Words and pictures: using art and text as a tool for exploration and performance

by Louise Clark | 1 September 2015

It is a different way of exploring and seeing. It is an experiment.

Much of my work is in primary schools, using drama as a tool to engage children in their learning. Over the years my practice has developed to include a wide range of creative activities as part of the process and this has stemmed from a number of sources. One being that when working with very young children it is important to change and vary the activity at regular intervals changing the energy, group size, focus and dynamic to keep the engagement of everyone and to allow an opportunity for every kind of learner to contribute within a session.

Another is that over the years I have been fortunate enough to be involved in interventions supported by a pyramid of schools to help students who struggle with speaking and listening within the classroom which is affecting their overall progress in literacy.

Working with children who have such great fear of being looked at, who are embarrassed or ashamed of the way they speak, have incredibly low self-esteem, extreme shyness and introverted behaviour, meant I had to entirely shift my way of thinking to find ways in which these children could communicate and express their thoughts and feelings in ways which would gradually build their confidence. During this process I began working a lot with drawings and very short written tasks e.g. one word on a sign or post-it note. These were initially shared anonymously and then, over time, being held up/presented by the participants. What grew from this work were incredibly beautiful and moving moments of performance.

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