Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Chris Port Blog #175. ******* Project (Prelude to Sense of Worth Teachers Pack).

******* Project (Prelude to Sense of Worth Teachers Pack).
© Chris Port
Central School of Speech and Drama, 1998

This evaluation should be read in conjunction with the criticism of my professional educational setting in Blog #155. A Philosophy of Drama Education.


  1. Introduction
  2. Location
  3. Current schemes of work
  4. Funding
  5. The ******* Project
  6. ******* principles
  7. Placement brief
  8. Client group setting
  9. Workshop brief
  10. Workshop summary
  11. Enquiry project brief
  12. Research methodology
  13. Conclusions of research
  14. Appendices
  15. Bibliography (including influences on Sense of Worth Teachers Pack).

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1. Introduction

My placement was a joint and equal collaboration with fellow mature student ******* *****. Our host was the ******* Project at **** ***** Theatre.

2. Location

**** ***** is a community theatre venue situated in ********** ****, Lambeth, South London. It does not produce in-house theatre. **** ***** provides a venue for other companies productions, especially those with an interest in black or gay issues. The main catchment area for **** ***** audiences is the local community who live on the inner-city estates in Lambeth and Southwark.

3. Current schemes of work

As well as hosting theatre productions, **** ***** generates a range of drama-based classes and workshops, school projects, community events and playscheme activities. Many of these are produced under the umbrella of the ******* project which is detailed later. The ethos of **** ***** is based on the egalitarian principle that:

‘... access to the arts, educational fulfilment, employment potential and community participation should be available to all, whatever the prevailing social and economic climate.’ (**** ***** Review of Activities, 1994-96, p 1).

4. Funding

**** ***** is a registered charity and a limited company. It is primarily funded by the statutory sector, supplemented by box office returns, fund-raising and charitable donations. **** ***** income for 1995/96 was proportioned as follows:

Statutory grants                               

Earned & self generated income

Charitable donations

(Source: **** ***** Review of Activities, 1994-96, p.6)

5. The ******* Project

******* is a drama-based project designed to prepare young people for college, training or employment. It provides workshops which use experiential learning techniques such as role play. *******’ client base is primarily Year 10 and 11 students from schools in the Lambeth and Southwark catchment areas.

Examples of the workshops currently provided by ******* are:

  1. “HOW DO I LOOK?” (examining strategies to meet challenges in the work place).
  2. “SKILLS FOR ADULT LIFE” (identifying skills for job applications and interviews).
  3. “THE BUSINESS” (an insight into the planning, marketing and budgeting of a theatrical event).
  4. “SPECIAL ONE DAY EVENTS” (for example, “BLACK AND ASIAN PROFESSIONALS DAY” on May 15 199* and “24 HOURS FROM THE BIZ” in association with ***** BY THEATRE).

6. ******* principles

******* operates on the principle that its workshops are non-judgmental and non-prescriptive. In essence, this means that workshop leaders are careful not to censor or predict the participants’ engagement and responses. Instead, it is the workshop leader who should respond to the participants’ activities. A key inspirational text underlying much of *******’ methodology is Improvisation for the Theatre (Spolin, 1963).

7. Placement brief

Our initial brief was to design and run a programme of drama-based workshops with young people (aged 14 to 16) within the framework of identity and, in particular, female identity and the rise of girl gangs. The client group selected was a group of 15 Year 11 girls at ******* Girls School in Lambeth. The Head of Year 11 was particularly keen for us to work with girls who had exhibited ‘conduct disorders’, exploring problems of low self-esteem as a means for raising achievement levels. Due to the non-judgmental and non-prescriptive principles of *******’ workshops, our brief was constantly adapted to accommodate the responses of the client group.

8. Client group setting

******* Girls School is a county comprehensive school for girls aged 11 to 16. It is situated on the southern edge of Lambeth and receives a significant number of Black and Asian students. According to the Head of Year 11, a significant number of the girls come from low income single parent (mother) families.

In the 1998 Department for Education league tables, Lambeth ranked 138th out of 148 Local Education Authorities in England (Source: The Daily Telegraph: School and college tables, December 1 1998, p 23). 28.8% of pupils in Lambeth gained five A* to C grade passes at GCSE compared with a national average of 46.3% (Ibid.). ******* achieved a pass rate of 21% (Ibid.). While the comparability of league tables remains contentious, ******* was also awarded a tick indicating above-average progress between national curriculum tests at age 14 and GCSE at age 16.

