Transcript of Drama making and playbuilding

This transcript has been edited slightly for clarity. Listen to the Drama making and playbuilding podcast (32:57).

Jackie – The following podcast is brought to you by the Creative Arts Curriculum Team from Secondary Learners Educational Standards Directorate of the New South Wales Department of Education. As we commence this podcast today, let us acknowledge the traditional custodians of all the lands on which this podcast will be played around New South Wales. Their art, storytelling, music and dance along with all First Nations people hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of Aboriginal Australia. Welcome to the creative cast podcast series, I'm Jackie King and I'm a creative arts project officer with the New South Wales Department of Education. Today we're having a drama subject chat with Bradley McDonald from Whitebridge High School and Daniel Kavanagh from Newtown High School of Performing Arts Hi Daniel and Bradley Thank you for joining us today.

Daniel – No worries.

Bradley – Thanks, Jackie.

Jackie – Today we're going to have a bit of a dive into making and play building and various approaches to teaching, making and play building in your schools. But before we started, I wanted to just get a bit of a background information on the schools that you teach at. So, Daniel, could you start by giving us a little bit of information on Newtown High School of Performing Arts.

Daniel – Yes. So Newtown High School of Performing Arts has been a performing arts high school since 1990. It is still a local school as well. So we have a performing arts focus and a stream of performing arts where we audition students in dance, drama or music. And we also have a local intake as well, now all the students here are exposed to the performing arts programs that we have. We kind of have this view of once you're in, you're in and everybody is treated like a performing arts student here. So we have quite a lot of students. Our usual intake for a cohort is about. I think our next year year seven is about 191. So we're quite large, yeah, and we have anywhere between three, to four HSC classes for drama each year.

Jackie – That's huge. And do you have drama across stage 4, 5 and six?

Daniel – Yes. So we expose all of our students to all of the performing and creative arts in year seven, so that's compulsory there. And then they can start to choose that as part of their elective path through that. So the numbers and year seven. We have a class for every single year, seven class, and then we normally come down to about maybe three or four year eight classes and then three or four year nine and year 10 and all the way through.

Jackie – Fantastic. So, Bradley, you're obviously not out of performing arts high school. What does drama look like at Whitebridge High School?

Bradley – Thanks, Jackie. Yes. Whitebridge is in the Lake Macquarie Area next to Newcastle. So we're quite interesting as a school in the next? In the last two years, we've tried to grow the drama and all the performing arts by sort of doing for following a model that the performing arts high schools follow. So H S P A. And where Daniel is in Newtown, they allow year seven students to get a chance to look at all the performing arts. So two years ago, we initiated a course called Performance Art, and I've been piloting that for two years, which allows all year seven and then all year eight students to be involved in a trimester where they do some arts and music and then I take them with the focus on dance drama, and I bring in music and art aspect as well. And so that's giving them a taste of all the performing creative arts to help boost those numbers in drama and dance when they become electives later on, which has been beneficial, we've grown Year 8 and year 9 drama this year. We're pretty fortunate that a lot of the executive here are supportive of the arts, because this is predominantly a sports high school. You know, most of our kids are really sporty orientated and the arts have been very difficult for us to grow in the last seven years. But this is an opportunity to allow us to, you know, invest in the arts at this school, which has been wonderfully received by, you know, students, teachers and the wider community.

Jackie – That's fantastic. I love that idea because in many schools, drama can be an elective in stage four, but it's not necessarily something that's taught. I know in the school that I was at Kurri High School. Drama was an elective in Stage four, but then they actually took electives out of year eight, and so we lost that ability to do drama, but we we did get four periods a cycle where we got a subject called CAPA Project, and I guess it sort it sounds a little bit similar to what you're doing, where we made sort of a cross curricular program where we we cover dance, drama, music and art. Is that sort of what you're doing, like a cross curricula sort of projects in your subject in Stage four.

