Today I had my third lesson observation. This was by a fellow Drama colleague so I was really interested to see her feedback as she has a good understanding of the demands of the classes and topic.
This was my year 11 class which is a big set – 24 in total. We have a really small classroom which only allows for 12 – 15 to comfortably rehearse in it at any one time. We are also currently working on a theatre production which includes all 24 students, onstage at the same time.
To manage this and ensure all students have a equal opportunity for quality engagement with me, I have split the group into two groups of 12. These groups split the ‘ensemble’ work and are the main focus of the scene at different points in the play. This allows me to work focusing on one group at a time, whilst the others go outside the class door and work independently. To ensure focus and quality work from the students working independently I asked for volunteers from each group to work as ‘peer leaders’ whose role it is to see me prior to the lesson and get all of the work which needs to be achieved by their group. They then relay this to the students, work with them and maintain focus. The group working independently have goals to meet in the session and are expected to show me the work the following lesson.
Therefore, for this lesson I was keen for my colleague to focus on group management, to assess how successful this system is and to give me any advice she might have for further improvement. She is also teaching the exact same unit with her year 11 so I was keen for her to pass on her experience with this to me as a result of the observation.
Specific intended learning outcomes:
1: Recap of student’s progress in self – directed lesson. Observing their use of rehearsal time, understanding of the plays style and ability to create work in line with this.
2: Students will have blocked pages 41 – 47. They will create overexaggerated tableaux for the ‘Titorelli’ and ‘court’ scenes. (led by student leaders and brought to teacher for direction on Friday 26/05/17)
3: (If time.. extension exercise) Block with direction from teacher pages 51 – 54.
Friday Period 5 class came in rowdy but controlled fast and class focused by 1:50pm. Two students came in late not addressed. Students very respectful of teacher. Teacher talking through class activities for the lesson as well as posted on the board. Students sent outside to work on another scene at 1:55pm.
Side coaching very effective clear on instructions all students engaged and enjoying the ensemble work. Questions answered and teacher very approachable and well-liked by students. Teacher works at the fast pace. Whilst answering a students question others disengage noticed and pointed out by teacher tone and temperament very appropriate and cool and calm. Some students left outside whole period some getting very loud possibly need goals for the period or set instructions for working for the time of the period– self management student leader system working well.
Good management for the task (directing a class play) and class size. Good to end period with the outside workers coming in to show. Teacher giving instructions whilst talking over students – teacher having to strain voice. Try waiting for silence then class instruction rather than talking over. Given the day and time of the lesson excellent engagement – big class and managed very successfully. Ran out of time at the end when students who were outside were going to show – students seemed down about this but I’m sure they will get their time in following lessons.
I really enjoy teaching this set, and although they are large they are generally really well disciplined, especially with the practical nature of the subject. I am pleased that the teacher observed the respect the group shows me, as I discussed earlier this year, my main aim for this year so far has been to grow mutually respectful relationships in line with whakawhanaungatanga as I believe this is the best way to get the discipline required without damaging student motivation. We have also working on necessary contrasts for a rehearsal room – identifying ‘order vs chaos’ as the most important one for this particular project so I enjoy the group entering the room ‘rowdy’ with energy but able to quieten by the time we need to start the work and have order.
The peer leaders did a good job of getting the students to focus outside and their volume suggested a creative and energised process was happening, but the leaders managed to keep them focused and brought their volume level down throughout the lesson.
I agree it was a shame we ran out of time to see the final work that group had created, but as the observer states, they used this the following lesson and the work was excellent.
I agree that waiting for silence and therefore focus within a classroom is a more effective strategy for gaining the students attention. This is something I need to work on in my practice as I have a tendency to get lost in the energy within the class and need to control this more at times to create a quieter and more reflective space for the students.