Author Archives: Jo McLaughlin

Learning Rounds

I love watching other teachers in action. Their environments are usually quite different from the bedlam of the Drama class, peaceful, quiet and studious. I delight in the mix of academic and creative learning that is possible in a school and the way this is managed by professionals from a wide range of curricular areas. Yesterday I prepared for the visit of “others” into the Drama studio. They often find it alien as it is generally devoid of furniture and most written work takes place whilst lying on the floor. I think they liked what they saw. I hope they did. I did. I have always found it challenging to teach essay writing to senior pupils. I am not from an English background, as so many Drama teachers are nowadays, and need to approach these tasks practically. The pupils have explored the texts practically and then have to write essays – I think they need to see the link between the two disciplines, instead of viewing them as disparate entities. So, some flip chart paper, colourful pens, post it notes and the 5 plays being studied for Contemporary Scottish Theatre, the aim to work co-operatively to create the perfect 20 point essay in one 50 minute period. Pupils found quotes on destructive relationships in 4 groups (different coloured post it notes for each group) then chose went round marking the doublers and the best ones (hearts for Valentine’s Day!). We were then able to agree on the best 20 points and have, thus, created a pretty good exemplar essay for Higher Drama. It was the quickest period of written work ever. The best bit – 17 year olds getting excited about the texts, talking to non specialists about the themes and issues and then fighting over a praise sticker.