Bradley – Yeah, yeah, there's seven. Last year we looked at sort of a conceptual idea of, you know how do art makers bring an awareness to social issues in the world. So it allowed kids to look at the way that dancers and fine artists as well as dramatic performances give a voice to, you know, particular artists perspective on an issue. So the kids picked quite wide issues and then found ways to represent them. A lot of them were through Play Building, which was great for me as the drama teacher, but some wanted to do songs and tik tok dances and choreography too and and so it was really quite diverse in terms of the project and in terms of outcomes we really weren't so pressed to find or align them to any particular syllabus, but really just looking at how we could bring all the strands of performance through those those art forms and allow kids just to create, you know, with the same sort of conceptual focus. So it's it's been quite good. It was a little challenging with year seven because some of the issues they wanted to explore we may be not usually look at until a little bit late. So then, in year 8 this year when we brought them forward, I've sort of turned it around. And we looked at the way that storytelling has transformed over over time and that has allowed us to bring an indigenous perspective, as well as looking at the way you know literature as well as painting, dance, song chanting, You know any type of storytelling has been able to communicate and part of what it is to be human and the kids have really enjoyed that. It's always brought us back to nursery rhymes and fairy tales. So it started off quite big and historical, and now it's it's really focused about what the stories you had as a kid. What do you love about them? How can we then use them as a stimulus to create? Which is what we do in drama.

Jackie – I love that idea. Bradley. That's awesome. We're going to dive today into the practice of making, which is obviously one of the important things within the syllabus and the essential context of that is obviously play building. So I was wondering if one of you were able to talk about why you feel that is important and how you approach that with your classes if you want to go first. Daniel.

Daniel – Yes, so with us, like I mean play building, of course, is you know it's It's a compulsory part of the curriculum and syllabus, so it is already an inherent focus of the subject. But what we have been doing, particularly without year seven, because we have. Actually. Now we're going through a bit of a restructure in terms of our curriculum here at school. So year seven could quite often get forgotten, everyone's focused on the HSC. But what our current principal has done is she has decided that we're going to focus on Stage four if we're gonna make these big changes to the way that the school operates. So there's been a lot of attention being paid to the work that kids in year seven do. And luckily for drama, people are now starting to ask us a lot about the processes that we look at in our drama classroom in order to help them engage students in their K L A. So there's been a lot of cross curricular kind of content that's being taught. But I know that HSIE are really interested in getting students to use their drama skills because we've got, you know, naturally, we have a bunch of kids here that have reasonably, you know, highly developed skills for kids their age and, you know, kids who are still exploring that. So for us, we don't necessarily look at play building is like a form or as a topic or part of the content. We look at it as part of the process, and it's one of the processes that we look at with the four C's approach that we're taking with our school. And when we think about all the creative arts like Bradley had mentioned before, they are, you know, means of communication. So when we start using that kind of language. It really kind of kind of sparks the interest of teachers of other subjects and also too with parents as well.

Because quite often, parents have a bit of a kind of underdeveloped understanding of what we do in the creative arts. They kind of get well, you're not gonna be an actor, so why would you pick drama? But we we kind of train the kids very old early on to say, Well, I'm using my teamwork skills here and my ability to negotiate how group works in order to do that in English in order to do that in HSIE. So they're kind of learning a lot of those general capabilities as well, So we kind of use it to tick all those boxes. And so we kind of stopped by looking at what the social purpose of theatre is, and that might sound a little bit kind of technical for little 12 year olds. But they come to us from primary school and they're really energized. They've got lots of ideas and lots of things they want to say about the world. And so if we harness that kind of energy then the process of play building itself doesn't become or you're gonna make a play about something and your just showing us how you can use this space and show us your elements of drama. You're actually saying something. So we really have them thinking about Well, what do we want to say? And then we explore the process of play building, and then we'll hear some tools we can use to do that.

