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Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by gruoch, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    I have the Yr 9 Class From Hell whom I share with another teacher, so I see them one a fortnight. It's a big class - 30 - and I have to teach them in my classroom (my main subject is English, though I am drama trained). I've tried just about everything I can think of to engage them without any success. Any ideas at all welcomed.
  2. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    I have the Yr 9 Class From Hell whom I share with another teacher, so I see them one a fortnight. It's a big class - 30 - and I have to teach them in my classroom (my main subject is English, though I am drama trained). I've tried just about everything I can think of to engage them without any success. Any ideas at all welcomed.
  3. I wrote a resource called "The Technique" for just such a situation.
    It's here.
    Mark Wheeller said of it: "What a FANTASTIC idea Clive... NEVER heard of this before... excellent! The filming in particular!!! I bet it works a treat!"
    You might also want to serach for "Physical Theatre" and / or "Message in a Bottle"
  4. Education is pointless if it's not relevant. Whatever you do needs to be about them, for them, with a purpose driven by them. It may be hard to claw back an alienated class, but it is worthwhile. You have to be prepared to listen to what they want, to what interests them, etc.
    Get together with them to come up with a purpose for doing something- working towards a set goal, with time constraints. Make it important to them.
    Not enough education is relevant to the youngt people who feel forced to endure it, that's why they are a nightmare to be with.
    Everything else has to spring from a purpose designed by them.
    What is the other teacher doing with them? Can you work on something together?
  5. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    The other teacher is HoD and I have been seeing her every week with a view to working together, but I think she's far too busy.
    Drama has always been 'do a little play' and they really loathe being made to actually work on skills. Anyhow, I found a SoW in resources on Celebrity and Fame and today's lesson was marginally less appalling than usual.
  6. It is very common for year 9s to be difficult. Keep your sanity. If all they feel comfortable doing is 'make a play' then do that. I have used short scripts with difficult year 9s; I use '50 Mini-plays' published by Pearsons Cambridge. They especially liked 'Frankenstein', 'Dracula' and the comic scripts. Each script is for four pupils who each have two to three lines to say. I make them learn them. They can read the script, learn it and perform it in one lesson. When they get comfortable with the idea it's possible to look at things like dramatic tension and staging etc. if you use them don't expect great results to begin with, simply completing the task is enough to start with.
  7. I have got a scheme of work on the horror genre, and tend to do this in the Summer term when they are really not bothered! They love it - use IT to keep the really difficult ones busy, and the rest do the acting. If you would like a copy, let us know your email.
  8. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    I did actually know that.
    But I can see that you haven't actually met this class. The word which is out of place is 'learn'. Drama is meant to be 'fun' and this doesn't involve doing any actual work.

  9. In year 9, I spent half a term each on:
    devising and performing to others ' Christmas in the trenches '
    the fun bits of MND, like Puck's tricks
    preparing and performing TIE piece for younger pupils in PSHE programme
    groups/individuals presenting acts for a Music Hall style show for parents
    researching/visiting local people/locations linked with success in Perf Arts
    You may feel that none of these are appropriate for your year 9s, but mine seem to respond well to those themes. You are welcome to my s of w if you think that you can use them.
  10. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    They might respond to mask making, but I have no budget and my drama class is immediately followed by an English one and I foresee mess.
    I do like the idea of getting them to perform to Yr 7s for PHSE. It might give them some real focus.
  11. My apologies if you thought I was being patronising - in my own clumsy way I was trying to suggest that it is a very common problem and that it isn't any fault of yours. It may well be that there is nothing you can do and that you will have to husband your sanity and self control until the end of the year. Been there.
    When I have been faced by a similiar situation I have always viewed it as a damage limitation exercise ie how can I get through each lesson without too many discipline problems. I have always taken the view that I can't teach anything until I've got at least some discipline and creating discipline was my focus with this sort of class rather than attempting to teach any drama of quality. This isn't a defeatist view, it's just pragmatic. Just occasionally I've been able to turn a class round but more often than not I haven't. I would do anything that would get them quiet and focussed even for only part of the lesson. I've shown movies and TV programmes - the English department is quite happy to do this, why shouldn't the drama department show examples of drama? I've shown hard hitting documentaries that I know will grab them and used them as a stimulus. I've restricted their movement by playing only sitting down games. I've used 'get into groups and make up a play'. And I've used the short scripts that I mentioned; the horror subject matter is what grabs them. It doesn't really matter that they don't learn them, some pupils just might and as they get into them I have found that more students will. I notice that another teacher was recommending horror - the melodrama of horror is a reasonable thing to look at in a lesson and there are plenty of examples on Youtube! I've shown clips from the original 'Frankenstein' and 'Nosfertu' - they are part of the history of film drama.
  12. Even better - get them to prepare something for incoming Year 7s for induction in summer term.
    There's a specially-written script here.
  13. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    Even better idea, but no budget [​IMG]
  14. I wouldn't have thought a tenner was too much to pay for a bit of sanity.....
  15. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    Thin end of the wedge. I'm not about to start subsidising the school. It's not in the job description.
  16. So - basically you have a difficult class (I wouldnt say 'big' - over 30 is big, 30 is just a class)... and none of the raft of suggestions are going to be acceptable to you... I dont think there's much point in anyone else suggesting anything, really.
  17. Get them to devise a Theatre in Education project. It could be for the incoming yr 7's as resources suggests of you could take it 'on tour' to some local primary schools. I'm sure they could devise something around bullying/cyber bullying, whatever it is throw them in at the deep end with a performance. I've found with the most difficult groups that if they know they are going to have to do it front of friends/family they up their game.
  18. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    It's big in a room without 30 chairs which is actually an English classroom. My biggest class is actually over 30 and I don't have room to teach them properly at all.
    I have looked at the suggestions and some simply aren't suitable for this class/the space I have to work in. The celebrity SoW I'm using is having some success and I'll definitely look at devising something as a TIE module next term.

  19. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    And you have been teaching drama in a small classroom and without any resources, exclusively, for how long exactly?
  20. gruoch, I understand you have a difficult class, and I appreciate all your frustrations - I have the S2 (year 9 equivelent) class from hell last period on a Friday.
    I have an adequately sized room, but have very limited resources. Until this time last year, I didn't even have enough chairs to seat my form class (11 at that time), let alone my drama classes.
    People here have given a lot of good suggestions - yes, I agree, perhaps not all of them are suitable for your class - there's a good few I wouldn't touch with a bargepole - but you do seem to be dismissing everything - after asking for our help.
    I'm finding a very strict set rules, a reward system (games usually), and clear and concise expectations are working for them (at the moment - it might get me to easter - if I'm lucky).
    The content of the lesson seems to make little difference to their behaviour / attitude. They have no interest in anything. The period, weather, position of the moon, month, lesson before, weekend plans are far more influential. I take one lesson at a time - I've been known to abandon things mid unit and start something new. I don't even attempt to teach them the last lesson or two before a holiday!!
    You aren't alone in tough / **** / awful / lazy / unmotivate / uninterested / down 2 bottles of wine on a friday night to get over them classes, but if you're going to ask for help advice / suggestions - at least try some of them out before dismissing them and then pretty much telling us they wont work because we don't know the class or what you're going through.


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