9. Workshop brief

Here is a summary of our workshop brief:

  1. Brief: To conduct a workshop programme with 15 Year 11 female students exploring their sense of self-esteem and respect for others through a framework of identity.
  2. Aims: For the students to be better prepared for dealing with their anxieties about leaving school and preparing for the adult world.
  3. Learning areas: Family, peer pressure, authority, school and the work place.
  4. Process: Enabling students to externalize, enact and evaluate their concerns, about their own and others identity, through the safety and distance of role play fiction.
  5. Caveat: Concerning process, although we wished to deepen and explore the students’ emotional responses, we were careful to avoid psychotherapy and psychodrama (as we were not properly qualified and the workshop environment was inappropriate).

10. Workshop summary

Here is a summary of the actual workshops devised and run:

  1. GAMES (Building group confidence).
  2. TRUST (Relaxation and trust exercises).
  3. APPEARANCES (Text/photo, brought in by us, taken out of context. Tableaux).
  4. CHANGING APPEARANCES (Expanding work on photo tableaux).
  5. EMOTIONS (Expanding on text extracts, brought in by students, randomized and taken out of context).
  6. STATUS: WHO HAS IT? (Wordstorming and discussing the various anxieties of the students).
  7. PARENTS (Exploring written and pictorial responses by the students to a letter, taken out of context, from a father to a daughter).
  8. IDENTITY (Creating a ‘typical’ ******* girl).
  9. ANXIETIES 1 (Using opening scenarios, scripted by us, as a basis for improvisations by the students exploring their anxieties).
  10. ANXIETIES 2 (Further scripted openings, developing student improvisations).

11. Enquiry project brief

The brief agreed with ******* for my enquiry project was to create a Teacher’s Pack expanding on the workshop programme.

12. Research methodology

The research methodology used for the Teacher's Pack was predominantly qualitative as follows:

  1. Confidential questionnaires soliciting advice, opinions and examples from various theatre education officers.
  2. Questionnaire to Head of Year 11 at ******* soliciting response to proposed format, content and style of Teacher's Pack.
  3. Conversations with professionals who have contributed to Teacher’s Packs (for example, ***** *******, PGCE Tutor at Central School of Speech and Drama).
  4. Teacher’s packs and INSET - what form and what for? (a report produced by the Association of professional Theatre for Children and Young People in connection with a seminar on November 27 1997 at the Unicorn Theatre, London).
  5. Other Teacher’s packs (for example, Positive Mental Attitude - an exploration of black cultural identity and mental health produced by Theatre Centre, London 1998).
  6. Newspaper and magazine articles on an eclectic range of subjects connected with school, the family, racism and sexism.

13. Conclusions of research

From those professionals canvassed, the following conclusions became self-evident:

  1. Less is more. There was a unanimous dislike of verbosity.
  2. Practicality. There was a consensus in favour of practical resources and activities rather than extraneous information.
  3. Simplicity. There was a consensus that simplicity makes Teacher’s Packs more accessible.

These three basic conclusions underpin all the information and activities provided in the Sense of Worth Teacher’s Pack.

Chris Port
January 1999

14. Appendices

  1. Teacher’s Pack Questionnaire completed by: ****** ********, Professional Educational Settings Tutor, central School of Speech and Drama.
  2. Teacher's Pack Questionnaire completed by: ***** ******, Course Leader, BA (Hons.) Drama Education, Central School of Speech and Drama.
  3. Teacher's Pack Questionnaire completed by: ***** *******, PGCE Tutor, Central School of Speech and Drama.
  4. Teacher’s Pack Questionnaire: Anonymous
  5. Teacher’s Pack Questionnaire completed by: ****** ******, Associate Artist (Education), Theatre Centre.
  6. Teacher's Pack Questionnaire completed by: ****** ******, Education Officer, Crucible Theatre Education.
  7. Teacher’s Pack Questionnaire completed by: **** ******, Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre.
  8. Teacher’s Pack Questionnaire completed by: **** *******, Head of Year 11, ******* Girls School.

15. Bibliography (including influences on Sense of Worth Teachers Pack).

Argent, S. (Ed.) Teachers’ Packs and INSET – what form and what for? Association of Professional Theatre for Children and Young People, London 1997

Berger, J. Ways of Seeing, British Broadcasting Corporation & Penguin Books Ltd. London 1972.