Jackie – Wonderful. I love that you've linked in the 4Cs There. I had done a little bit of work with the 4Cs and transforming schools as well. And when I started that, I used to think, Oh, these are just drama games. And I think drama really does delve into bringing out all of those skills, those team building skills, those communication skills. And I love that you're both talking about how it is just a vehicle for telling a story or communicating a message, which is fantastic. So I think we have sort of touched on our approaches a little bit for stage four, but is there any sort of activities or program ideas that you would really like to share about how you teach making or play building in stage four.

Bradley – Yeah, I just think Daniel's approach and their school’s approach is really an interesting way that now people starting to look a drama and you look at the focus of the new reforms in the curriculum that heavy focus on significance. Why does it matter? Trying to get the kids to connect with what skill can obtain here that's going to help me beyond school and a lot of the time in drama. We've done it forever. You know, We've taught kids, actually, how to cooperate and collaborate and think critically to work as a team. And if you don't teach the kids explicitly how to do those things, it's one thing to say going to a group task. But unless you say well, we need to learn how to listen first and offer ideas and then support those ideas and further those ideas, and that's just improvisation. You know, that's just accepting and extending on an offer and trying not to block and and so we've done that for a while. So it's It's interesting that there, Daniel said, as well there are so many other faculties are coming to us going Oh, that's great that you do that and that skill is transferrable. The kids are starting to say that as well, and I've changed the way that I look at the theatre games. I love games. I think in Stage four, that's the most important part is to look at the elements of drama and introducing the technical language that you have the meta language that's appropriate for our our particular K L A.

But I've tried to move away from using the word games and moving just exercises, because the exercises we do are based in theoretical underpinning, you know, So what we do has a history and a discreet body of knowledge that follows it from, you know, hundreds of years from across the world. And so when we start to understand that that exists unto itself, that has allowed us to use these activities or exercises to develop these skills or to understand how theatre has grown or developed or the importance of it, the kids start to think differently because then it shapes how others perceive the subject like parents. Underdeveloped understanding of drama as, Daniel said, is about trying to say or my kid does drama, they do games It's like we do more than that, you know, it's like PE. They don't just kick balls, you know, like there's there's a lot more to our subject. It starts to get more valued when you start to reshape and reframe people's thinking and perspective about what we do in the space and I love building that curiosity around, You know, the stuff that we're doing here is often a loud and boisterous and kids are curious, you know. They come to the door and they stick their head in with a lot of activities. And I've tended to get a lot of things that either shake the foundations and so the kids below us say, Look, you were shaking our projector like, Well, you should choose a different subject. You know, Come upstairs, you know, be a part of that stomping. So I mean, that's mainly my Stage five. I really love my physical theatre in Stage five, but Stage four drama, I did a bit of clowning. I was just writing a few things down.

So I look at, you know, heavily scaffolding steps with play building initially, you know, rather than just sending them off, we might start with freeze frames and tableaus and or a list of ingredients, so you might include this line of dialogue. Start with this photo. I want you to create a character with these particular attributes, and if you start to give them a little bit of ingredients and shape, then they could go away and manipulate that and then present ideas. It doesn't have to be a linear narrative like it's really just about playing and seeing what you could do under a time limit with what you know, a few skills and then start to refine them. And by the end of stage four I've sort of moved on to a little individual monologue task, some kind of group performance or I might look at the Stanislavski and just sort sort of method acting, you know, by the end of stage four to bring in some theory rather than saying that this is just all random exercises, you know, trying to connect some of that that theory together and then saying, Well, now there's different ways to approach this. Once you've got these skills, so year seven's different because of the course I'm running, but the idea and you're ready to cry and get them to enjoy it enough to pick it in stage five. You know, out of the gamble is that with, you know, this school has a lot of sport. And cooking woodwork, engineering, robotics. You know, there's so many up for grabs because we've got 100 and 200 hour courses in year nine or a smorgasbord of options so they only allow the classes to get up If they're, you know, over about 15 to 20 and that can sometimes be a hard push. You know, in a comprehensive school like this, where there, you know, there is really in the community, not a deep passion or love of the theatre. People go and visit.

