v e l of commitment the students display in the present work i s a di r e c t r e s u l t of the tone set throughout the year. They don't treat clowning or Commedia d e l l ' a r t e as an excuse to do makeup or fool around. They are able to cope well with the h i s t o r i c a l and technical aspects of the study. The whole school i s rewarded by thi s i n t e g r i t y when the groups take one-minute routines into classrooms during the l a s t "dog-days' of the school year. June, 1991 This month I see each class only four times as the exam schedule begins the middle of the second week. I schedule us to complete tasks which require a group 9 5 e f f o r t : putting away the department equipment, discarding and sorting old costumes, removing materials from the walls and b u l l e t i n boards, returning the stacking chairs to the gymnasium. We reverse time i n the room and erase the physical evidence of our year's energy. This moment always draws comments from the students as they r e c a l l where they v i s u a l i s e d themselves in "other places and other times'. Now i s the time for r e f l e c t i n g on the whole year... to capture, i f we can, the tapestry woven with the threads of c r e a t i v i t y each of us brought to the others. The evaluative requirements are threefold: 1. for the students to assess their own contribution growth and understanding 2. for them to share with me their thoughts on this "new' approach 3. for me to evaluate my own growth and contributions to the class and to s a t i s f y the administrative requirements of assigning a l e t t e r grade to these exper iences. My feelings at the culmination of the year are s a t i s f a c t i o n , accomplishment, confidence, and a n t i c i p a t i o n 96 of next year. Because we have examined fewer topics in considerable d e t a i l , the year seems to have been more connected somehow - that we have made l o g i c a l progress in a way we c o l l e c t i v e l y determined. Students and I remark, that we a l l learned more about a variety of things and that the depth with which we explored the topics was preferable to a scattered, multi-topic approach. I am grateful to the students for being genuinely interested i n the work and for being straightforward, i n s i g h t f u l and honest i n the evaluation of the year. Naturally, there are some whose disappointment at the lack of "old familiar s t u f f i s evident; i n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, other students make the observation that this style of drama encourages the potential of everyone, and that even shy students contributed far more thi s year than they had before. I end the year with some questions which w i l l take some time to r e f l e c t on. I w i l l consider what I need to work on to help me i n my journey along this path, for I am now c e r t a i n that I must do so to create a s a t i s f y i n g career experience for myself. Also pertinent becomes the question of how best to share the knowledge I've acquired through the study. It seems that drama, at i t s best, i s the interaction of human beings i n an authentic, relevant way, and I think this could be extended to c o l l e g i a l relationships. The students provide insights into their drama experiences over the l a s t few years in comparison to the work of 1990-91. In their f i n a l evaluation, (see appendix), and in interviews (see t r a n s c r i p t ) , I see patterns emerging which lend support to the theories I've r e l i e d on th i s year: This year was more serious and i n depth than l a s t year. I think you pay more attention when your input i s r e a l l y important. It has become harder, more challenging than before. In the teaching, there was less supervision, more ins t r u c t i o n and creative freedom this year. Students have come to r e a l i z e that drama i s n ' t a l l theatre sports and improv. At the beginning, I thought that I wouldn't be given many opportunities to pa r t i c i p a t e , I thought that would be only a select group of students. 98 It has gotten harder and we have become more open. More of what students wanted was used. Much wider range of subjects this year. I thought drama would put you on the spot, i t doesn't. We have become more able to freel y talk, to the teacher. The units are longer and we go deeper i n to find new things in every c l a s s . F i n a l l y : This year there i s more focus on learning. ... and I smile, for my journey has brought me to a place I'd l i k e to spend time exploring. 6. Summary 99 This study has described a year of exploration and discovery which sprang from my need to find i n my teaching what Dorothy Heathcote has termed "authenticity'. The f u l l intention of the journey was to determine i f a change i n teaching paradigm could offer a depth and significance I only i n t u i t i v e l y sensed was missing. The data, c o l l e c t e d in the form of student journals, r e f l e c t i v e writing, writing i n r o l e , f i e l d notes and interviews was analyzed to extract the general feeling a r i s i n g from the new approach. This new methodology, c a l l e d drama i n education, which by nature i s a process of discovery and r e f l e c t i o n , with the main objective to bring about a change i n thinking, provided a suitable model for the study. I did not know, i n the beginning, what the outcome of the year's work would be. Dorothy Heathcote's words convey the appropriateness of using the act of r e f l e c t i o n as a learning t o o l : It i s not the doing - i t i s the considerations underlying the doing. It i s not the saying - i t i s the e f f e c t of the saying. 