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Please Advise - Whole-class reading of a play

Discussion in 'English' started by Honeydew, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. Honeydew

    Honeydew New commenter

    Hope someone can help.
    My Yr 11s will be reading 'Educating Rita' as a class for the first two weeks after we come back. I usually get the pupils to take on the characters and simply read the script - and then at the end they complete a timeline or summarise the Act. SMTs will be observing our department the first week back and I was wondering if there was anything more interactive I could do? My HOD insists we cover the whole play first and then focus on themes, characters etc. so I need to think of how I'm going to show observers my pupils are making progress and learning - how do I make their learning/ reading of a text more active? If I stop in the middle of a reading, I know that will break the flow of the reading and spoil the story, but should I try this? I did think of giving them a grid to complete at they're reading -e.g 'What do you think of Character X?' Why? Or I could do that at the end of the Act?
    Any advice would be gratefully received.
  2. Honeydew

    Honeydew New commenter

    Thanks for replying Alliandra. My HOD insists the group read the whole text as a class for a week or so and then we look at stage, directing etc. I'm not sure how to make whole-class reading exciting :-(
  3. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    It's a two-hander, so how is that meant to work?
    How big is the class?

  4. Dump the reading of the play until week two and do some research into some of the history and social themes of the play first - I find my classes are always a bit bemused by the idea of the working class versus educational elite as they don't really know what the working class is (they think middle class or unemployed) and see university as where you go to get drunk and have parties.
  5. If your HoD insists on this, I don't think there's a great deal you can do. Seems pretty rigid to me :S Maybe you could allocate small groups different parts of the script to act out and run them together? I'm curious as to why your HoD does this.
  6. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    I suspect it's an insistence on 'knowing the text'. Old-fashioned, dull and boring to approach it that way. Also an excellent recipe for putting kids off plays for life.
  7. A fashion can not be old it can be old trend,
  8. You haven't come across the term 'old fashioned'?
  9. Echo the quizzical responses to your HOD's insistence of ploughing through the play as a wholw group...??
    If you are able to deviate from this at all, colleagues of kine have successfully used 'a whoosh' with 7s and 11s when reading a play. I haven't done one myself so can't give detail but I'm sure you could google or someone on here could give you more detail. More interactive and fun and allows you to check any misconceptions.
    If you are not able to deviate from this, you will just have to point out to SMT that you were bound to that lesson as HOD insisted...bit of a shame that HOD appears to be so inflexible.
  10. Blimey - it's early!
  11. Hi Honeydew,
    The comments on here aren't very helpful! I hope this comes to you quickly enough. See this as your opportunity to use drama techniques to study the play, rather than a test.
    Suggested activities:
    Pre-reading: sociohistorical context - can use ICT to research Liverpool in the 1960's (haven't taught this, is it the right decade?) Background on ***** Russell - other plays he has written. Get pupils to predict issues/ themes that might be raised in the play before reading it.
    Read the opening scene that establishes Rita. Make predictions about what will happen to her by the end of the play.
    This is not character study. This is developing pupils close reading/ comprehension skills and focuses them to look for clues about character, plot and theme.
    Don't be afraid to use this as an opportunity to develop intonation in pupils. On projector/ smart board put up various quotes from the play with different punctuation and get the whole class as a starter activity to say them with appropriate intonation. This will focus the class, wake them up and put a sheepish smile on their face.
    I have loads more ideas to offer. Let me know if any of this is useful.

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