The last month I have been assisting examiners with how to mark the Research Presentation, watching Research Presentations from around the world, then awarding the student with the fairest marks possible. Some students are excellent – enthusiastic, well prepared, engaging with their moment of theatre (clearly communicating their convention in performance), and informative. Other students are difficult to mark because we cannot hear them very well, see their moment of theatre (a tiny shadow screen a long way from the camera) or there are school bells going off or band practices next door.
I know that you can only assist your students with the work, and are ‘not permitted to direct any part of the assessed task’ (The Guide p60) and only ‘give feedback on the one student’s mock presentation prior to the filming‘ (ibid). You are also required to ‘discuss each student’s choice of world theatre tradition, performance convention and moment of theatre with them‘ (ibid).
To help you get the best out of your students with the Research Presentation, this blog is going to focus on what your role is, as a teacher, for the Research Presentation, and if you follow these guidelines I hope that your students will all achieve in this component. So, below are the key things you need to do to help your students:
- The task itself: make sure students have read the assessment criteria and have a copy of it for reference. Many students do not understand, or do, criteria B (talking about their process of exploration of the convention and then applying this convention to their moment).
- Tradition, practice and convention: for criterion D many students compare their tradition (not their convention) to another tradition or practice. Make sure your students understand that for this criterion they need to talk about their CONVENTION and compare it to a theatre practice (this embraces both tradition and practices, like Epic theatre and other forms created by theorists).
- Use of language: check that your students know how to pronounce the words that are specific to their tradition. I had an interesting Commedia presentation taking about Columbia (Columbina), Archelino (Arlecchino) and Pantaloon (Pantalone). Also check they know the difference between a tradition and a convention!
- Space and the presentation: help your students by enabling them to work in the space where they will present. Make sure this space is functional – is clear, not cluttered (nothing superfluous to the presentation like posters, excess objects), and has everything that the student needs regarding sound, props etc
- Filming: it is common for the camera to pick up ambient noise, so make sure that the student alone can be heard on film. Do a run through of the presentation so that you know when to zoom in. If using a power point or film make sure this can be clearly seen on video.
- Respect for the student and the task: make sure the student is appropriately dressed for their work (no revealing clothing, no inappropriate slogans on tee shirts, smart suits they cannot move in etc) and for an examination task. The audience needs to be supportive and silent during the presentation (unless they are engaged by laughing at the moment or required to be engaged for audience participation). Make sure phones are turned off.
- Sources and bibliography: as the Research Presentation is rooted in research, the bibliography needs to be complete, with urls dated, a range of sources included (books, interviews, articles, online sources in varied formats, films) and all images on the power point sourced. You can help your students by checking this before the work is sent.
I am sure that most of you are already doing everything I have written above, but it is always useful to have a check list. Good luck with next year, or the exams in November. For more guidelines read what I put in the next Subject Report.
For the student blog this month I have written about the role of the mentor, which of course goes hand in hand with your role, so do take a look at that too.