100 It i s not merely t e l l i n g people what you want them to learn, i t i s the experience a r i s i n g out of the action which enables them to learn, (p.200) It was necessary for me to depart from previous thinking styles and to adapt as much as possible to the thinking embedded i n the above quote i n order to understand the path I was following. I needed to learn that r e f l e c t i o n i s as much a part of the beginning of the journey as the end, and that i t must be constant throughout for the journey to be of value. What I discovered in the process made i t easy to want to continue the journey. Conclusions This study supports a number of conclusions about both teachers and learners. It i s abundantly clear that drama i s a two-way process of exploration; the agenda cannot be t o t a l l y imposed by the teacher for true drama work to be taking place. Each party brings with i t the raw material to be fashioned into new, relevant understanding about the human condition. Dramatic a c t i v i t y nurtures the need a l l people have to locate themselves in the human community, to understand their own potential and to 101 cr e a t i v e l y explore the art of interaction. I believe that students want to contribute i n a meaningful way to their, own learning, but that the current system creates enormous roadblocks to t h i s p o t e n t i a l . Eisner (1979) describes personal relevance as a learning ori e n t a t i o n which "places tremendous r e s p o n s i b i l i t y on the teacher". This i s i n contrast to t r a d i t i o n a l methodologies in which "prescribed content and predetermined routines and testing procedures in many ways lighten the teacher's load. They also lighten the i n t e l l e c t u a l load the students must bear" (p.60). Two things emerged strongly from the student writing about the year: 1) that students want and need to be involved a c t i v e l y in the learning process 2) that students are w i l l i n g and able to assume r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for relevant learning and meaning which i s negotiated There were very few comments from students indicating d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the approach. Those comments which did arise had more to do with a desire for b r i e f encounters with Theatre Sports than a return to a steady d i e t of them. On the whole the l e v e l of involvement from a l l students, including those who would formerly have been 102 l a b e l l e d as disruptive, was notably increased over previous years. The l i s t of teacher r e a l i z a t i o n s i s somewhat longer and must be considered as personal opinions only, a r i s i n g from my observations about myself during the year. They are offered here as evidence of personal growth and of evolving understanding of the f i e l d . 1) Teacher needs to r e a l l y l i s t e n to and in v i t e the input of students 2) Teacher must opt for meaningful a c t i v i t i e s not time f i l l e r s 3) Teacher must begin to a r t i c u l a t e knowledge and questions with colleagues 4) Teacher needs to engage i n constant s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n 5) Teacher must meet knowledge i n a personal way 6 ) Teacher must commit to keeping up with current thinking i n the f i e l d These two l i s t s indicate a s h i f t in the general tone and intention of both parties that i s recognizably d i f f e r e n t from prior years. General conclusions drawn by both me and the students about the students are summarized in the following section. Any segment of th i s c o l l e c t i o n might be expanded into a more detailed rendering, but that 103 a c t i v i t y i s beyond the scope of this study. One of the easiest points to recognize early on i n the year was that the general attitude of students had shifted to a much more conscientious one; this was evidenced by few behaviour problems during cl a s s , and increased commitment to the work and an increased l e v e l of input from a l l students. Students were far more open to sharing personal experiences relevant to the content we happened to be studying and this improved student/student as well as student/teacher relationships. Often mentioned i n the student writing was an increased comfort l e v e l i n the performance mode; once the work took on personal meaning, i t became easier to share with others. Students also f e l t that their understanding of what drama could be had changed; they f e l t that they had higher expectations of themselves and other students, p a r t i c u l a r l y after seeing what they a l l were capable of achieving. Some students recognized that t h i s method i s also more challenging for the teacher, who must be extremely well-prepared and f l e x i b l e . A l l of these developments created a c i r c u l a r e f f e c t in the way the year unfolded, as obviously the actual management of the class was not an issue. The students indicated through their response early 104 on that they were excited by the approach, which made i t easy to continue exploring. The year probably had the most profound e f f e c t and l a s t i n g consequences on me as teacher/learner. Simply from the act of l i s t e n i n g more and using "teacher talk' less, I was able to broaden my understanding of my own role and the role of the students in the classroom. Since the teacher cannot necessarily predict what the responses of the students w i l l lead to, the l i s t e n i n g becomes an essential component of the creative process as the choices for further action emerge from the work i n progress. This eliminates boredom from the workplace