Students love role-playing and dramatic play, but many find the pressure of a performance overwhelming. Add some drama to your classroom by using drama circles, role-playing and storytelling in a low risk environment.
Here is how we incorporate drama into our daily routine:
Set the stage. Show off your acting chops in a way students can imitate. Use silly voices. Act things out.
Provide opportunities for low risk-or no audience-performance. Put students in small groups or partnerships and slowly build up their confidence. When students ask to perform for others you’ll know they’re ready. Never force anyone to perform.
Create a comfort zone. Let them decide and set up a classroom environment that performs as a team. Students who panic and want to step back, let them and let someone step in to cover for them. They’ll come back if you don’t pressure them.
Try drama circles. These give students a chance to act for a very small amount of time, so it’s low risk. We’ve been working on writing some for our students and you can give them a try. If you’ve ever played an I Have…Who has…? style game, it works the same way.
Puppets are your friend. Yes, it’s crazy. No one likes puppets (or do they?), but they are a way for students to talk through an object where they can stay “safe” while performing.
Dramatize everything. Try different methods to let students perform without really having to be in front of an audience. Record videos, write and perform puppet plays, create small acting opportunities like public service announcements or leading assemblies at your school.
Look for low-risk audiences. Younger students LOVE everything older students do-even just reading out loud to them. Create opportunities for your students to feel like leaders in everyday situations.
Use your kindest words. This is not the time to critique performances. Build students up so they build confidence. They’ll be able to refine their skills when they are more comfortable.
Make your mistakes publicly. Allow your students to see you make acting mistakes so they can see how you overcome them. Teach and model how to improve with your own acting-instead of the work of students in front of other students.
Do you incorporate drama into your classroom? We’d love to hear how you do it including your successes or challenges. Share a comment below.