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Introduction to Image Theatre and Role Drama

July 26, 2011 2 comments

Today was the first day of class. Even after 3 weeks of 8am class, I can’t quite seem to get the hang of going to bed early enough so that the 6am alarm doesn’t require multiple snooze hits . Bleary eyed and completely lost and confused- even though I spent a year in Scarfe- I finally find Room 1005, and stumble into the middle of a Name Game. I haven’t had any coffee, but here we go!

We were exploring Image Theatre today(created by Augusto Boal, a Brazilian who wrote Theatre of the Oppressed; note to self- go read Pedagogy of the Oppressed! more to come about Augusto later…)

Activity:

1. Think of a teacher- good or bad. Free write about him or her  (3 minutes)

2. Share with a partner what you’ve written

3. Select adjectives to describe this teacher (Sandy was eccentric, inspiring, dedicated, kooky, funny, fun,unconventional, collegial)

4. With your partner/group, create a still image for your word(s)

5. Next, have pairs/groups share their still image in front of the class

6. Others guess/comment what they think the image represents then join in and add themselves to this still image

7. Original actors share their word

Role Drama:

where participants take on different perspectives of an issue/conflict/problem

e.g. BCTF strike in September- what are the causes for the strike? Together, we brainstormed some of the reasons we thought were causes for the looming strike:

Frustration from

-class size

-class composition

-standardized tests

-lack of funding – salary, resources, benefits – teachers are going to be cut

-lack of communication (between teachers, administration, parents) – unwillingness to compromise

-too much control on Proffesional Development choices

-insufficient support for special needs students

We explored this issue by having players take on roles of reporters, teachers, students, administrators; Participants improvise their roles, then we stop individuals to speak out and give their perspective

These two activities were very good, in the sense that everyone was involved right away, but then again, we are adults and better able to act on the spot. As a primary teacher (generally), I wonder how I could adapt these for younger children. I find activities that require improv and thinking/acting on the spot quite difficult. As we say in primary teacher circles, this requires a lot of “front loading”.  I would have to really explore different perspectives with students in other ways before asking them to improvise. My experience so far has showed me that children often find it difficult to take on someone else’s perspective as it requires them to use inferencing and thinking beyond the text or what is said. I think it also depends what the role is, and what kind of background knowledge children already have about a topic/person/character.

Image theatre would be more easily adaptable to elementary grades. I like how we used both think-pair-share  and group work for the activity on image theatre, and I think young children are able to do that easily as well without a lot of pre-teaching.  I think it can be used easily with little or no prep- it could be used to explore new vocabulary (from novels or even textbooks), it could be used to discuss moods/feelings of characters or scenes in stories. However, I do think it’s important to teach body/movement in smaller components. Sometimes, you can ask children to make an image, and the still image doesn’t really convey much meaning, or it’s difficult for the audience to understand the intention because all the students look the same. You may need to do a lot of activities, just on facial expression alone, then move on to incorporating the body and how to hold the body still and freeze in an interesting position. Lots of young students are still working on gross motor skills and don’t have very good balance  or body awareness so this may be difficult for some of them.

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