i n s t a n t l y ! I found that by using c e r t a i n conventions to slow the work down, I helped myself and the students to recognize the significance of the "moment', without the pressure to press toward the outcome as a sole objective. In a rea l way, the whole classroom experience became more human, connected and stimulating for me. I was t h r i l l e d to be able to use my "storehouse' of personal knowledge of "things' to heighten meaning for the classes. I r e l i e d more often on i n t u i t i o n to help me solve problems i n my own way, not fee l i n g that I would find the answer i n a resource book somewhere. The organization of time was eased by planning 105 strategies which involved schemes of work, not one-shot lessons. So while the planning took much longer to s t a r t with, the work fed i t s e l f once started. Assessment became a pleasure, as i t meant r e a l , honest feedback from the students on their understanding of their own work. I could invent new ways of seeing and reading the e f f o r t s of the class without the a r b i t r a r y assignment of "marks out of ten', which I had never been s a t i s f i e d with. In the end, I discovered that I am now a much happier teacher; reconnected to c r e a t i v i t y , more intense and passionate about my subject area than ever, and ready to take the next step of the journey as i t presents i t s e l f . Implications The implications to be made from this study have consequences for curriculum planners, school board h i r i n g o f f i c e r s and both s p e c i a l i s t and generalist teachers. The inevitable question i s : "If t h i s i s such an e f f e c t i v e method of teaching, why i s i t not more widely practised?" There are several possible responses, depending on which of the aforementioned categories of people i s being addressed. F i r s t , the work i s demanding. It requires a teacher to be dedicated to extracting minute d e t a i l from events 106 which are ordinary to make them extraordinary. This i s not a method which forgives the "here i s a s i t u a t i o n , go away and make a scene about i t " or "another theatre sports game i s . . . " or "these are your new s c r i p t s , you have seven classes to prepare them" type of thinking. Here, the teacher thinks f i r s t . The work cannot be done from recipe cards, i e . , "101 Drama Ideas for the Secondary Classroom". The educational drama teacher i s required to combine broad knowledge with a clear understanding of the dramatic art form; i n other words, the teacher must be able to use the art form from experiencing mode to demonstrating mode, to teach about things through drama. The teacher must learn to read the needs of the class as opposed to predetermining the program. This implies overcoming the fear of thinking on your feet, and joining in the learning process as a participant at the discovery l e v e l sometimes, not as a dire c t o r . Constant assessment i s necessary regarding the important learning areas for the students. It i s also essential to examine evaluation practices on an ongoing basis. The study has prompted me to explore a model of assessment which r e l i e s heavily on s e l f assessment by the students. I now fee l that the most accurate and f a i r form of evaluation is provided by anecdotal reporting. School boards and administrators need to look at the learning objectives of their d i s t r i c t s when making decisions to hire teachers with educational drama background over teachers whose dominant focus i s theatre arts and actor-training. Those whose r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s scheduling need to recognize that drama does not bend e a s i l y to the f i f t y or sixty-minute block of time i t i s most often allocated. The work i s not served by being taught in a single course at university or through fragmented workshops. The process of development requires a process of accumulating theory, exercising i t i n the classroom, r e f l e c t i n g on the process as i t i s occurring and analyzing the work at c r i t i c a l stages. Then i t requires returning to the theorists to encounter their knowledge at a new l e v e l . What does i t take to t r a i n drama teachers? More than i s currently accessible. Recommendations for further study The year has revealed a number of p o s s i b i l i t i e s for future studies. For instance, there i s not a s u f f i c i e n t body of research d e t a i l i n g the general strategies behind teacher thinking. The d e t a i l with which the drama teacher 108 must plan, not only in preparing material for use, but also during a lesson, requires a unique set of s k i l l s . It would be of interest for a study to examine and analyze the levels of teacher thinking i n a p r a c t i c a l manner. Another area of interest exists i n the progressive development of students. A study could be done on the actual growth that evolves i n students taught by t h i s method over a number of years. It would be inte r e s t i n g to compare such development and understanding of the art form with a group of students taught with a ski l l s - b a s e d approach. It would also be revealing to know how the educational drama approach a f f e c t s , in the long term, the perceptions a student has when encountering culture; i e . is there a heightened awareness of techniques in f i l m , does the acquired knowledge inspire more frequent attendance, and connoisseurship, of theatre? F i n a l l y , i t i s essential to produce more investigative l i t e r a t u r e from inside the classroom. Educators must take greater r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for