3 Most Common Questions about Using Theatre in the Classroom

Primary School Teachers Theatre CPD

This year we have developed a series of complimentary CPD sessions for primary school teachers. We have loved leading sessions exploring Shakespeare in primary school and using dance to bring children’s books to life!

This summer term we are also running ‘Exploring children’s books through drama’ on May 23rd and there are still spaces to join us!

Each CPD session guides primary school teachers through a series of tools and techniques they can apply in their own classrooms. Throughout the sessions we invite teachers to ask questions, to share their practice and experience. And there are a few common questions that often arise about using theatre in the classroom:

How can we find methods that include shy or reluctant students?

Central to a lot of work in the performing arts is teamwork. We include activities from warm up to performance which rely on every member of the team rather than on ‘star’ performances. This can range from physical activities - such as using our bodies to create a scene or environment (like the magical forest in Midsummer Nights Dream), to choral speaking- which provides support for students who wouldn’t normally stand up in front of a group and speak.

CPD sessions provide plenty of opportunity for discussions and asking questions.

CPD sessions provide plenty of opportunity for discussions and asking questions.

This year we ran CPD sessions in both London and Birmingham.

This year we ran CPD sessions in both London and Birmingham.

How can an active session lead to inspiring written work?

Dance and drama allow students to explore characters, themes and stories from new perspectives.These perspectives can they be expressed in their written work. For example, for KS2 students we have activities which examine using voice to show intention. When students understand how a character is behaving and why they are behaving in that way, they are in a much better position to describe the character in their writing. It enables students to add a new depth of understanding in their written work.

During our Shakespeare CPD teachers looked at using freeze frames to create scenes.

During our Shakespeare CPD teachers looked at using freeze frames to create scenes.

Our dance CPD provided teachers with methods to choreograph routines with their class.

Our dance CPD provided teachers with methods to choreograph routines with their class.

How can we make an arts session appropriate for all abilities?

You know your students best and there is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ approach to running a dance or drama session. Throughout the session we suggest ways in which activities can be simplified or extended depending on the children's abilities. For example, exploring characters could range from a simple gesture that represents that character, that gesture can then form part of a larger frozen sculpture using the full body, which in turn can have a line of text or a movement added.

Performing arts allow students of all abilities to engage with the topic and we believe that all contributions to the lesson should be celebrated no matter how small!

If you want to learn more about running drama sessions in your classroom then sign up to join us on May 23rd, or keep an eye out on our social media or newsletter for future CPD Masterclass opportunities.

-Katie