The Children, by Edward Bond – Rhinegold Publishing

The Children, by Edward Bond


The pressure to test and write attainment targets has tended to drive drama teaching down to the level of examinable skills. Through the Edexcel GCSE drama syllabus students have to study and demonstrate
expertise in and knowledge of explorative strategies, elements of drama and features of drama. This reduces a complex art form to a list of things that can be practised, learnt and tested; we hope that this scheme of work moves beyond the confines of the examination, deepening students’ understanding of the world in which they live.

It seems that young people are increasingly being educated to fit into an economic structure and not to question it; does this equate to their being educated to be powerless? In this scheme we have aimed to include questioning and plenary sessions that deepen understanding of the playtext, while encouraging students to develop their questioning of the world around them, as in the work of Edward Bond: ‘[d]rama is the ancient art by which human beings recreate themselves’. 

In The Children, Bond clearly demonstrates this re-creation to his audience. A group of children are clearly depicted coming to know themselves, the world and their relation to it. Bond shows in his play that through this process the young people begin to know who they are and to accept responsibility for themselves. If through this scheme, young people can develop greater self-awareness, as well as gaining excellent assessments for their GCSE drama, then we as teachers are using our medium of drama to its best.

Learning objectives:

  • To understand the text/subject matter of the play
  • To understand the setting of the play/the practical space
  • To engage with the matter of reading a full playtext
  • To begin to explore the key themes of Bond’s play
  • To read the whole playtext
  • To understand the narrative of the piece
  • To begin to engage with the intentions of the playwright
  • To begin to understand the form/structure of the piece
  • To explore the key themes of Bond’s play The Children
  • To decode Bond’s quotation, ‘We are not born human, we become it’
  • To begin reading the text and deepening understanding of plot, character and themes
  • To consider the connections Bond’s play has with Greek
  • theatre in terms of form and structure and thematic links
  • To identify the similarities between Euripides’ tragedy Medea and Bond’s play The Children
  • To develop a deeper understanding of why Bond believes it is important for children to have a voice into today’s sociopolitical context
  • To understand and use the creation of contrast and atmosphere in performative work
  • To explore scene 1 and consider the meanings created
  • through action, object and representations of the puppet
  • To consider the correlation between the playtext and the Jamie Bulger case
  • To understand the challenges of using Brechtian techniques to explore social and political comments from the text
  • To understand Bond’s perception of an apocalyptic world
  • Why does Bond finish the play with a sense of desolation and abandonment?
  • To understand Bond’s vision of/for the world
  • To respond to and develop and stage the last scene from the playtext
  • To explore synoptically the thematic and contextual meanings contained in the whole playtext
  • To use and develop multimedia techniques in performance

Number of Lessons: 6

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