“Black youths branded as gang rapists”, The Daily Telegraph, 17 November 1998 p.17

Campbell, A. The Girls in the Gang: A Report from New York City, Basil Blackwell Publisher Ltd., Oxford 1984

Carroll, R. “Gangs put boot into old ideas of femininity”, The Guardian, 22 July 1998 p.5

Chipperfield, M. “Doctors fight to ban Australia’s girl boxers”, The Sunday Telegraph, 29 November 1998, p.33

Clare, J. “School and college tables: Performance figures will help raise standards says Blunkett”, The Daily Telegraph, 1 December 1998, pp 23-26

Cook, M. Perceiving Others: The Psychology of Interpersonal Perception, Methuen & Co. Ltd., London 1979

Dorment, R. “Daddy’s angry little girl gets even”,The Daily Telegraph, 18 November 1998, p.23

Doughty, S. “Relentless rise of the child mothers”, The Daily Mail, 11 December 1998

Edelman, B. (Ed.) “Dear America” Vietnam Style: Riders on the Storm, Orbis Publishing Ltd., Wiltshire 1988

Freely, M. “Evolution? Revolution?”, Media The Guardian, 6 October 1998, pp 6-7

Graham, B. “I’d prefer to send a monkey into space than a bunch of women”, The Sunday Times Magazine, 15 November 1998, pp38-47

Gray, P., Miller, A., & Noakes, J. (Eds.) Challenging Behaviour in Schools: Teacher Support, Practical Techniques and Policy Development, Routledge, London 1994

Hall, C. “Teenagers fear babies ‘a lot more than Aids’ ”, The Daily Telegraph, 1 December 1998, p.15

Highfield, R. “A sheltered land where men prefer Nora Batty to Marilyn Monroe”, The Daily Telegraph, 26 November 1998, p.6

Irwin, A. “Boys suffer more than girls when parents split up”, The Daily Telegraph, 16 December 1998, p.15

Jardine, L. “Absolutely fatuous”, Media The Guardian

Kempe, A. The GCSE Drama Coursebook (Second Edition), Stanley Thornes (Publishers) Ltd, Cheltenham 1997

Landesman, C. “Poetry on spec”, The Sunday Times Culture Magazine, 22 November 1998, p.11

Mathur, I. “Homeward bound”, Media The Guardian, 17 September 1998, p.5

McGregor, L. “Out of Africa”, Media The Guardian, 21 September 1998, p.6

Ments, M. van The Effective Use of Role Play: A Handbook for Teachers & Trainers (Revised Edition), Kogan Page Ltd., London 1989

Miles, R. “Sexy women? Your eyes deceive you”, The Sunday Times, 29 November 1998, p.7

Montgomery, D. Reversing Lower Attainment: Developmental Curriculum Strategies for Overcoming Disaffection and Underachievement, David Fulton Publishers, London 1998

Murphy, B. (Ed.) Positive Mental Attitude Teacher’s Pack, Theatre Company, London 1998

Newton, P. “Baroness rejects Spice model”, The Daily Telegraph, 10 November 1998, p.10

O’Brien, C. “Scars beneath the skin”, The Daily Telegraph, 8 December 1998, p17

Pasternak, A. “Success and the single girl”, The Sunday Times Magazine, 8 November 1998, pp 4-7

Phillips, M. “Peppermint-flavoured lies about teenage sex”, The Sunday Times, 6 December 1998

Robins, D. Tarnished Vision: Crime and Conflict in the Inner City, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1992

Smithers, R. “Citizenship lessons urged for pupils”, The Guardian, 23 September 1998, p.11

Spolin, V. Improvisation for the Theatre, Northwestern University Press, Illinois 1963

Straker-Welds, M.(Ed.) Education for a Multi-Cultural Society: Case Studies ILEA Schools, Bell & Hyman Ltd., London 1984

Sylvester, R. “Teen girls urged to follow star role models”, The Independent on Sunday, 8 November 1998, p.3

Sylvester, R. “Equality time, or so they would have us believe...”, The Independent on Sunday, 8 November 1998, pp20-23

Vannozzi,D. **** *****: Review of Activities 1994-96, Christ Church (Oxford) United Clubs, Oxford 1997

White, L. “Split Heirs: Special Report - The Future of the Family”, The Sunday Times Magazine, 22 November 1998, pp 22-36

Winkley, L. Emotional Problems in Children and Young People, Cassell, London 1996

Wurtzel, E. “Get a life, girls”, Media The Guardian, 10 August 1998, pp 6-7

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