Explorations Drama in Beijing
Explorations is all about “trying” new things. So what better for this educator than to spread some heavy duty wings (13 hours in air) and go to China with the hopes of teaching Drama.
The classroom was ideal. Set up with stools and tables along the wall and plenty of room to move and express. The assistance at E-plus was excellent providing the set up of the canvas for the collaborative mural and on Wednesday morning we were ready to go.
My plan was to tell a story from the Inuit community and paint a backdrop in the style of Canadian artist Morrisseau and develop stories inspired by the universal themes of “listening to your elders”. I planned to use tableaus (statues) and drama tools; voice, body, and face. We were to play with games that encouraged speech and collaboration.
I don’t like to expect things about a class or group until I am with them and so came prepared to play non-verbal games and drama warm-ups and talk about the Theater and the art that takes place there; without knowing how much would be absorbed. I was expecting a parental interest and received that in folds on the first day. Excited I introduced the curriculum and played out all the games in half an hour. Performance adrenaline going overtime |I decided to close the blinds and get to know my groups.
Explorations lends to the open classroom and Drama is the place to test and explore language. The students had levels of English and we were working through mime and assisted translations. On the second week, it became apparent the English was not lacking and that the confidence and comfort to perform in English was growing. A glowing energetic group of young performers so comfortable with us, Tiffany, my exceptional assistant, and I, and with each other that hilarity and creativity ensued.
Drama is perhaps the most entertaining way to learn to express in any language. It pleases the performers and the audience. The ability to speak in English blossoms when trying to make each other laugh or think. I discovered the students’ senses of humour, sources of reference and comfort zones.