Drama, English and Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival”

Group DIscussion and Planning

This week in my children’s literature class we finished a drama we started last week using Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival”. My purpose when doing drama with students is to showcase as many drama and theatre techniques as possible that teachers can use to investigate a literary text, whilst maintaining the integrity of the literary context of course. In this week’s session we were engaged in improvised roleplay, teacher in role, writing in role, gestural experimentation, storytelling, drawing in role and suitcase theatre. It involved creating a narrative arc within the drama elements using context-building, poetic, reflective and narrative action elements. After years of research both in my MEd and PhD and beyond, I am genuinely convinced that role-play is one of the most effective teaching strategies ever to have been developed. Unfortunately it is still underused a lot by teachers! Hopefully my students are the kind who will step outside their comfort zone and be creative with their own classes.

Preparing for the Farewell

Writing in Role


Group Discussions and Planning

Experimenting with Gestural Symol

Drawing in Role

Writing in Role

Shaun Tan's "The Arrival"

Suitcase Theatre

Let There Be Light

2 Responses

  1. Interesting point about roleplay being effecting for children’s explorations of given texts. My class is doing myths and legends at the moment in literacy. My trainee teacher did a role play activity with one of the myths and a small group discussion task with another myth. The students by far were more able to recall features of the first myth as opposed to the second. Just talking about the text was not enough clearly!

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