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Learning in Action

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This resource has been written to support teachers who are new to the teaching of process drama in primary schools. A variety of contexts have been used including pretexts from a Ready to Read big book; a Ready to Read reader in a Pasifika context, a picture book of a Māori Legend; a school journal play to explore script using process drama; a poem about a global issue that is a major problem in New Zealand; a reader included in an ACC Road safety kit that is in all NZ schools; a short narrative to show how questioning skills by students can be encouraged; and an issue that seems to re-occur and cause problems regularly, that of school bus behaviour.

The resource is written to show strong structure of planning in process drama, and allow teachers the opportunity to change the generic context but practise the structure of pre-written dramas until they become confident enough to begin to write their own.

Teachers, you are encouraged to use these units as a teaching tool within your programmes to make them more student centred and relevant. You can also be assured that you are working through the Key Competencies as you work in process drama. Contact your school support adviser for support should you require it.

Chris Walsh and Evelyn Mann, July 2007.

Cover ( 234 KB) designed by H. Walsh, 2007.

Level One
  • Car Care
    A process drama written to explore a safety issue. The safety issue could be substituted for other issues.
  • The Safe Place
    The drama was written as an example of the way process drama can be used to motivate a shared reading text and actively explore the meaning. It is the use of a variety of drama conventions that underpins the structure.
Level One/Two
  • A Special Gift
    This drama demonstrates how a Ready to Read reader (A Quilt for Kiri) can be explored in more depth using process drama as a teaching tool, incorporating other Ministry of Education resources as appropriate. It is an example of collaboration between arts disciplines.
Level Three
  • Wakatipu's Giant
    The drama was written to demonstrate ways of working with Māori myths and legends with the aim of supporting students to deepen their experience and understanding of underlying meanings within myths and legends. There are many opportunities within the drama to explore te reo Māori and Nāga Toi Māori.
  • Who's To Blame?
    This drama was written to explore the effects of crisis on families and the wider community. The context can be changed by using a different form of crisis within this well structured process drama.
  • Jamie
    When working this drama consider " . . . that curriculum content is the vehicle to teach students to understand, value, reflect, and create. Is curriculum about providing marketable skills - assuming such a market exists - or opening minds?" (Robertson, 1998: 5) cited in Morgan & Saxton, Chapter 12. This drama has been designed to promote student questioning skills. Jonothan Neelands designed the format of the lesson that is a combination of conducting an inquiry and role taking. The emotional and intellectual engagement of the students is deepened through the enrichment of the complex task. This format would work well with other age groups by changing the pretext.
Level Four
  • What Goes Around...
    This drama can be used as a generic model to explore script. It shows development of role through an understanding of subtext, and the management of people and props in the space to support the narrative in preparation for performance. This format can be used across levels by changing the source.
  • Our Shame
    This is a process drama written to explore a problem in the community. To substitute another issue the same or a similar structure could be used. The statements in the initial activity would be replaced with appropriate statements or pictures. A suitable poem would replace the one in this unit. This drama provides a structure to explore and research factual contexts for drama, for example, poverty, conservation, sustainability, the law, abuse, and war.
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