A summer of Italian drama

This summer I spent a month working as an English Tutor for ACLE. ACLE is an educational company that provides young Italian students with fun, enriching, and hands-on opportunities to learn the English language at a series of summer-time camps. The day before I set off, I was extremely excited, if a little nervous that I speak zero Italian. The language barrier was a real challenge and took a while to get used to – I found that even when I returned to England, I was talking to friends with exaggerated gestures.

Sophie (far left) with her colleagues
Sophie (far left) with her colleagues

One of the things I enjoyed most about the whole experience was seeing the effect that drama had on the children in terms of them learning English. In Italy, traditionally, school work is restricted to the classroom, and this is exactly what ACLE seek to challenge. We used drama, sports, games and creative activities to engage and inspire the children. At the end of each one week camp, the children performed a production which they devised themselves in English. These covered themes as varied as One Direction to Aliens and super heroes!

Sophie with her students
Sophie with her students

All in all it was an unforgettable experience, from which I learnt a huge amount. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work in such a beautiful country with such wonderful students and fellow tutors. I would recommend this experience to EVERYONE!!

Sophie

Blackshaw Education: ‘London Pride’ Workshop with Battersea Park School

On the 9th May the Blackshaw Education team went to Battersea Park School and ran a workshop with the GCSE Drama students, based on Katie McCullough’s new play, London Pride, which was performed this year at the Wandsworth Arts Festival. We were lucky enough to be joined by Katie on the day. We handed out sample scenes from the play and Katie led a discussion on issues of immigration and citizenship, both key themes of London Pride. Reading through such scenes aloud, we asked the students to assess characters of the play and realise that one line said by a character can have a number of meanings behind it. As well as covering many issues of the play, we also focused a lot on playwrighting. We introduced key terms such as events and subtext. The students then had to read through a scene from Katie’s play and find examples of these terms. The object exercise was a memorable one. We brought with us a big bag full of random objects and each student had to pick one out. When it comes to playwrighting, ideas can come from the most simple of inspirations and grow into something much bigger. Each student had to write a character analysis for their object – whether it was a pair of glasses or a postcard. It was wonderful to see how every student threw themselves into this exercise and committed completely, so much so that some really interesting and unique characters were created. The whole workshop was a lot of fun. It was inspiring to work with such talented and dedicated students. The experience has only made me more motivated to run a lot more workshops with Blackshaw in the future! Watch this space!

– Sophie