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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Drama Class in St.Ignatius Riverview

RivRiverview School in Sydney is a Private Catholic School that is one of the most competitive, and most expensive, schools to get into in the Sydney area. It offers exceptional learning opportunities to the students including field trips, extra music training, and intense sports training. While I was there, I got to observe many of the elective classes that the students got to take such as art, library, computers, drama, band, and music. Each one of these classes was very different than the way I have seen elective or "specials" done in the US. The most interesting of these classes that I saw was the drama class. The teacher was doing a lesson on improvisation was doing activities with the students to get them thinking creatively in drama. The first activity he started with having the boys in four corners of the room. One boy from a corner would come in the middle of the class and start the activity by acting out a profession. When the teacher said freeze, a boy from the next corner would come out and assume the exact position that the boy who froze was in. He then would use that position to start acting out another position. No boy could go twice until all of the boys in their corner had gone. The biggest challenge that the teacher had with the boys was the they somehow turned everything into something violent. It was interesting to see this happen and I had never been in an all boys school before so it got be thinking about how this activity would have gone if it was done in an all girls class. The next activity was playing a game called "Things". This game was conducted by having everyone stand in a circle and the teacher would say a phrase such as "Things you would never say to your teacher" and when the students had an idea they would step into the circle and respond to the phrase. The students had to think on their feet and try and come up with humorous responses to the phrases that were provided. The boys did very well with this but it was very obvious which students were very confident and which students were very shy. The teacher had to scaffold for certain students by coming up with phrases that were easier or more common to respond to. This was very different than the schools that I have seen in the BPS because many schools do not have the time or flexibility to conduct classes like this. Many classroom teachers do what they can to include drama into their teaching but I have never seen an actual class dedicated to drama. I think it is an excellent way to not only further passions of children who may be interested in drama but also to develop confidence in all of the students in being in front of their classmates and using their creative minds in a different way than they do in music or art. The assessment is based on effort and improvement which creates a safe environment for the students. However, this is not a possible class that can be conducted in any school. This school is fortunate enough to have enough room to have a drama room filled with costumes and props. I would love to take some of the activities that I observed in lessons in drama and implement them into my classroom one day.



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