examining their own practices and making meaning from what they know. 109 Concluding Remarks The duration of this study presented me with an opportunity for discovery, a p o s s i b i l i t y in any journey. Yet, t r a v e l l i n g on t h i s path has meant something quite s p e c i a l : i t i s a road which doesn't take me back to the place I came from, i t only leads on to the next destination. An experienced t r a v e l l e r knows the richness afforded by the gathering of new experiences, and how each foray into new t e r r i t o r y increases the confidence one has to complete future explorations. I feel eager now to apply the knowledge I acquired through t h i s study. A period of r e f l e c t i o n i s necessary to allow the memory to f i l t e r the accumulated information, a s e t t l i n g process which makes i t ready to surface when i t is needed. In drama terms, this i s a time of r e f l e c t i o n , a savouring of a l l the components experienced; the taste of a new culture. As t h i s part of the journey concludes, the next step is already beginning. Epilogue It would be useful for the interested reader to locate the M.A. thesis of Susann Baum (1991). The work explores the issues discussed i n t h i s study as they re l a t e to the senior secondary drama program. 110 References Barker,C. (1988). Games in education and theatre.New Theatre Quarterly. 15 227-235. Benjamin,S. (1989). An ideascape for education: What fu t u r i s t s recommend. Educational Leadership, 7, 8-14. Bolton,G. (1984). Drama as Education. Burnt H i l l , Englanb: Longman House. Bolton,G. (1986). Weaving theories i s not enough. 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APPENDIX A 113 An Approach to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Susann Baum Laurie Jardine University of B r i t i s h Columbia 114 Table of Contents Rationale Part 1 : Introduction to a) Elizabethan times b) "A Midsummer Night's Dream Part 2 : A Walk i n the Enchanted Forest a) Brainstorm b) Map/Picture c) Magic Potion d) Tableau Part 3 : Who Holds the Power? a) Modern Times b) Text based Part 4 : The Lovers Part 5 : The Players Part 6 : The Fairy Kingdom Part 7 : Conclusion : Tying 115 Rationale A sequence of lessons for moving into the text of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with secondary students. The approach used i n t h i s series of lessons focuses on drama as a vehicle for learning. It requires no acting a b i l i t y of the students, no formal theatre t r a i n i n g and no need for excessive and unnecessary properties. It does, however, esta b l i s h a s e n s i t i v i t y to the economical use of t h e a t r i c a l elements and an appreciation of the art form. Involvement i n these experiences i s personalized and committed. It i s helpful for the teacher to u t i l i z e the nuances of voice, a keen sense of pacing, i n t u i t i v e "reading" of the class and, at a l l times, to maintain an empathy and interest in the experiences of the students. Teachers must help their students to recognize that "acting" i s not the intention, rather i t i s hoped that each individual w i l l respond t r u t h f u l l y to each new development. Through this approach, students can begin to refi n e their understanding of t h e a t r i c a l elements, while deepening their understanding of the text. We have attempted to illuminate c e r t a i n concepts of 116 the play in d e t a i l , p a r t i c u l a r l y the notions of love, power and i l l u s i o n . PART ONE INTRODUCTION Focus : to provide background information on Elizabethan times and a summary of "A Midsummer Night"s Dream" (known hereafter as M.N.D.) Materials : tape recorder taped selection of music with dreamlike qua l i t y (approx 2 minutes) 1. Teacher asks students to s i t i n c i r c l e on the f l o o r . 2. Teacher gives information on Elizabethan times as presented below. It i s not necessary to provide more information than t h i s at thi s time. - "A.M.N.D" was written i n approx. 1595 by William Shakespeare - New World recently discovered; exploration increasing - i l l i t e r a c y common, people s t i l l tended to believe strongly i n t r a d i t i o n s , l o c a l customs and superstitions - Elizabeth I was queen, thus "Elizabethan" era 117 - the lev e l s of power were c l e a r l y understood by a l l ; both in government and family l i f e - fathers were the unquestioned heads of the household; daughters and wives had l i t t l e power - Midsummer Night occurred between dusk June 23 and dawn June 24, presenting an occasion for merrymaking, superstition, dancing and pageantry. - Midsummer Night was a time when Elizabethan audiences would w i l l i n g l y believe in the su p e r s t i t i o n that the great heat of summer l e f t men's minds open to madness. 