Before you skip this blog…wait. This isn’t a blog about the benefits of drama in the curriculum. This isn’t a blog crying about how drama is being downsized in education. This isn’t a blog about how drama unlocked the potential of a student in my lesson. No, this blog is about the potential for drama in teaching and the planning of a lesson.
Now, I am not suggesting you dust off your legwarmers and start doing some stretches against the wall. Nor, am I suggesting that you use drama or dramatic scenarios to combat problems or difficult situations.
Take the following examples from my teaching:
Persistently, a student had been misbehaving in lessons. Each time this occurred, the student was punished. The behaviour did not improve. There were several attempts to reason with the student and explore the cause of the problem. Sadly, each attempt failed.
The next time the student misbehaved the student was led to our reception by me. There I made the student ring their parents and explain why they were ringing. I then took the telephone from the parent and informed the parent’s support in the matter, assuming they supported me in the matter. The student’s behaviour improved.
The presentation of several exercise books in a set were awful. After several warnings and several punishments, nothing was changing. Their attitude towards presentation wasn’t improving. Work wasn’t underlined or presented with care. The students even had a sticker on their books, explaining the rules and expectations relating to the presentation of their work.
I marked the set of books. Then, when returning the books, I changed how I usually do things. I had separated the books into two piles. One pile was filled with lovely neat books well-presented and gleaming with care. The other pile was filled with scruffy, doodled books. Before I returned the books, I explained the reasons for the two piles and my disappointment over one pile of books. I asked two students to hand the books out. The students’ eyes were fixed on the student with the job of handing the ‘bad books’. I repeated the process each time I marked the books. And, just to reinforce the point, I stuck a big, fat sticker saying ‘Presentation Problems’ on the front of the book. When doing this, I explained to the student involved that I would remove the sticker when the presentation in his /her books had improved.
The books improved that lesson and from then onwards.
The effort of several students in a year group was a concern. They were coasting through their work and not really applying themselves fully to the work set.
I stuck a sticker into each student’s exercise book informing the students that I was watching their effort in lessons. I then repeated this over the year. Each time I stuck a sticker in their book with ‘Mr Curtis is watching your progress’ and wrote a small comment. For several students, this worked and they changed their behaviour.
Teaching is a complex thing. We deal with complex situations and sometimes we need complex strategies to deal with things. However, sometimes it is something quite simple is needed. A little bit of drama.
Thanks for reading,