But hardly anyone reads plays, you know, we see that in English, many kid's first experience with a play script is in year seven English a lot of the time, so we're fighting against the cultural thing as well. But once they they certainly have picked it up in the 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Jackie – So So what do your stage five courses look like at Whitebridge? Do you get many electives up for drama at Whitebridge High School?

Bradley – It changes, over the, I'm here Nine years I've had, I've had two stints at HSPA. But being here mainly for nine years. And in that time we do have every number, sort of every two years we'll get a cohort of kids that either do it at some of the local theatre companies. We've got sort of some Hunter Drama, and we've got Tantrum Theatre, Young People's Theatre in town in Newcastle. So there's some of our kids do that and then they joined together, which is great also they've already got an understanding and that sort of level interest, um to then join us without those skill sets sometimes fall out of love very early. So I reckon every two years we get a wave of kids and I've had two cohorts that have sort of followed me from year 8 to year 12, and it's those kids that you develop. I mean, that was my best HSC year ever. By the time you worked with them every year, building them through because if kids drop in and out of the course, then sometimes they could miss some of the foundational skills. I do a lot of physical theatre, commedia dell'arte and neutral mask, Bahl mask, Greek mask. I love playing with character in year nine and 10. We looked at sort of. We look at Brecht study of playing detail on. Then we sort of do an I P G P, which is the sort of the standard norm to give them a chance to do something by themselves. And I introduced them, not just monologue.

I really try to get, you know, I intend to play with some lights and costume and sound just because normally year 11 are introduced that and kids haven't had a chance to actually try those skills out before year 11 so on, but has allowed me a great opportunity to allow them to run their own race as opposed having class of 25 where resources are scarce.

Jackie – You mentioned some of those drama classes that outside of school drama classes, and I figured that's possibly where you guys would differ a fair bit. Daniel, do you have a lot of students who do drama classes outside of school?

Daniel – Well, yeah, coming from Newcastle. The culture there is that, you know, it's it's great to be a drama teacher because you can rely on all that external experience that the kids have, and it's just, I think, Novocastrians are just so lucky in terms of the amount of opportunities that have there for their students. And it also makes your job easier in the classroom because the kids are getting so much more experience. But down here, there's not quite as much as that of that kind of locally for us. And I was a bit surprised when I came down here. The lack of that culture around like I mean, there is a ATYP and NIDA offer classes as well. There are a few things around, but they're not. It's not as prevalent in our area, and so to kind of take the place of that, we actually run an extension program in the afternoons. Our co-curricular program, when we run drama companies and ensembles and essentially that is like going to a class that young people's theatre or hunter drama or tantrum one of those places and you worked towards performance outcome. So for us, it's the opportunity to give our kids more performance opportunities to do on.

They work with a professional director on a project, and they put that on in our theatre in a professional environment. So that kind of means that we can use that opportunity to help kind of upskill our kids. So they've kind of got that opportunity. You don't necessarily have the time to look at in the classroom, because when you kind of put together a well-structured curriculum gives you a little wiggle room in terms of just giving the kids experiences. Because you want to do is many things you can with every unit of work that you teach. So for us, with Stage five, we kind of dump kids with a lot of information about different forms and styles, So we go straight into all of them. So we kind of do a bit of a history of theater in year nine and kind of go from Greek through to Shakespeare through to commedia through to, realism and naturalism. Then a bit of Brecht we move towards absurdism, and so that kind of carries them through year nine and 10, and we've got the luxury of having them often enough and having students so many times a week here that we're able to give them a pretty decent knowledge of that. And So by the time they get to Stage six, they've got all of that in the back of their heads. And so the performance work they do inherently is more kind of grounded in their knowledge of all of that. So they intuitively start to make choices in their performance work that you don't have to necessarily teach them in terms of, particularly things like stagecraft and conventions and techniques and things like that. They don't know what. They don't have to name them quite often, but they just they naturally do them because, yeah, the stage six curriculum in itself is kind of designed in a way that people can kind of just jump in. We've never done drama before, so that's a big That's a big leap from our students have been with us all the way through year 7 to the kids that sometimes join us in year 11, and they quite often go Holy cow! You guys know so much because we have been pouring it into them from from year nine and 10. And we also have an extension class that we run as well in year nine and 10. So students get like a double of drama. So it's like another elective.