3. Teacher: " Everyone now find a comfortable sleeping position on the floor,eyes closed, arranged i n a c i r c l e . I'm going to turn the l i g h t s out and t e l l you a story." Play tape (ask students to imagine they are l y i n g i n a forest) 4. Teacher : (read as written)* "This i s a story about several groups of people whose l i v e s become entangled one evening in midsummer. Four young lovers escape into the forest where they become the entertainment of the King of the F a i r i e s , Oberon and his mischeivous assistant, Puck. The lovers have come to the forest to be free from the eyes of their parents, and are 118 unaware of the eyes that watch them now. The f a i r y King and his Queen are quarreling and the enchanted forest becomes their battleground. At the same time, the forest has become the rehearsal space for a group of uncouth tradesmen who intend to produce a play to celebrate the upcoming marriage of the King of Athens, Theseus." * as this i s not teacher in r o l e , i t i s suggested that the text be followed as i t s economical framework, avoids confusion. PART TWO A Walk i n the Forest Focus: to c l e a r l y e s t a b l i s h the setting of the play Materials: 2 large sheets of paper for each group of 6 2-3 assorted f e l t pens per group A^ BRAINSTORM 1.Teacher: "Please get into groups of 6. Quickly create a l i s t on the f i r s t sheet of paper of a l l the things that come to your minds about enchanted forests. Include: feelings objects ideas things that could happen to you You have 1 minute." ** i f you feel the class needs s l i g h t l y longer extend time Group Management : Assign a recorder reporter ... BEFORE st a r t i n g 2. Teacher : Now, your group spokesperson w i l l share what you feel are the most s i g n i f i c a n t items on your l i s t . * caution students not to repeat what has been said, and that the l a s t group might therefore have quite a short l i s t . Class shares l i s t s * Teacher should try to extract the most important items from the l i s t , including such things as hiding, s p e l l s , potions, magic, being watched, f a i r i e s , etc. B. MAP/ PICTURE This series explores the vi s u a l representation of the forest. 1. Teacher:" We're going to use some of these ideas i n a minute, but f i r s t , l e t ' s talk b r i e f l y about the notions of love, power and i l l u s i o n and the symbols that we recognize 120 to represent them." Discussion of symbols 2. Teacher : "Now, with the ideas that you've heard, your group w i l l create a map, or picture, on the 2nd sheet of paper that depicts an enchanted forest. Within i t , the notions of love and i l l u s i o n are represented, and outside the boundaries of the forest, power and authority are shown. Include somewhere i n the forest the idea of watching and being watched." * Allow s u f f i c i e n t time for t h i s : gauge the energy of the class Post a l l maps around room 3. Teacher: "Representatives w i l l now share your map with the cl a s s , being sure to indicate where on the map we should see power,love and i l l u s i o n . " Share maps Discuss the use of symbols that occ C. MAGIC POTION 1. Teacher : "Can you think, of occasions when s p e l l s and potions are used and for what reasons someone might want 121 to use them? General Discussion: e l i c i t such ideas as f a i r y t a l e s , mad s c i e n t i s t s , love s t o r i e s ; revenge, control, to change the future 2. Teacher: Both s p e l l s and a love potion appear i n A.M.N.D. In new groups of 6 now, write a s p e l l of 3-4 l i n e s which are intended to make someone f a l l i n love. You are to * prepare to cast the s p e l l i n the most e f f e c t i v e way you can devise, over the rest of the class. It i s important for your group to decide on how the class should be positioned when they f a l l under s p e l l . * don't rush th i s 3. Each group casts s p e l l over others i n turn. Discussion What are your thoughts and feelings about power after doing this exercise? What do you notice about the use of language? How did each of the groups use space? D. TABLEAU: Divide class into 2 groups Each group w i l l create a s t i l l picture which represents the map. Someplace i n your picture you must suggest love, power, watching and il l u s i o n / f a n t a s y . Museum exercise 1. Ask. the 1st group to set up their picture 2. t e l l the rest of the class to find a friend to speak to as they observe the statue... they are to WHISPER only to each other and share any and a l l the impressions they "read" i n the s t i l l p i c . 3. after a suitable length of observation, have the class share aloud what they think they have seen. 4. have the s t i l l picture relax to explain i t s e l f . 5. repeat with other half. Discussion 1. Where i n your l i f e do you experience being influenced by power? 2. In what forms do we find i l l u s i o n / f a n t a s y i n our l i v e s ? 3. What kinds of love are there? * any of the above questions might extend into a journal writing assignment. 123 PART THREE Who Holds the Power? Focus: a comparison of authority within families i n modern and ancient times Materials: chairs A. MODERN SITUATION 1. Teacher : " get into groups of 3, please" " arrange 3 chairs i n a form that would indicate that 2 people are in c o n f l i c t and 1 person i s there to help solve the problem." 1. the roles are a graduating student, the father of the student and the school counsellor. 2. the s i t u a t i o n i s that you, the student have decided to go to university after graduating, but your father wants you to take over his business. He has c a l l e d t h i s meeting with the school counsellor to try to convince you to change your mind. You are humiliated and embarrassed by your father's outspoken behaviour. "Go ahead with the meeting ,now." Discussion What did you observe happening in this encounter? (ask each role i n turn s t a r t i n g with the student) 124 * hopefully the responses w i l l include... power, authority, suppression, determination, resentment, helplesness,etc.) B. TEXT BASED Materials: chairs banners of the following posted around room randomly: a) King: " To you your father should be as a god" Theseus b) Father: "As she i s mine I may dispose of her" Egeus c) Daughter: "I would my father looked but with my Hermia eyes" 1. Teacher: "Stay i n your roles from the l a s t exercise, but the counsellor becomes the King. Egeus, the father has arranged a marriage for his daughter which she strongly opposes. He wishes Theseus to make a decision." "Show t h i s meeting from beginning to end,but each person may only speak once, to say their l i n e at an appropriate time.Decide as a group i n what order and why." Show a l l scenes Discussion What were some of the d i f f e r e n t choices groups made to make the ideas clear to the audience? 