This year the Drama department has set itself the goal of deepening our understanding of the practice of directing as it applies to the mediums of both theatre and film. Our faculty plan for 2016 seeks to integrate into existing programs explicit learning sequences that focus on the skills, practices and knowledge of directing. Our qualitative and quantitative data suggests that students who achieve high standards in Drama are able to master all of the practices of theatre and can effectively integrate all the practices to create sophisticated theatre work. We believe that a more clearly sequenced teaching of directing will lead to more sophisticated conceptual understanding, more powerful and effective aesthetic choices and more developed literacy in these art forms. In order to achieve this, we have begun to create a Drama Department version of Hess’ Cognitive Rigour Matrix (an application of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Levels to Bloom’s Cognitive Process Dimensions) to map how a student might move from lower order thinking as a director to much more complex and sophisticated thinking. There is still much work to do in this area but to date, our new focus has begun to yield strong results.
The power of empathic, transformative learning is at the core of the current Year 10 Drama unit of work. The students in both Year 10 Drama classes have divided into groups and are creating and writing group pieces based on the dramatic form of Political Theatre. This is a semester long topic that allows student plenty of time to master complex and challenging ideas about theatre and issues of social justice. As this is an assessment task, the students are required to incorporate the conventions of Political Theatre which includes the use of episodic scenes, historical research, narration, multimedia, signage and the influence of various acting styles.
Our HSC students are in the final phases of preparing for their BOSTES Itinerant Examinations. This is a time of intensive rehearsal and underscores that while the creative process is not always smooth sailing, there are many moments of discovery and insight that are examples of high impact learning in Drama.
Mathew Clausen (Mr)