When working on practical work I have found that the students get engrossed in what they are doing and forget to take a step back from their own work and the work of others, to take time to reflect, develop and grow. This entry will focus on how to create a process, through journal work and constructive criticism, to develop in-depth, meaningful reflection.
At the moment my students are working closely with Stanislavsky and his six questions, along with many other aspects of his theories.
Below is one example of a guided journal entry that I included when the students were working a process developing through line of action, motive, action, objectives and the three centres (thought, emotion and action):
Area: Performance of THE DOOR
Activity: Choose 3 photos of your performance that illustrate your objectives, beats, motives and 6 questions. Put them below and write what they each illustrate:
Here is an example of a student’s work: This next photo (sorry, photo not included to keep the anonymity of the student) is of me as I realise what is happening to me. Here my objective changes completely and it is a massive rhythm change in the piece. Here I used the idea of internal towards external and how to make the invisible visible. I was wondering how I could show this helplessness through my physicality however the only thing that came out was this nothingness, this blankness. I thought that was extremely effective.
Area: Working with the script – ‘Shelter’ by Simon Bent
“We artists realise the truth that even small physical movements, when injected into given circumstances, acquire great significance through their influence on emotion.” (‘An Actor Prepares’, Stanislavsky, p149)
- Explain how you planned your performance and what aspects of The SYSTEM you applied.
- How successful were you? Why? Why not?
- What did you learn about yourself as a character actor?
Again, here is a sample of student work: I learnt that for me the importance of understanding a character is great. I have also found that I have a tremendous amount of things to draw upon when it comes to emotion and it seems to almost come naturally with the emotion coming first and the situation second. Like my emotional memory is faster than my chronological memory to recall certain events. A lot of the things we are doing right now I will definitely be using in some of the upcoming characters I will be playing. I am also planning on having some of my actors think of these questions, for the play I am directing at the moment.
Developing 21st Century Skills
In my school currently we are working on including 4 of the 21st Century skills in our planning, delivery and assessment. The four are:
- Creative Thinking
- Information Fluency
- Critical Thinking
When working with texts to implement The System my students had guided questions along the process that included the following:
Area: Setting goals
Activity: Write 5 goals that you want to achieve in the process of applying THE SYSTEM in practice, leading towards performance. Two will be GROUP goals and 3 will be personal goals.
Area: Acting on research
Activity: Discuss the research all of you have done and the research you have gathered as a group. Decide how you will use the information you have gathered. Explain briefly your ideas below:
Area: So what do YOU think?
Activity: When you show the piece to the group what do you want them to comment on critically to help you solve any problems or improve your performance to achieve your goals? Write 3 specific things below you would like the audience to comment on:
Area: So what now? Reflection and Growth
- Look back at your goals. Did you achieve them? If so, how? If not, why not?
- What did you learn about group collaboration through this process?
- What did you learn about your self through this process? What photos can you include as evidence of this?
During the process there was constant reflection, re-evaluation and awareness of consistent development. Also, they were able to develop evidence of, and reflection on, work with others for their TPPP and production ideas for the IPP, and how to create a specific impact for their PPP.
To guide the students in their critical thinking I developed the table below so they could see what they are aiming for.
Working through these processes has helped my students be actively constructive critics, be constantly are of their growth and develop more of an awareness of how asking for criticism from others, that is specific, and can really help move work forward.
Area of critique
Action taken by critic
Evaluates information and questions conclusions
|Identifies various information sources to assist own work or the work of others, to incorporate additional concepts or sources as necessary.Thoroughly analyzes own and other’s assumptions and carefully evaluates the relevance of contexts when presenting a position.|
Reasons and Reflects with discipline and purpose
|Shows thought, reflects on subtleties, analyses clearly with supporting evidence and exampleWorks with focus and clear progression. Often pushes reflection into new territories.|
Identifies and describes problem or issue
|Any problems in the performance or acting style are identified and communicated clearly.Routes and ideas for solving the problem are suggested|
Synthesizes ideas, information and conclusions
|Communicates, organizes and synthesizes conclusions with clarity and depth.|