25th May 2017
Today I observed my HOD with her year 10 Drama class. I wanted to observe her as she has a really good knowledge of this unit, having co-written it and having taught it before. We both struggle with one of our year 10 sets, in terms of their committment to the work we are doing so I thought it would be beneficial to see how she tackled the subject.
This was the first lesson and the topic is Physical Theatre.
Her lesson was planned really well, the objectives of the lesson were relevant to the age and abilotu of her group. They were intended to support the learners to produce work in the session they could be proud of, an aim we have both discussed as paramount for us in motivating this year level in particular. Therefore she had planned exercises which were simple in nature, yet when performed had the potential to be really effective.
She had printed a number of inspirational quotes about physical theatre and made a collage of them on her whiteboard, alongside the solo strands relevant for this unit, and some blank mindmaps such as ‘what is physical theatre’. The board was visually rich and exciting. She sat the group in front of it as she took role and introduced the students to the subject which created an interesting backdrop which seemed to inspire the students.
She played classical, soothing music as the students entered the classroom which created a nice sense of calm and focus as they transitioned mentally and physically into this lesson.
She used more classical music at the end of the lesson as the students were performing their pieces. This gave the pieces atmosphere and created more of a sense of ‘performance’. It also helped focus the rest of the class as it served as a cue for them to stop and watch the performance.
The students work, relationships and approach:
The teacher told me before this lesson that she has struggled to form bonds with this group who are a small set (15 compared to the usual 25 or so) and the gender balance is off – 12 boys to 3 girls. So she was intentionally looking at ways to praise and affirm the students, wanting to make a comfortable and safe space for them all to succeed.
I thought she was really successful with this. Her tone was always encouraging, she affirmed all responses from the students, even when a little left field. The group responded well to this and although they are clearly still tentative in their relationships with each other they all managed to complete the work set, many of them being really successful.
The work she planned was an excellent way to introduce the students to the subject whilst at the same time allowing them to produce something they can, if they choose, take and use in their assessed performance later this term.
The tasks were simple, and were introduced to the students in stages, meaning they weren’t overwhelmed and all of them were able to perform them with some sense of commitment.
How this will impact my practice:
I took a lot from this class, including the tasks she used to introduce the subject. I have since used these with both my sets and they have responded equally well to them, meaning there was none of the resistance to the subject I had anticipated. I also really enjoyed her calm approach to the lesson; quite different to my style of teaching which tends to be loud and high energy. I want to take some elements of her work, including her quiet, soothing voice to use when I need the group to focus and reflect.