Jackie – Well, that's really cool. So you have three or four elective classes in year nine and 10, and then an extension or extension is a part of that.

Daniel – Extension runs as part of that. So usually it's probably maybe two drama classes and then two extension classes on top of that as well. So and we're kind of in the middle of a bit of a rethink about the way we structure that for the timetable, because it was always constantly reassessing the way that they deliver stuff. But for us, we've found that that's really that's great. So, in a way, like I mean kids here. If they do extension drama, we can kind of get through the 200 hours, of course, in one year. So by the time they get to year 10, they've got more knowledge than they would have had they just been doing drama as just one subject, because a lot of opportunities too then kind of sit back and explore some of those other performance opportunities, look a different processes, spent a lot of time with them on script writing. We go in depth in a few different performance styles and all that sort of stuff as well. And that's a real, real luxury for us to be able to do that.

I think the kids here have no idea how lucky there because there's like, Oh my God, I've got so much drama and like So it is, Yeah, it's great to be able to do that ultimately our bread and butter it is making sure that the the core skills and knowledge that students have in year nine and 10 is carried all the way through. And then everything else just gets to be extra cake decorating.

Jackie – Really, they never realise how lucky they are ever. You've talked about how, and I'll just delve into this because you've touched on it a little bit. How students are able to jump stage five if they so choose. And obviously your stage 5 sounds very in depth, Daniel, given that they're able to do extension as well. How do you sort of deal with the gap if you've got students coming into Stage six who haven't done what your stage five students?

Daniel – Look, the great thing with us is that we have the opportunity for those students to also participate in our co-curricular program. So if they come to us in year 11, they're usually being auditioned as well. So there's an interest there. They usually have done some drama at their previous school. Quite often we get kids auditioning because they say, well, my local school's not running drama next year in year 11 because we didn't get a class. So that does happen a bit, too, and kids do tend to move around a bit when things like that happen. But I kind of look at year 11 is meant to be this for us. The way we see it, it's kind of like this big leveller where you kind of go right.

Okay, so you guys know all of that stuff there, but in terms of what we're expecting out of you now is everybody has to take a step up so you can come in at the side and the thing about the collaborative nature of drama is that kids rely on other kids, so if we have a kid coming in year 11 and they might not necessarily have done it in year nine or 10. I don't know anything about Brecht. The other kids will be able to teach them and be able to explain to them what those techniques are in order for them to get through what we do in that course. So they don't necessarily have to write essays on Brecht or Absurdism in Year 11 because we'll do another unit of something else. But they will bring that stuff in there kind of ancillary learning which will kind of come in throughout the process of working with other kids and that kind of happens through all the making outcomes that we have is that the kids tend to go well, why don't you try doing this in this performance and go down there and then you can use direct address to the audience and they go, Okay, well, what's that? And say, Well, I'm glad you asked I will tell you all about because we know so do take advantage of the fact that the kids can teach each other. And also quite often we'll create opportunities within the curriculum that the kids do have to rely on each other a lot to do that, so it's not just us doing it, but I think any drama teacher will be planning those sorts of learning activities all the way through, so that their kids to become a bit independent in terms of their learning. On that, they drive it forward. And again, that's what makes what we say to the the kids. That's what makes drama an essential subject for year 11 and 12 is because you're learning how to do all your other subjects here in the classroom here.

