Sunday, 26 April 2009

Workshops with Alexandra Junior School

Working with Alexandra Junior School pupils was an absolute pleasure; It was a privilege to meet and work with the different age groups. At the very beginning I must admit, that I was uneasy about making a commitment to the school every Friday as it was one my days off, which was occupied with writing easies for my other courses, But at the end of my very first workshop I had a complete turn around, as I came out with an amazing overwhelming feeling. I felt full of energy and a unstoppable buzz, which made me recognise that it was not worth missing out on, and pushed me to work out a schedule to please both commitments.

The very first workshop was about storytelling as it was an ideal link because the children had reading week at that time, therefore we could link our workshop to their lesson plan. The workshop involved fun games to get the children a lot more familiar with us and create some sort of relaxed working environment. We than got the children to sit down and tell us about what storytelling means to them and what are the genres that connect to storytelling. The children were very responsive. The second part of the session involved the children telling their favorite story to one of the pupils in class, whilst the other pupil involved them listening in order to make the children aware what telling a story involves. During this activity one particular pupil didn't have someone to tell her story to as it wasn't an even number of students, I noticed this immediately and simply asked her to pair up with my self. Lucy the pupil felt absolutely relieved as she wasn't left all by her self. At first Lucy was quite shy and hesitant about figuring out a story to tell me, I than realised that the best way to make her get ride of her anxiety was by taking a laid back approach making her feel that it was not an awful lot I wanted from her. I did this by telling her my favorite story, this being Cinderella by chance Lucy's favorite story was also Cinderella which made it easier to connect and melt down her anxiety. So I decided to assist her in telling our favorite story, Lucy grew confident as she got deeper into the storytelling and began to leave all her inhibitions about communicating back her favorite story. Once the task ended Lucy felt very confident about telling her favorite story. This making me feel blessed and content to have the chance to learn on the spot how to deal with the given situation as well as hearing my favorite story from another point of view. Finally the concluding task involved the pupils creating their own story and telling it back to the rest of the group through the means of drama.

This was also another enticing experience as we all got a set of eight pupils to work with on a story. I achieved by the one word story, where the pupils came up with a word or sentence to create a story. Once again I must admit that it wasn't easy to keep the piece, as some pupils where a lot more involved than others and easily took over in the making of the story. But I think that this wasn't a bad thing as it taught me how to deal with that type of situation. Once the pupils came up with a story we than had to get them up and acting it out. Personally this was my favorite part of the session as it gave the pupils the opportunity to be creative and open to having a presence on stage, not only it boosted self confidence but also allowed the children to be vocal before their fellow colleagues. I particularly felt that the story that my group came up with was full of imagination and comedy, as well as a serious statement which challenges the adult.
Even though this quote came out from a 7 year old child, it was breath taking to hear someone of this age come out with such phrasing, as well it made me change my narrow opinions and stereo type of children. "You are never too young to die!!!" this was said by a seven year old coming from a hero type character from the improvised story by the young pupils. Therefore it was no question why I felt so fulfilled and full of energy. Working with young people its AWESOMEEEEE!!!

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