Monster Punch – Rhinegold Publishing

Monster Punch


I have successfully used this scheme at GCSE and adapted for use with KS3. It appears here in the format used for the GCSE Edexcel Paper 1 Unit 1, which requires students to undertake a six-hour practically assessed workshop, based on a chosen theme or issues. The Punch and Judy puppet show might seem a strange starting point for a dramatic exploration.

In the show, a grotesque figure called Punch dishes out punishment with his stick to anyone with whom he is not happy, including his wife, his baby, a policeman and a crocodile! I had often thought when I saw the show that there seemed to be no explanation as to why he behaved in this manner. Punch is an abuser, and while the violence is intended to be comic, it seemed that there were issues that could be explored using the story as an initial stimulus. I also wanted to explore the notion ‘what makes a man a monster’, since this would perhaps investigate what factors affect our personality. 

The scheme takes in a number of themes and issues – child abuse, domestic violence, disability, isolation – and the framework of the Punch story means that students can explore these issues in an abstract setting.

Learning objectives:

  • To respond to the themes of domestic violence and child abuse using the Punch and Judy framework as a structural device
  • To use the structure to examine the factors behind what makes a man a ‘monster’ and the nature/nurture issue
  • To assess the effect on individuals exposed to domestic violence, child abuse and disability, and how these can have a profound effect on social and personal development

Number of lessons: 9

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