Learning through Acting

The numbers

1 Native Teacher; 16 children; 4 weeks, 6 total hours; 3 great performances and uncountable laughs.

The Main Show

A 4 week drama course conducted by Big Ben’s native English Teacher Mark Wrycraft. Certainly not the star of the show Mark facilitated the children unknowingly for them to collaborate in small teams to achieve more as a collective group rather than as individuals.

During the 4 weeks an overarching theme was presented for each of the sessions culminating in one final filmed performance for each of the three groups to demonstrate what they had prepared over the classes.

Group work was a fundamental aspect of the course but whole group games or activities took place giving the children opportunities to interact and more importantly practice their English skills with all the course participants.

Assistance and guidance was shared amongst each group with acting tips and skills instructed upon all the members of the course to implement within their performances.

The Rehearsals

Week One:
An introductory week with ice breakers and get to know you games with the premise of the course being discussed.

Three groups were also selected randomly with the groups then having a short amount of time to prepare a 3-5 minute skit (Short performance) to demonstrate at the end of the session.

Week Two:
With the previous week’s session placing children randomly they had some shared experience of working together; this week they would be pushed to work together further creating a delicate part of the final drama performance.

Each group was given a theme based on “The animal Kingdom” and within their groups they had to generate ideas and ultimately finalise a script for themselves.

Confidence building games were used and vocal activities played to get the children focusing on their characters voices.

Week 3:
With a script prepared, lines learnt and the children having thought about their characters the next ingredient was to add movement and stage presence.

This was accomplished by games once more and teacher supervision as well as feedback from the other groups.

Week 4:
The final week saw the children work together to finalize and improve their collective performances combining everything they had learnt the previous 3 weeks to produce a final performance with the added pressure of being filmed.

To take the edge off and to celebrate the final week amusing or more creative drama games were played.
Following the final performances the participants received a diploma for the course and each child spoke a few last minute words regarding what they learnt or enjoyed over the period of the course.

The Real Show

Although Drama was at the forefront of the 4 week workshop the overall winner was English; A rule implemented into the course was for the children to use ONLY English.
With this in mind children tried their hardest to make themselves understood or portray their thoughts or ideas by having to explain and choose their word choices carefully.

With this challenge of only using English another task combatted nicely by the children was group collaboration on an overarching drama performance. With the groups combined randomly and not by groups of friends certainly the children were a little nervous and sceptical at having to work with new faces or personalities.

However in each group leaders shone through and new companionships were created resulting in splendid teamwork to achieve a wonderful last dramatic showcase from each of the three partaking groups.

Overall the Drama course was a success in terms of the children vitally practicing their English in various spoken contexts as well as paring groups of children to then see them cooperate together on a group project which they accomplished with smiles upon their faces and a cheerfulness in their voices.

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