125 (placement of chairs, order of l i n e s , entrances, e x i t s , i e , the action: was i t l o g i c a l ? ) * this provides an opportunity to discuss theatre elements PART FOUR The Lovers Focus: to introduce the lovers Materials: chairs (essential) copy of text passage for each student A c t i v i t y Description: Interpretive Gesturing Students are asked to interpret a short piece of text, u t i l i z i n g only upper body. They are to remain seated throughout and are permitted to move only arms, hands, and upper trunk. They may rotate i n chair. The face must remain expressionless. This i s not an opportunity to MIME, rather actions are representional and abstract. Avoid the use of c l i c h e and convention. * Teacher must demonstrate an interpretion of one or two l i n e s 1. Teacher sets up four chairs i n straight l i n e . 2. C a l l a volunteer up to represent each character as they are introduced, (this exercise i s to make clear which gender matches each name). 126 "We know that Hermia ( g i r l takes one of the seats) i s in love with Lysander (boy takes seat next to Hermia). We know that Demetrius (a boy take seat on other side of Hermia) loves Hermia and has been given the ri g h t to claim her as his bride. The l a s t lover, but unloved, i s Helena (takes remaining seat next to Demetrius), who i s b l i n d l y devoted to Demetrius, who rej ects her." Lysander Hermia Demetrius Helena Interpretive Gesturing Exercise 1. Teacher explains the exercise as above. 2. Class i s divided into groups of four preferably two boys, two g i r l s . 3. Each student receives copy of the text and characters assigned. 4. Teacher does demonstration of interpretation of f i r s t two or three l i n e s . 5. Students interpret entire passage i n their groups. And often i n the woods where you and I Upon f a i n t primrose beds were wont to l i e . Emptying our bosoms of their council sweet. There Lysander and myself s h a l l meet. And thence from Athens turn away our eyes. To seek new friends and stranger companies. Farewell, sweet playfellow.Pray thou for us; 127 And good luck grant thee they Demetrius! Keep word, Lysander. We must starve our sight From Lover's food t i l l tomorrow deep midnight. Notes : Teacher w i l l narrate story while groups do presentation of work. Teacher reminds class to take time and not miss any of the action or meaning of passage. Teacher cautions class that they are not acting but representing. Teacher reminds class why the lovers are going into the forest. * allow plenty of time for thi s exercise. SHARE ALL SCENES Discussion How did each group c l e a r l y represent the relationships between the lovers? * t h i s i s an opportunity to emphasize use of space and action PART FIVE The Players Focus: to introduce the play within the play the concept of dual roles an understanding of the comic elements Materials: A copy of the prologue for each student l i s t of tradesman and corresponding player 128 Introduction: Teacher introduces laborers "Also i n the forest i s a group of men who are laborers. They are in the forest to secretly rehearse a play to off e r their king Theseus and his bride Hippolyta on their wedding day. These are rough coarse tradesmen who are very anxious to please their king so they tend to overdo even the s l i g h t e s t action. They are perfect examples of what we would c a l l "hams." Distribute copy of prologue and character l i s t (see following page) Instructions: In groups of six, choose characters from the l i s t and as the prologue i s being narrated create the action which goes with the text in the most exaggerated manner possible. When you get to the end of the prologue, FREEZE, being sure to capture the elements of exaggeration i n the statues. SHARE ALL SCENES Discussion Caricature Comedy/Tragedy Buffoonery...enjoyment of others discomfort PART SIX The Fairy Kingdom Focus: to explore the ideas of power j ealousy magic s p e l l s and potions Materials: poster of: "The next thing she waking Looks upon She s h a l l pursue with the soul Of love." INTRODUCTION: The forest also holds a kingdom of f a i r i e s . The King, Oberon and his Queen, Ti t a n i a meet unexpectedly in the forest at a time when they are having a lover's spat. The f a i r i e s love to create havoc for the purpose of entertaining themselves. Instructions: In pairs, create the action of the meeting of Oberon and T i t a n i a which leads up to the text above being spoken by Oberon. The ideas of jealousy, power and a love potion must be used. * allow s u f f i c i e n t time , SHARE ALL SCENES Discussion How does love a f f e c t behavior? PART SEVEN TYING THE KNOT: CONCLUSION Focus: to show the resolution of a l l the confusion Materials: poster: "So s h a l l a l l the couples three Ever true in loving be." INTRODUCTION: Eventually a l l the lovers were round i n the forest by Theseus, Hippolyta and Egeus and a l l were forgiven for their disobedience. The magic of the f a i r i e s was able to unite everyone s a t i s f a c t o r i l y and they a l l l i v e d happily ever after. B. A WEDDING PORTRAIT Teacher: a. Divide class into three equal groups. b. Each group is to create a wedding p o r t r a i t of the three couples just married. c. Groups must