What Are Students Like at This Learning Level?High school juniors and seniors may sign up for theater classes for a wide variety of reasons. Some are deeply interested in one or more aspects of theater and may even plan to pursue it as a career. Others are interested in theater but, due to limited exposure to training, have no idea whether they actually possess a talent for it. Still others may take a theater class because it sounds like fun or because they assume it will be an easy A. The following is a quick look at some of the behaviors you are likely to encounter from students at this learning level.
- Third- and fourth-year high school students are young adults. Many of them have started to take on adult responsibilities such as holding an after-school job or playing a role in caring for their families. They may seem very grown up, but these students may still be mastering adult skills like good decision-making and control of their impulses. Theater training can help students develop these skills and can give them opportunities to safely explore the increasingly complex world they move through.
- If motivated, junior and seniors can be self-directed and tenacious about completing a task. Design individual and group activities that allow them to make and build upon their choices in theater. Give them the freedom to pursue the techniques and aspects of theater they are most interested in.
- Creating theater requires taking risks and the ability to learn from mistakes. Students in this age group can be very sensitive to criticism, so it’s important to clearly explain that criticism is a normal and necessary part of the theater making process. Model learning from mistakes and share examples of well-known
professionals in the theater who have done the same. Teach students to make peer feedback constructive, and expose all students to regular peer and teacher feedback. Students should also be encouraged to evaluate themselves regularly, honestly, and rigorously.
- Maintain an element of play in your teaching, even with older students. Use playful exploration as a foundation for creative assignments. This will help students maintain focus, stimulate their imaginations, and encourage them to participate as fully as possible.
- Some students will still be exploring what theater has to offer. Provide them with opportunities to try different theater-related tasks. If students are not interested in performing, have them try stage-managing or working on set crew.
- Challenge advanced students with more complex scripts and characters. Deepen their skills at interpretation and evaluation by exposing them to high-quality theater performances and examining the ways they can work toward professional quality.
What Students Can Do at This LevelThe learning outcomes below are based on the Scope and Sequence, which builds instruction sequentially across these levels. Keep in mind that students of different ages may be at the same level.
|High School Level III Students Can…||High School Level IV Students Can…|
• use accents, dialects, and physical gestures to create characters
• define the term ensemble and contribute to effective ensemble building
• direct classmates in scene work for classroom presentation and/or performance; demonstrate casting, blocking, rehearsing, coaching, interpreting, critiquing, supporting, and communicating vision
• contribute to onstage and offstage aspects of theatrical performance, communicating clearly and respectfully with fellow actors, director, and crew members
• learn and demonstrate actor techniques such as script scoring
• research the role of the dramaturg
• write a review of a play, analyzing the directorial and design choices evident in the production
• write critiques of their own theatrical work
• participate in a musical theater production
• articulate insights into human experience by examining the world of a play and the moral, intellectual, and emotional decisions the characters make