Saturday, 9 May 2009

Week 2 in Leicester - What we did ...

When we started the second week we were full of enthusiasm. We were determined to try and change the school even if it was only slightly. When we returned to the classes we were met with a warm welcome and that made us feel completely focused and motivated about what we were there to do.

Year 10's - Session 1

With the year 10 classes we firstly spoke about how we communicate. How do you communicate? The answers that we got from this were 'through talking' and 'through eye contact'. We then spoke about body language and sometimes if you are sitting in class with a 'not bothered' body language that communicates to the teachers that you do not really want to be there and if they were the teacher then how would they feel seeing that.

We then played the 'Face Value Game' which is where Lucy, Bex and I wrote three facts down about ourselves on bits of paper and then the class had to match the phrases to us. This showed them that taking people on face value is never accurate and that how you present yourself physically infers more to people than you realise.

We then went on to play Babushka, where someone stands at the front of the room and the class tries to run up behind them without them seeing. When the person at the front of the room turns round the class has to freeze and then when asked make up a story about the body position that they are in. This then developed into having to lye on the floor before getting to the front and then to having to lye on the floor and sit on a chair before getting to the front. This enabled their imaginations to be motivated and completely use how their body was communicating to the class.

We then went on the play 'Freeze' which is where the class stands in a circle and two people start off a scene in the middle of the circle. Someone in the circle then shouts freeze and using the physical position that the two performers are in, swap with one of them and create a new scene. This game developed the idea of Babushka and again gets them to think about how their bodies are communicating to the outside world

We then got the class to get into three groups and in 5 seconds create a tableau. Once this shape was created they then were given a setting, such as an art gallery. Then they had to come up with line which represent why they were in that physical position in that setting. This gave them the opportunity to see that verbal communication can be dictated by physical movement and does not always have to be verbal dictating the physical.

Year 10's Second Session

The classes responded really well to the game Babushka and therefore at the start of the second session we played the game again.

We then lined five chairs up in a row and had five volunteers to sit on the chairs. In chair number one they were neutral and in chair number five they were exaggerated. The chairs in between had to bridge the gap between the two extremes. We then gave the students an emotion such as sadness. Once they had started we noticed that they would cry and then stop, so we encouraged them to keep the acting going and keep the momentum up. Then we would add a sixth person i.e. one of us and demonstrated how extreme you could be. This demonstrated that they felt self-conscious whilst on stage but by adding one of us into the equation it enabled them to see that it was, for example Lucy on stage it was her character and that even though you feel silly, to the audience you just look the part. This gave the class motivation to play every character with conviction and focus.

This led onto the '3 chair emotion game'. This is where there were three chairs on stage, a happy chair, a sad chair and an angry chair. when stood by that chair you had to take on that emotion whilst having a conversation. Therefore two students got up and acted a scene moving from chair to chair. This allowed them to create a scene very quickly and showed them that if you get stuck, see what happens when you change an emotion and can give them another way to develop any scene.

We then concluded by bringing everyone back into a circle and see what they had obtained from the lesson. They admitted that they looked at performance in a different light and they now knew that you look more 'stupid' on stage if you are not committed to the role than if you are. If you focus on what you are communicating to an audience and what you are bringing to a role then your performance will be more convincing. They also said that they were now more aware of what body language truly communicates.

Year 11's - Sessions

This was the first time that we had, had the year 11's. Therefore we combined the first weeks sessions with the second weeks sessions. We did the one word story game followed by the plan for the second week.

On the Wednesday evening we attended their Dance Exam performance where they sang songs and dances from musicals. When we joined the year 11 Dance class on Thursday they were reviewing the tape and talking about how well they thought it had gone. They had said that it could have gone better and some parts were 'rubbish'. Therefore over the next two sessions that we had with them we did the lesson plan and they commented that they wanted to be proud of the work they performed and they weren't as proud as they could have been with the performance the earlier evening. They said that they realised through the sessions that again if you are committed to the work, i.e. turn up for rehearsals and work hard on your role then you can perform well and actually be proud of the work they produce.

These class was described to us as one of the worst classes but actually some of the ones we enjoyed teaching most and i feel these two classes absorbed and improved the most.

Year 12's, Year 13's and Year 12 B-Tec

As we were asked to help the older students with their exam work, we just helped them develop their ideas

The Year 12's were working on a drama in the community project - we helped them develop the idea that they would do a performance in a nearby wood and take the audience through the wood and show them what had happened over the years in that wood through the trees eyes

The Year 13's were working on a devised piece and chose to use a poem called 'The Piano' for their stimulus. The poem was about a man who remanissed about the time when his mothered played the piano to him when he was younger and that this was the best time in his life. They were four women and therefore decided to tell the story about the man through the women he had had in his life, through the mothers eyes, the wife's eyes, the mistresses eyes and the sister's eyes and that how he could never love them as much as he loved his mother and the piano.

The Year 12 B-Tec were working on musicals from 'Cats'. They brought their pieces and the backing tracks to the sessions and we went through how they could perform the pieces. Some people we conscious as they felt that they couldn't sing so therefore we involved them in the chair games, talked about earlier in the blog and tried to show them that as long as they fully performed the piece that actually you could pull it off. If you believed you were the character singing that song then the audience would.

The Teacher Session

Again even though we had advertised the teacher session only four students accept Kate attended the session. This made us feel that we were teaching to the converted but we continued as we knew how important this session was.

We played the face value game and expressed how important it was that you did not take people for face value. The teachers responded by saying that only bad teachers take students on face value or because of what other teachers have said about them. However much this statement is true i felt that they were overlooking how natural it is to make judgments about people. We also explained that we had spoken with the students about this and how they can judge teachers on face value as well.

We then played another game with them where myself, Lucy and Bex would play a game and they had to try and guess how the game worked. For example i would say a phrase and put my hands on my knees, therefore i would be correct. Then a teacher would say a phrase but not put his hands on his knees (as it is not a natural thing to do) and he would be wrong. We would each say a phrase going round the circle until most of the group had got how to be 'correct'. we played a few more games of this manner and then spoke about how frustrating it is for students and teachers when they do not understand something. I.e. when a student does not understand what is being taught and also when a teacher does not understand why a student acts the way they do.

From this talking point we went on to speak about in their opinion, what makes a good teacher and what makes a bad teacher. They said that 'it is hard to say what makes a bad teacher as they did not have any bad teachers within the school' so instead decided to concentrate on what makes a good teacher. They said ...

'A good teacher is someone who always puts their students first'

'A good teacher is someone that understands how a students home life can be as well as their school life'

We then divulged into a discussion about general things within the school and about teaching life. They expressed that they realised what the students go through but that sometimes they do not realise what the teachers go through everyday either.

This was where we decided that each 'side' as it were needed to be shown what the other goes through and deals with. Therefore we decided to come back and put on a performance showing what we have experienced over our time at Longslade and the different views that we have encountered. We then wanted to have a party after the performance where the teachers and the students can mingle and maybe try to bridge the gap slightly. We know we will not be able to change this school dramatically but if we are just planting seeds then it is something.

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