When I first read the course schedule the one thing that jumped out at me was the four weeks of both Drama and Art classes that I was going to have to do. What was even more terrifying for me was there was a final performance at the end of these classes as a means of assessing our work. Being honest this made me really uneasy, hand me a basketball or a football any day but please do not put me on stage!
Our teachers chose the groups we would be in and from there we had to choose a fairytale to replicate and perform to a Group 7 class who had very little English. After much deliberation and thought about the logistics of many well known fairytales we came to the conclusion that The Three Little Pigs would be an interesting story to perform.
As well as performing the play it was our job to create all the costumes and set for the performance as well. From experiences like this in the past I have relied on others who seem more creative and artistic to come up with the ideas but this experience was very different. We all had to come up with ideas together for making our costumes and because we had so little time to prepare them everybody had to take one thing that needed made and get to work on it. Personally I felt I surprised myself with my artistic skills in selecting materials that would look effective for the roof of each pig’s house and in turn constructing each of them. Reflecting upon this part of the experience I feel it has been invaluable to me as future educator in the Primary school.Having gained confidence in this area I feel I am more ably equipped to use any resources and materials at hand to create a rich and stimulating environment for the children to work in as well as providing valuable learning experiences in this area of the curriculum.
Alongside these classes we also worked on the actual play itself. I was very impressed with how the teacher managed these sessions. She created a very safe and secure environment where everybody felt at ease acting out of character. She helped us to understand what makes a good play and how to create this. We worked on using actions, body language and facial expressions to create various characters personalities as a whole group in order to gain some confidence before being left to work on our individual plays. Looking back I feel I have been somewhat inspired by this teacher. She was enthusiastic and had no inhibitions about acting in front of us. This was useful for me to gain ideas as to how I should portray my character in the play. Although we were in charge of the storyline she was willing to help and give advice on how we could improve our portrayal of characters and the overall play itself. She acted as a guide and support rather than telling how it should be done. This is what I would like to replicate as a teacher.
Our final performance was a great success and the children enjoyed all of the fairytales. Although I never thought I’d say it but I really enjoyed it when it all came together. Reflecting upon it I can say that there are many invaluable skills that this area can enhance and foster. I have had to collaborate and work as a team, I am more confident at performing, I have had to extend my imagination as well as being creative and I can wholeheartedly say that drama is a lot of fun. With the opportunity of partaking in this experience I feel I have a new outlook of Drama and Arts as being a central part of the curriculum contributing to a child’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development. As the Northern Ireland Curriculum (2007:34) states, “It helps children to learn about themselves and the world around them and also contributes to their social and emotional development as they experience and act out different situations”. Essentially this experience has been invaluable personally in enabling me to step well out of my comfort zone and also as a future educator in providing worthwhile and beneficial experiences for children to learn and develop important skills through this area of the curriculum.