Autumn Challenge - Inter-Action at Chase Terrace Technology College
Year 7 and 8 pupils from Chase Terrace Technology College, Burntwood
KS3 students, but the concept is applicable to all ages.
One of the key areas that we wanted to focus upon within the Phoenix Learning Resource Centre was to improve self-confidence when reading. In a number of subjects they will be expected to read out loud and assessed on their performance; English and Modern Languages to name just two.
Therefore, we were looking for an activity that would help these students build up their confidence and improve their self-esteem. It was important that this activity was open to all abilities of readers and give them the opportunity to have some fun.
We also wanted to promote cross-phase interrelationships between the students where the older students are effectively interacting with, and guiding, the younger students in a positive way.
The idea for this weekly lunchtime activity started very simply as a script-reading club as a means to introducing the students to a different way of reading. It benefits and adds to the skills of both high ability readers and unmotivated readers, while being appealing to both.
A number of Year 11 students that have volunteered to assist with the club oversee and lead some of the groupwork and so they are now passing on their knowledge and experience. Essentially this is building upon the ‘students empowering students’ ethos.
The Year 7 and 8 students were initially shown how the text is broken down into the words that are actually spoken out loud, but also the additional information that guides their actions, tone of voice, what they are thinking, character description, etc. This has now developed into so much more within weeks of the launch.
They are looking at character stereotypes that may affect the personality traits exhibited, discussing how guidance notes may be interpreted differently by each other, and how their tone of voice changes the actual meaning of words being spoken. Their abilities to work both individually and as a team are quite evident while their confidence to speak about their interpretations of the text to the rest of the group is growing each week. The main aspect of this is that nobody is ever wrong, and the students have demonstrated between themselves that every opinion is important.
The understanding that everything they see on television and cinema screens starts out as text has been a clear eye opener for many of them. They now see that the actors and actresses are essentially told ‘how’ to say something, and ‘when’ to perform particular actions by the text in the script with a director giving their opinion on how it should be performed.
Please keep in mind when reading the next section that the main volunteers to this group are generally the students that either do not audition for, or rarely get parts in, school productions and are aged between 11 and 13.
The students have ‘ownership’ of the club and between them have named it ‘Inter-Action’. Their motto is ‘from the page, to the stage’.
They have started with a scripted version of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ and the difference in them already is incredible. From sitting around in a circle on the launch day of the club trying to find ‘the guts’ to read out loud in front of people that they did not know; to the present where they are now beginning to act out their interpretations of the scenes.They have started to apply their understanding of the written text and guidance notes and turn this into a visual display for themselves.
What they do not necessarily realise yet, is that this level of understanding that they are gaining about play scripts will slowly be taken through into their general reading.
- Reading for pleasure; where they will find it easier to become more involved with the characters that they are reading about, and so receive more enjoyment from fiction titles.
- Researching information; where they will take more notice of, and be able to apply, the fine details to their coursework.
They are practicing a major skill when they are reading through these scripts and applying the small details, yet to them it does not feel like hard work, and certainly not like another lesson.
Learning should always be fun; it’s what keeps them motivated and coming back for more!
The project wants to take these elements further so that it begins to influence the study skills aspect of the curriculum. This will have a major impact, as it is directly concentrated on students who generally have low self-esteem yet they are self-electing to attend the club, and so developing their abilities in a positive way.
Contact details for the project
If anyone is interested in further information, please do not hesitate to contact the school via e-mail.
Miss Terri Walker
Student Support Officer - Library