distinguish between the wedding party and the wedding guests. The wedding party consists of Theseus/Hippolyta, Hermia/Lysander, and Helena/Demetrius. d. Have class arrange the space to represent a palace reception area where each group must enter into the h a l l through an established entranceway. e. Each group w i l l enter the h a l l and set up their p o r t r a i t for the rest of the class to see. The f i n a l step i n the sequence i s to have a l l groups create their tableaux simultaneously while the teacher speaks the following passage: 131 "If we shadows have offended. Think but t h i s , and a l l i s mended: That you have but slumb'red here, While these visions did appear." This i s the end of the sequence. Teachers would now move into a further exploration of the text. 132 APPENDIX B Interview with Grade Ten Students June 18, 1991 L : This i s r e a l l y informal and I appreciate you being able to o do t h i s . I just r e a l l y wanted to get some more information so I can improve my own undestanding of what's happened th i s year. That's a l l this i s . So, i f I ask. you a few questions then I would also l i k e you to ask me some questions because I think you probably have some questions about how things went! (students chuckle) I'm not taking notes, i t ' s a l l on tape. What I'd l i k e to s t a r t with i s i f you noticed a general difference i n the tone of the class t h i s year compared to last? #1: For me i t was a r e a l l y big difference because I was i n a 9/10 s p l i t class and this year with straight 10 I got to know everyone r e a l l y well. In drama, you get r e a l l y close. You always have to work with people and trust them. L: Is there something special about the way you work with people in drama as opposed to other classes that helps those relationships work better? 133 #1: You completely have to trust the person - i t ' s a complete rel a t i o n s h i p - you get to know people's insides, what they're thinking and feeli n g . You're completely open - you just have to be to survive. #2: It was a l i t t l e hard the f i r s t two months because we were used to d i f f e r e n t areas - architect/monastery thing - hard to get into the swing of i t . But that was r e a l l y the molding, i t got us together for the s t u f f ahead. L: Did you find that's what happened that because you were working as a whole class group that you came together faster as a group than you would have i f we'd done i t the way we used to where we did a warmup and then something else and an improvisation. Did that have an e f f e c t on how you gelled? #1: I l i k e d the warmup the f i r s t year. L: Yes and i t ' s okay to do that. Did you find there were times i n the role drama where there was enough physical action to keep you al e r t ? #1: Yes i n the tableaux but not i n the monk unit. 134 L: That has been the most universally hated unit I've ever done. Except there was some r e a l l y good work that came out of that. #1: And some of the people you got to do things l i k e as the stranger r e a l l y opened him up a l i t t l e more because he was r e a l l y taken i n and i t forced him to be i n a s i t u a t i o n where he r e a l l y had to open up. #2: The ar c h i t e c t thing r e a l l y opened r i g h t up. The thing that was hard for me was that l a s t year i t was structured but i t was always jumping from topic to topic and i t wasn't in depth. It- was hard at the beginning to get into t h i s suddenly in-depth s t u f f . L: Once you got over the fact that i t wasn't going to be l i k e l a s t year (and I think that was f a i r l y early on), what did i t f eel 1 ike? #2: At f i r s t I thought "I don't l i k e t h i s " but once a section was done, you'd look back and r e a l i z e how much you'd learned. There were always parts where you'd think: "I l i k e this or I l i k e t h i s " but then you'd look back and see that what you'd l i k e d , you'd learned on and what you didn't l i k e 135 you'd learned even more on. #1: Yah, I'd agree with that - we learned a l o t th i s year and when we were doing the monk think, I didn't think i t was very inte r e s t i n g but I learned so much about characterization and how important i t i s . "The Crucible" - that was so great. I loved that so much how wer had to go into the family groups. It was so wonderful - the importance of being so concentrated on i t you can't go o f f the topic or else i t ' s not interesting and I always get mad that i n school, there are people who don't r e a l l y wnat to be there. Sometimes people do get out of the role and then i t s not as r e a l i s t i c . L: Let me ask a question d i r e c t l y related to that. Do you think that the le v e l of commitment, even by the people who weren't here to take i t seriously increased because of the kinds of a c t i v i t i e s we were doing? #1: Yes, for the most part - i t worked r e a l l y well. L: By doing the role drama before we looked at the text - did that help your understanding? 