A Teacher’s Note

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Hi ENGLISH and DRAMA TEACHERS-All!

Janice Honeyman from Actor Action here, wanting to have a chat to and about YOU.

In this age of Covid, where all of you have been rattled around and your teaching routines have been shaken and scrambled, you all seem to have stood up against these swirling adversities and continued in every way possible to do what you do best – TEACH!

I really admire what you are all doing – striving to keep our young people keen, interested and present, continuing with their syllabus, be it real or virtual, and moving them (with extra effort, I’m sure!) towards their dreaded Grade 11 and 12 end of year exams.

GOOD LUCK to you, and to all that huge host of learners!

But I was thinking about Actor Action’s work with schools, and I am so longing to get together in person with all you educators and instructors, to chat about practical work, in order to give the learners added-value and useful hands-on experience of their work. And, with you, show how they can relate to it.

I’ve noticed that all of you I’ve worked with so far in “The Tempest” Webinars are keen, energised and creative. Your approach is lively and explorative!  And I just know that creativity is at your core.

I find that using my own creativity is essential and integral to digging and delving into the material, the situation, the characters, the world of the story and the intention of the writer. Imagining myself right in the situation, finding identity-points, immersing myself in the material gives me real joy! And finding a way of transferring my involvement and enthusiasm to new inexperienced learners has become my real aim and mission. I would so enjoy sharing in the creativity of those young mind-spirit-growing-souls who are developing under your guidance!

I want to make Literature a forward-looking “Voyage of Discovery” for young people. And I would love to gather and glean from your teaching experiences to colour-up and enliven my own work. You are the “edifying experts” – and I would love to borrow some of that expertise to make my work informative, dynamic, vibrant and vigorous! I want to get to know you better!

At some time in the very near future (after all of your pushing prep, exams, marking, administering and winding-up the year is over and done!!) I would really enjoy meeting you in person or in groups and discussing ways for me to help bring literature to life for your incoming troupe of newbies!

I’m a great believer in the concept of “page-to-stage” treatment for any sort of literature. The written word performed becomes so much more dynamic than the read word in black-and-white, with learners chained to the hard, static school desk! I want to get them up and active! Get them going! Convince them that the plays, novels, poems and prose they are prescribed can have reverberations for them in their own lives! Give them a contemporary context to relate to!

Finding the work on their feet and doing it themselves always seems to bring the work to life for them. Improvisation, discussion, debate, drama exercises like “On The Spot”, “Hot-Seat”, “Word Association” “Witness-Judge-and-Jury” “Newsroom” – and Theatre Games devised with their set works in mind – all of these methods can help to promote interest and enthusiasm for their prescribed work.

This has just been an introductory Blog, but I would love it to become a regular exchange of ideas between us. And I am going to try to establish practical drama and literature lecture-demonstrations for the benefit of learners, and hopefully enjoy a close connection with all of you who teach them!

Yours in Punch and Passion!!

JANICE HONEYMAN

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