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Drama Coursework on Education - The Response Phase

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Introduction

The topic presented to our drama group for this piece of coursework was education. A topic which we ourselves as pupils have much experience of, education plays a central role in modern society ultimately preparing each generation for adult life. Yet the educational system we experience today in the UK is profoundly different to the educational systems of the past and indeed, the educational systems of third world countries such as Africa. To explore educational issues and some of the similarities and differences of other educational systems in relation to our own, we were given a variety of stimuli, and it is these I will discuss. We looked at several different views of education from several different time periods, and explored them through the medium of drama. The first stimulus was in the form of a talk from our drama teacher. Her experience of education was from the 1960's and from a Catholic convent. A key difference which I noted between her education and our educational system today was the level of discipline enforced. Another important difference was the level of respect for teachers, and indeed other pupils. As our class discussed the issues raised from the talk, we decided bullying was an important issue raised from the discussion. To explore the idea further, we experimented with the technique of having a conscience alley. ...read more.

Middle

Each of our still images designed around the teachers bullying the pupils then morphed into new images of the pupils bullying the teachers; this was reminiscent Morrisey's song. Not only did this exercise help explore the contrast between educational attitudes, but it also increased our discipline as actors. This was due to the fact that we had to promptly change our gestus in order to convey the attitude of an entirely different character. Our third stimulus was a talk from a senior teacher in our school, who had previously spent many years working in an African school. Amongst the many things I learnt from him, perhaps the most vivid was the attitude presented towards intellectualism, and the desire to do well. The teacher explained how in Africa one must pay hefty fees in order to attend school and how only a few children are be funded by each village. This of course puts immense pressure upon pupils to do well academically, as it is anticipated they will go on to get a good job and return with money to their village. It is perhaps no wonder, that education is such an exciting thing to them and a huge privilege. The teacher talked of how some pupils were so eager to do well, that they "rocketed", a term used for pupil's who studied when they were meant to be sleeping. ...read more.

Conclusion

At regular intervals, we had a series of freeze frames where the actor would speak what his or her character was feeling. Whilst the Victorian pupils displayed signs of low self esteem and high levels of cautiousness, the modern day pupils were generally over-confident and relaxed. This can be heavily attributed to the difference in the level of discipline enforced and of course the presence of corporal punishment. Speaking out our feelings to the audience during those freeze-frames immensely aided our understanding of our characters. Playing a victim of bullying by the teacher in a Victorian school, I was forced to look beyond the short term effects of corporal punishment to the long term psychological effects of the bullying. In preparation for devising a play on education, I have looked at four stimuli, each of which has given me an insight into a variety of aspects of the education systems of different counties and different eras. From the vivid caricatures of Charles Dickens which lend themselves so brilliantly to the ideas of Bertolt Brecht, to the African "Rocketers" so desperate to succeed, I have uncovered through the medium of drama just some of the many trials and tribulations teachers and pupils face. If there is any one conclusion I should draw from and propel forward into the development phase, it is that education is about people, and their will to succeed. Education is the liberation from ignorance and the liberation from ignorance is the start of prosperity. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Morley Education: The Response Phase ...read more.

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