A great deal of the work that we do involves researching how Students really respond in the classroom and what creates enough of an impact so that we are helping guide pupils in the right direction throughout their lives.
Ascertaining ‘why’ students make specific choices in the classroom/in their daily lives is another important piece of the puzzle for us.
When we put together our Theatre-In-Education programmes, we want to try to appeal to every single student in the room. This is a tough call, but through careful writing and research it seems that it is more than possible.
Here are two free practical resources that may be useful in the classroom for you, as they were for us when we were coming up and testing our own programmes.
Exercise 1 – Creating a campaign
Pre exercise preparation: None (except for a prize for the winning group.)
Exercise: Ask the students to come up with a PSHE topic that they think is an issue in their local area/at their school. E.g. Smoking, Cyber bullying, Under-age drinking, racism.
Ask each person to come up with a campaign that would decrease the problem in the local area, that teenagers would take notice of. As the facilitator, explain that often educating about the ‘effects’ of something has better results than telling them ‘not to do it’ through the campaigning.
Is it a local television advert?
A radio advertisement?
An article for a magazine?
What effective ways are there to have an impact on the target market?
How could their campaign really make a difference to the other students at school/people in their local community?
Decide which campaign is the most effective. In smaller break out groups (3’s or 4’s) the students should begin to rehearse a pitch to an imaginary investor.
All groups are given an imaginary budget of £1000 to spend on relevant resources (leaflets, equipment etc.) They are allowed to use classroom resources (large sheets of paper, pens, pencils, other materials) and are to put together a 2 minute presentation to present the ideas back to the group.
This task can be as detailed as you wish and could span several lessons, or could be just 30 minutes. The more work that is put in, the more they will gain out of the peer to peer delivery.
The students present these campaigns to one another. You can judge the most effective campaign in two ways, either by voting democratically, or simply by the member of staff deciding which was the most impressive and thought out presentation.
Exercise 2 – What will my day be like?
Pre exercise explanation: The facilitator explains that this game is about what we might like to achieve in our future life and to get students to think about future and put their dreams to paper.
Preparation time: 5 minutes.
Preparation: Put a blank sheet of paper and a pencil in front of everybody. Have some tranquil music on standby if available. Ask students to sit in a place where they won’t feel distracted.
Game: Ask the students to close their eyes and to relax as much as possible (they could lay down for this in a drama studio or a hall but there is always the danger that somebody may fall asleep.) Put on the tranquil music if you have any available and switch off the lights in the hall. Try and change your voice slightly from the teacher that they are used to hearing day in, day out. This may seem a bit silly but it has much greater impact. Explain that this game is about imagining what life will be like in the future, make clear that this is not supposed to futuristic (time travel, Dr who or robots) but about what they feel like they might want to do or achieve in their lives.
- Ask the students to imagine themselves in a corridor. There is one door on either side and one big white door at the end. Every person feels SAFE in the corridor.
- The students have to very slowly walk down the corridor, as they get to the first door on the left they see that on the door it reads ‘After Secondary School’. When they open the door, they see an older version of them, five years from now. They are sat at a desk working. They can walk up to where they are sat, look at the work they’re doing, see the books that they’re working from, look at the expression on their face. Are they at University? College? Working in an office? Doing paperwork for their own business? After a while they walk out of the room and close the door.
- On the other side of the corridor, the door is marked ‘One special achievement.’ Ask the students to picture, before they go in, one thing that they’d love to do in their life – e.g. learn to play the piano, be in a film, climb a tall mountain, cycle through France, run the marathon and when they have a clear picture in their mind, they open the door and can see themselves doing whatever it is and the feelings involved during the process. After a while of ‘observing the feeling of what is taking place’ they walk out of the room and close the door.
- The final door at the end reads ‘Dream job.’ They think before they go in about the sort of job they might want to do when they’re older, then they walk into the room and see a blackboard and a piece of chalk. At the top of the board it says… ‘What is my dream job?’ They pick up the chalk and write what it is. Underneath, they should write three things they could do to help achieve their goal, i.e. how would they plan for this goal to be completed?
- When they have done this, students walk out of this room, leave the corridor and slowly drift back into the classroom.
The task is for them to write down some key words and sketch ideas from what they saw when they were dreaming about their future and what they wanted to achieve. They might want to split the page into three, or just sketch random ideas everywhere in a mind-map style.
Debrief: The facilitator will obviously include the students feeding back what they saw in the corridor. This debrief should clearly illustrate why it is important to have goals and dreams and explaining the importance and relevance of ambition. Bringing in here, how important money is in our everyday life is another element to factor in to this discussion.
I hope these two exercises are useful to you, if you would like more information about our ‘Alphabet of a Teenager’ programme which covers the entire KS3 PSHE curriculum in just 50 minutes, you can download a brochure by entering your details here http://keystagetheatre.co.uk/alphabet-of-a-teenager/ or for a no-obligation chat just give me a call on 01483 306899.