September 2009 sees the start of the revised GCSE drama syllabus as offered by OCR. I have always liked OCR at GCSE and have been impressed with the opportunities provided to develop key drama skills. Centres have had relative freedom when it comes to creating scripted and devising units and the final stimuli sent by the board has always been interesting to prepare. The new specification is obviously in its infancy but, despite the switch to three controlled tests over the two years, there still appears to be the flexibility for teachers to meet the needs of their particular students as they prepare them for the assessments.
The three assignments, A581 Page to Stage, A582 Drama in the Making and A583 From Concept to Creation, follow roughly the same format as before so after a first half term devoted to general drama skills and an introduction to the six areas of study, I would plan to teach this unit in the second half of the autumn term in order to prepare my students for their first experience of taking a script off the page and realising it on the stage.
Victorian theatre makes an ideal starting point to explore the areas of study. For example, number five - genre, style and convention - can be clearly and concisely explained to students. Furthermore, melodrama can be a lot of fun, with the added benefit of helping our young aspiring actors become more ‘theatrical’ in terms of vocals and gesture.
The unit, which can last up to eight weeks, should ultimately be assessed making full use of the mark scheme available from OCR. Students should have access to the mark scheme so they can fully participate in assessment for learning. They should also keep a working record of the process in order to help them evaluate the final piece.
Lessons include focus on:
- Understanding the Victorian ideal
- Manners and codes of conduct
- Exploring scripts
Number of lessons: 8