Jackie – Okay, so finally, let's have a look at making or play building in stage six. So, Bradley, I'm going to jump to you now. How do you tackle making and play building in Stage six? Obviously, they've got the group performance, which is the mandatory part of what they've got to do in Stage six. So do you want to take us through how you approach that in order to give them the best opportunity to move forward.

Bradley – That idea that you need to do activities early on just to build that collaboration and that rapport with one another and get them to realize how much they rely on each other in year 11. We had up here for a number of years, it was a mind play competition run by Hunter New England Health. I inbuilt that because that was a GP task with a great focus. We had parameters. We had our professional healthcare workers come in, Tantrum Youth arts often had script writers willing to do sessions, so that was a really great way for bringing all kids together, whether or not they had a dramatic background in previous stages and focused on a task that then they showcase still quite a broad audience. But that since has been put on hold. So the GP, by picking the groups on bond and then just playing around by making mistakes, looking at different stimulus items, like giving them a bunch of equipment to work with and, then allowing another group to have a free for all, like not giving them any parameters and just watching, watching what they do. And a lot of the time you're just like a dodgem car. You just bumped them back every time they get off track or they're spinning the wrong way.

But certainly having worked in a performing arts high school as opposed to the Comprehensive High School here, the kids sometimes here aren't as focused or determined, and Daniel did touch on it earlier that when the kids come in, they learned from their peers. And sometimes you just need to watch the standard of your peer and how committed they are to learning their monologue or being involved in driving that group project. And a part of them just goes, Oh, they've sent the benchmark here. So I better live up to that because the teacher can have the highest of expectations and says we do. But often the peers have far more influence on each other in terms of mate, I'm here to do well, you know, I've driven. Look at my monologue. And so someone looks at that, and sees the standard and quality. And then, you know, they up their game, they become more invested, and that's great to see. But if you get a class of perhaps more apathetic kids who really need you to drive every moment of it, it can be quite a tiring and testing year. And by the end of it, you've got as many tears as they do and dollars in the swear jar. But you get to that HSC day and you just you just say that was so worth it. You know, the journey and the process is far more important than the product. And if the kids can realize that, I think they take that beyond school and they remember their HSC year because of the way it taught them resilience and it taught them how to be flexible. And those skills that we hope that will serve them well beyond school is far more than whatever you know, parameter they've built around some stimulus in 12 minutes in the HSC.

Jackie – Fantastic and Daniel, I don't know that we did touch on how you approach making for all the group performance, particularly for stage six. So do you want to just take us through your approaches to Stage six.

Daniel – So Well, I think I alluded before we are. We kind of talked about play building, not necessarily as a form, although it kind of can sort of fulfill some of those things. But really it is a process, and so we kind of look at that process through other content. So all the way through, we are teaching them about different forms and styles while using a play building process. And so we really structure that for them along the way. And so we kind of really look at the first phase of play building as rather than using the word brainstorming, which has become a bit, well, bit daggy. And it kind of inspires kind of groans whenever we say in our classroom, because it just means kids sitting around with their logbooks, drawing little clouds and sticks coming off them. And you kind of like, Well, what's the purpose of that? We kind of rebrand it, and I use a lot of the stuff. I read this really great book called Making Theatre, and it talked about generating and exploring is the first. So you don't worry about the piece. You're exploring ideas. You're exploring possibilities. You do it practically. You improvise. You research, you find things. You have those conversations. So we embed activities of lots of different practical sensors throughout that. So it's not kids just sitting down going, What's our idea gonna be because there's nothing less creative then having to sit down, and go oh what's an idea? Because inspiration doesn't work like that, and creativity doesn't really work like that But if you give them enough different activities to explore, they could get right. Well, we've got this big dossier of things we've done. We've put them all down in our books, and we figured out what they are.

