Teaching Drama Online/Socially Distanced
In response to the challenging situation most of us are facing regarding quarantine/ return to ‘normality’ during the coronavirus crisis, a lot of teachers have been asking how to teach drama online – and socially-distanced. Below are some ideas for adapting activities from my book ‘Drop Of A Hat Drama Lessons‘ (click arrow to read), followed by a list of articles and resources.
Teaching Drama Online and Socially Distanced
ADAPTING DRAMA TEACHING FOR A NEW ERA
This has been a challenging time for all teachers. We hope and anticipate that the drama activities on this site will be enjoyed with full interaction in safe and healthy circumstances.
These drama games and strategies were originally designed to be used in halls, studios or classrooms. Where restrictions are in place, many of the activities can be adapted for enjoyable and productive online, socially-distanced or blended learning. Here we outline a few principles to bear in mind when adapting a session. Always ensure that you check the latest Health and Safety guidelines and your school procedures.
REMOTE (ONLINE) TEACHING
Online drama lessons are still subject to the same high expectations of student behaviour and responsibility. Maintaining your normal routines before and during lessons will help to ground your teaching and your relationship with the students. Most drama activities can be undertaken using distance-learning platforms such as Zoom. The main meeting room can be used for whole class activities, while group work can be achieved using breakout rooms.
For physical activities, students can respond individually to make body shapes and movements. Where possible, encourage students to stand some distance away from the screen/camera so that they can use their whole body. Actions can be carried out on the spot instead of moving around the space.
For spoken pair or group activities, breakout rooms can be used if appropriate for the students. Short scenes or improvisations can be developed, rehearsed and then shared with the rest of the class back in the main meeting room. If you are not using breakout rooms, an alternative is to simultaneously unmute two or more students in the main meeting room so that they can improvise together while the rest of the class practise audience skills by watching, listening and making constructive comments afterwards.
Using the chat function (or mini-whiteboards if available) are effective ways of enabling students to make written responses which would otherwise have been spoken, for example in discussions.
Before beginning activities in a shared physical space, carry out a thorough risk assessment. Consideration needs to be given as to how students enter and leave a space as well as to how they work inside it.
Most drama activities can be adapted with social distancing in place. A common approach is to mark out a grid containing measured squares for each student so that they are kept aware of distancing throughout the session. Circle games can also work with social distancing. In good weather, outside spaces are a great choice for drama activities.
Guidelines vary, so we recommend that you take note of the most up-to-date regulations and recommendations at all times.
Adapted from Drop Of A Hat Drama Lessons by David Farmer (Drama Resource 2021)