Freeze!
© Alistair Devine
Below are some simple techniques for drama work. Using some or all of these will help pupils create a set of scenes. See the Case Study for more techniques.

Teacher–in–Role
Teacher adopts a role:
a) To introduce the lesson
b)To move the drama on
c) To give information
d) As a control method
e) To facilitate the action
f) To change the direction that the action is taking

Hot Seating
The teacher or pupil becomes a character who can be questioned by others. First, you choose a character – then you spend some quiet time imagining that you are that character. You should know all about your new self. For instance: What do you wear? How old are you? Where do you live? Who is in your family? What is your favourite food?

When a character is ‘hot-seated’, he or she can be asked any questions by the others.

The teacher can create a structure if required – perhaps a time limit or the class is told that they may only ask 10 questions - so they need choose the most useful ones. The pupils learn about the character. The person in the hot seat gets to understand and empathise with their character.

Hot seating can be used as a general exercise – or it can be more specific. It is useful for helping pupils understand how a character is thinking. For instance, with the slave trade drama, a slave owner and an enslaved person might be questioned (individually) in the hot seat. The pupils in character will become those people – and the whole class will learn about two points of view.

Conscience Alley
The teacher or pupil is placed between two groups who have opposing opinions. Each group in turn must try to persuade the person in the centre to join their side.

The pupils on either side must know their arguments. They might be arguing for something that they would not support in their own lives. They are taking on roles.

Role Play
The teacher or pupil takes on the role of a person different from themselves. They consider the character carefully and know how they think and feel. They might show their character to the others – with a short mime or monologue, or by interacting with others.

Drama is good for language work. As well as dialogue, your pupils could practise their listening and writing skills. When asking pupils to adopt a role, they might write about their characters. The teacher could provide a list of questions to help them begin.

To keep the sense of drama - the pupils could interview each other – one is a television interviewer and the other the character (then they swap over). What do they want to know?

Improvisation
The pupils are divided into groups. Each group of pupils creates a scene which they develop as they work through it. The teacher can introduce the exercise with some simple instructions.

Improvisation will help the pupils put several ideas together. They can act out aspects of their characters’ lives. For the slave trade drama, for instance, the pupils might ‘try out’ the work of an enslaved person, or life in a plantation village; they might develop a scene about capture.

Freeze Frame
Stopping the action is sometimes called Freeze Frame – like a DVD, when you press the Hold button, the action is suddenly frozen. The pupils should stop immediately in mid action. The teacher might want to warn them – for instance, the teacher might say: You work on your scenes. I will come round and listen. When I want to freeze the action, I will call to your group “1, 2, 3, freeze!”

Freeze Frame can be used for discussion work. The pupils work on their scenes, in groups. Each group is frozen in turn – the other pupils gather round and discuss what is happening in each other’s scenes.

Thought Tracking
When the pupils are improvising, the teacher freezes the action and taps a pupil on the shoulder to ask for his or her thoughts.

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