136 #1: I think i t may have dwelled on i t a l i t t l e too long. #2: Also with that - you made up your own scenes, got your own story l i n e in your head, and then when you read the actual text i t was d i f f e r e n t . L: Did you find i t too hard to make a s h i f t ? #1: No, i t was okay. L: I f you find that you are working with people who are only semi-committed to the work, do you find i f you increase your own l e v e l of communication to the drama that t h i s w i l l help draw them in as well? #1: Yes d e f i n i t e l y - when we were working on the natives issue. I y e l l e d at one of the group a l o t because he was goofing around - and he would never l i s t e n ; but i f I actually just went and started doing i t , then he would s t a r t to adapt. So I found that shouting wasn't good. #2: What I find I have a hard time with i s accepting other people's l e v e l s . For me, i f I'm on a ce r t a i n l e v e l , I want to go with i t rather than hold back. 137 #1: That's also part of the thing that some people think drama i s an easy course so they're not on the same l e v e l . L: In your understanding about what people are saying, when they talk about drama now what do they say? What do they notice about the changes in the course? #2: Over the l a s t year, I think that the attitude toward the course i s : i t ' s not fun and games, I mean, i t i s but that's not a l l i t i s . L: Where do you find that the best work came out of this year. What moments do you think people worked the hardest, not where they had the most fun but where did the creative potential of a l l the people get drawn out the most. #2: I think when they understood what was going on l i k e the Commedia d e l l ' a r t e where with the native one or the monks, by the time you'd understand, the unit was over. L: So there's a l o t of struggling to get to the meat of the material. #2: And when you get to that then you bu i l d on that. 138 #1: I think the strong work came from the commedia, because of smaller groups people practiced well and the night performance was so great. Also, when we had that theater sports group, people were saying "I forget how to do t h i s " so I'd suggest that one day a month should be just theatre sports. L: Uh huh, I see. I think that I was so anxious to see what would happen i f I divorced theatre sports from clas s . . . I didn't see that there were so many people who think that's what drama's a l l about. By taking that out, I was removing any kind of f a m i l i a r i t y they had i n the cla s s . #1: But i t was good that you did that because now they appreciate the other side. #2: I think the Louis Riel thing was our strongest because the l a s t tableaux were so stong. L: Rememberance Day? #1: When we were doing i t , I'd think "Oh, this i s nothing" but when I look back at each thing, I think that each unit was very strong - (tape interupted) 139 #2: The thing about theatre sports - people said they'd forgotten how to play the games, but I think that through the year, i t brought up the i m p r o v i s a t i o n l e v e l , they're improvisation a b i l i t y was higher without the games. #2: It's good tying i n the work l i k e R i e l to other classes. You can remember things for other subjects. #2: With Riel we could look at d i f f e r e n t perspectives, not just the textbook. #1: The teacher has to have a l o t of knowledge. You gave us a l o t of background to bu i l d on - we had more of a chance to do something with the information t h i s year than l a s t . L: Is that a l o t d i f f e r e n t than what was happening l a s t year? #3: Last year we did a l o t of improvisation; t h i s year, I think people got more out of i t because there are people who aren't very good at improvisation. This year we had a much wider range to excel i n . #2: Plus, I've yet to see a "serious improvisation' - everyone goes for being funny. Plus with theatre sports, you're not 1 4 0 r e a l l y focused - the thing I learned from the monks was how to focus yourself. L: What did you think of me being i n role with you? #3: I think i t helped because i f we'd just done i t ourselves, i t would have f a l l e n apart, people would have started to laugh and not gotten into character. With you there, people were quiet and focused. #2: Plus, a student can play an adult, but for other students to believe that another student i s supposedly older i s harder to do - i t ' s easier with an actual adult. L: When you were doing role dramas, what did you notice about being the character or developing the character? #3: You could make your own character. #4: You're not interpreting someone else's picture of someone else. It's your picture of who you are during that role drama. #2: When you said we would be writing our own s c r i p t s there were 141 a l o t of ah's (groans), but I think i t ' s easier than working from a text. You also get better r e s u l t s when i t x s your own st u f f . L: Let's talk about the writing process a l i t t l e . When we did "The Crucible", we did write some monologue (hidden thoughts). #2: That was interesting because i t brought out that not everything is spoken to the other person and i t was hard to bring out what you don't normally say. #4: Lots of people find i t hard tro say what they're thinking or believe what other people are thinking. I f you just write what you think i t flows, i t sounds stronger but natural. L: Where were the most believable events? #2: The ar c h i t e c t moment was for me the most believable for me the whole year. #3: I think the one I most remember was when I was one of the g i r s l s i n the Crucible unit and we had to go o f f and say i f we were g u i l t y or not of being there. 142 #4: I l i k e d the architect thing too. did such a good job of being who he was that you knew exactly what you needed to do. L: Did you ever feel that there was a pressure on you to •perform'. #3: No. L: Is i t v a l i d to use drama as a way of studying issues? #2: Yes but we don't want i t to be a current a f f a i r s class either! L: I'm a f r a i d our time i s up. Thank you very much for sharing these comments with me; i t helps me alot to see the year from your eyes.


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