My approach to drama is about using play, as a way of moving towards the dramatic literary texts we call 'plays'. Using drama in the classroom has mystified and frightened some teachers and has caused them to relegate 'drama,' to reading plays around the class before having students respond in the form of a written, analytical essay on this form of literature. This I think is a shame as drama as performance has such wide and deep potential for developing all kinds of language and textual events with different modes of response in the classroom. I am one teacher who has always used drama in the English classroom and I have found it an excellent approach for helping students understand 'the critical'. Although there is considerable overlap, this distinguishes the way we use drama in the classroom form the approach taken in the senior subject, Drama, since our purposes are somewhat different. The approach I will outline here can be used to great effect, especially in the junior secondary school/ middle years, to help students come to terms with critical aspects of dramatic and other literary/ aesthetic texts and also provides an accessible was to deconstruct text and 'play' with everyday texts. Drama can also develop the cultural operational and critical strands of the current Junior English Syllabus to teach dramatic conventions of script writing for theatre or film. Here I’ll discuss accessing the critical through an intertextual approach to aesthetic texts, including a script, within a possible unit for the junior school, based on discourses of ‘body image’ as an organising principle. In this paper my aims are to define and describe some effective performance activities and teaching strategies that have worked for me and my students in the classroom. I will outline some drama games and strategies such as role play and improvisation and an approach to scripts that helps students access the critical dimension of language and text
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