A View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller
I am very keen on encouraging my students to regard their notebooks as learning journals. I like the idea that from time to time we take a break, of perhaps ten minutes or so, in order to write, almost at random, our thoughts about the matters in hand. It is surprising, I always say to them, just how much you can write in ten minutes.
For me, the learning journal provides an invaluable opportunity for students to make the work of the group their own and to explore ideas creatively. It is particularly helpful in the context of a subject like drama and theatre studies where practical sessions are often extremely valuable in their own right but run the risk of lacking an ultimate learning focus. This can lead to unsatisfactory written tasks being set, which stifle rather than celebrate creativity.
What I have found in practice, however, is that although I prefer the students to work under their own steam and to devise their own routes towards a record of their independent study, they need a little bit more guidance. I have therefore taken to providing short headings, quite sketchy ones of course, which I focus on at the beginning and end of learning sessions, so that students can tie their comments as closely as they wish to the precise matter in hand.
This arrangement seems to me to offer the best of both worlds, providing a ready-made method of integrating both objective-led lesson planning and the students’ own subjective approaches to learning.
This scheme of work provides a thorough coverage of Miller’s play through a ‘learning journal’ approach and is divided into the following sections:
- Introduction: the learning journal
- The classical model and the structure of the play: the opening speech
- Greek Tragedy for the 20th Century: style of performance and director’s aims
- Realistic and non-realistic features
- Character: monologues
- Language and style: directorial approaches to accent and place