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In Contact – classes with British Drama

  • “In contact” – development and educational classes with elements of drama

    Weekly, regular classes for a group of children and young people from orphanage in Warsaw, during which the group works with a predefined issue, concept or challenge. The objective of every 1,5h meeting is set together with participants. The goal might be consulted earlier with tutors if needed. It is crucial in drama to leave to participants the decision making in range of formulating the objective and the way of concluding the situation brought out during the classes. The meetings are usually conducted by two trainers, at least one of whom is a psychologist. Below we present a description of the method together with the phases of the drama workflow.

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    Drama is a method of understanding the reality [[discovering the world?]] via acting, improvisation, playing defined, fictitious roles. It provides a space for creating reality by participants.

    It is a method of education and development, which creates educational situations through engaging the children and young people on the three levels:
    • physical (physical activity of the body, the senses)
    • affective (emotional engagement)
    • intellectual (discussions, summary, activation of knowledge of a participant)

    The course of drama classes might be summarized in the framework below. However, one should bear in mind that drama method is often mixed and intertwined with different methods of work.

    I. Preliminary phase

    a) Relaxation and concentraction exercises
    Objectives: reducing physical and psychical tension of students, concentrating attention. Examples of techniques: capturing in freeze-frame [??] concepts pronounced by a trainer, visualization of text read, flexing and relaxing the muscles.

    b) Source material [??] and responding to it
    Presentation of material (e.g. photos, texts, things, sounds and others) by the trainer and a response from the participant. Examples of techniques: sculpture, unfinished materials [??], circle of life, role on the wall [?rola na ścianie?].

    c) Formulating the problem
    The problem might either emerge from the response of the participants to the source material, either be formulated by the trainer. This phase is characterized by its open form, that is to say, in the next phase numerous solutions will be produced.

    II. Main phase

    a) Acting in context
    The participants act in roles, in a specified, fictitious situation. Useful techniques are these which put emphasis on presentation and development of a narration, e.g. overheard conversations, hot seat, simulated situations. The objective is an attempt to solve the problems.

    b) Generating meanings and solving problems
    This stage is characterized by deepened creative thinking which aims to prompt participants to go beyond schemes of acting and thinking [??] defined in the previous phase and create new meanings. Useful techniques: shortcut, gesture, pantomime, metamorphoses, analogy etc.

    III. Conclusion – evaluation of process and effects of drama

    • development of abilities: to express oneself, self-confidence, self-esteem
    • development of imagination and sensitivity
    • acquisition of knowledge about oneself, better understanding of oneself
    • opportunity to have a look at social environment, better understanding of its phenomena
    • development of communication, empathy, problem-solving reasoning
    • acquisition of knowledge about the world, other people, better understanding of the world