We don't have to worry about where it's going yet, but we've got it. Then you move into a phase where you look at selecting and structuring and go. Okay, so the idea where we have kind of looks like this bit this bit in this bit here. They kind of have a bit. They're kind of saying us to us that this is kind of what our piece is about. We're kind of inadvertently come up with that. You know, let's say three things about environmentalism and so that that seems to be a through line. So let's explore that. Let's kind of select those pieces, do some more research. They start to put that together and see what that looks like, and that can lead you right up to like the week before you get them to do a performance outcome, because the last stage of it should be the refining of the process and the rehearsal, because any play built piece should be as slick as anything that you learned from a script. And so we divide our terms when we're doing that content up into those phases so that students are really clear. We don't have to worry about our assessment task just yet. We're just exploring. And if you give them that freedom, which which is ironically, you kind of go. Okay, I'm gonna give you a whole bunch of really structured tasks to do this. But the freedom is you don't have to worry about where it's going it and so we kind of explore it that way and we pepper that language all the way through from stage four up to stage six. So in year 11, when they have a bit of a dry run it going Well, this is the group I'd like to work with, and we might like to do a piece about this when we we do run a task like that for them. But already throughout the other content we've studied in year 11, we've already mixed groups up, and we've paired them with each other, and we've looked at dynamics.

I've got them to reflect on the process because if they can't explain why they're doing something, then the learning that they're not owning the learning. And so we spent a lot of time with critical reflection. Said, Well, why did we do this? Why did we play that drama game? You know, why did we play ninja? You know, also, every now and then it's always great to have a game of ninja. But I always stop them at the end of go. Right. Okay. Why are we doing that? What are we learning by doing this game, and so they always can then identify that. So if you embed that language and that process through them, you give them a sense of safety net. So they know where they are in the process. So they don't sit there at the beginning of the term and go, Oh, my God. We've got to come up with a piece in 10 weeks and we don't know what to do. And they just go. Okay, Well, we don't have to worry about that now. And so, by halfway through the term, if you set those little goals along the way, then it means that the kids can go yep We're on track, and I I quite often get them to set their own timeline. So they sit down and go right by this week. We need to have this by this week. We need to have this, which means we're okay, now we don't need to make. We don't need to have three scenes written now. We could do that later on on. I think this structuring of it because you're treating it is a process I think is the easiest way to stop them. Kind of panicking about because they get that sense, like the more they sit down and talk about ideas, the longer they sit down and talk about ideas. So I don't even I don't let them. Don't let them do that.

Jackie – I love that because it can obviously be quite free. And I love that it's not just a free for all that there is these really structured activities, these goalposts, that they've got a hit to get to their end goal.

Daniel – And I think a lot of teachers think they've gotta let the kids go. But you've got to remember, like even though you're not necessarily the focus of that particular unit or the focus of those lessons. You've got to give them the tools and you've got to give them the strategies to be able to do that. So you're always checking in like I mean, you wouldn't just be sitting behind your desk just watching them just play for like, I mean, we never do that here. We're always checking in and getting them to reflect on things and show us stuff and explain things to us along the way. So it kind of be kind of becomes a bit of like, you know, that kind of process becomes, ah, bit of, ah, project based learning kind of model. Really? Because the kids are solving the problem. How are we going to say something about this idea we have in a group performance?

Jackie – Thank you both so much for sharing your drama expertise with us today. I think it's been a fantastic chat and I wish you well in your teaching for the rest of the year. We're almost there.

Daniel – So near yet so far.

Jackie – Of course, I'm sure the drama teachers who are listening will be able to take a lot away from this conversation. Thanks so much. This Podcast was brought to you by the Creative Arts Curriculum Team Secondary Learners Educational Standards Directorate of the New South Wales Department of Education. Get involved in the conversation by joining the statewide staff room as a source of all truths regarding curriculum. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter at Creative Arts Curriculum 7 to 12 or email our curriculum adviser, Catherine Ricketts Horvat, using the email address . The music for this podcast was composed by Alex Manton, an audio production by Jason King.


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