10 Steps in Planning for Drama

The following article is comprised of an extract from Beyond the Script Take 3: Drama in the English and literacy classroom by Robyn Ewing and Jennifer Simons, with Margery Hertzberg and Victoria Campbell.

In order to program for Drama work the teacher should consider these steps.

1. Who are the learners?

Consider the age and experience of the students, and the way that they relate to each other and to the teacher. What sort of actions will need to be taken to help them adopt and stay in-role, and observe the principles of good behaviour?

2. What sort of drama does the teacher feel most comfortable with, and how can s/he extend his or her own range?

What will help them to take risks? (Usually this will involve anticipating what could happen, and planning a range of contingent responses.)

3. Where is the drama work coming from?

Is it intended as an arts experience, or is it a technique for exploring a literary text or a topic that arises in another learning area?

4. What are the intended outcomes?

These should be connected with outcomes in Drama and/or the other learning areas. For example, the aim may be to promote an effective use of mime to convey emotions or to use hot-seating to examine the effects of mining the Antarctic.

5. What is the fiction to be explored?

A metaphor will need to be chosen; for example, the students may adopt the roles of ‘sad clowns’ who are forced to be funny in order to help them think about the differences between appearance and reality.

6. What sort of drama devices/techniques will enable the students to explore the chosen theme or topic or dilemma?

If ‘playbuilding' is planned, the teacher will need to consider a range of possible devices. 

7. What sort of resources will be needed to help motivate or extend the drama?

8. What teaching techniques will be used?

Will the teacher be inside the drama, as a teacher-in-role? Will the teacher side coach, partially inside, or external to the drama, giving instructions or negotiating ideas? Perhaps the teacher will need to move between both roles as the drama develops.

9. How much time should be spent on each section of the lesson?

It will be important not to take too long on games or other introductory steps and allow enough time for negotiation and discussion. How will the students be debriefed? What reflection strategies might be used to enable the students to respond to their experiences?

10. How will the teaching/learning be evaluated?

What the teacher plans and implements will need to relate to the original targeted outcomes. What evidence of these outcomes or other outcomes will be collected?