Question time – we don’t do the ‘teacher’ thing

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      After all, that’s the teacher’s job. Here’s a summary of what I told a teacher recently who thought that we should get the kids answering questions about values as though we were running a classroom:

      Too often I have seen shows where children are ‘asked’ to tell the moral or the lesson etc, and from everything I know about impact and making the show a learning experience is that this does not work. The only way it would work is if a child were to legitimately want to ‘share’ an experience or ask how they can be ‘better’ and thru the process of the show and a discussion afterwards the rest of the audience would learn from their example of growth, but that is an unlikely scenario when that’s not what the children have come to the show for (it’s not a personal development seminar after all).

      The best way, therefore, is to get them in a happy state, to have them have fun, even in question time, and also have them ‘admire and look up to us’ as role models, and then basically talk about what our beliefs about how to be your best in life are and they should learn that way, the values of the show and the company/actors. They will want to mimic us including our beliefs and attitudes and behaviours, so it’s better for us to show them that stuff rather than make them try to ‘tell us stuff’, that just makes us look like teachers. Whilst not all children will ‘get it’ consciously, everything goes into our subconscious and i’d rather have stuff that I would say to them rather than a sub-standard answer from a child not that enthusiastic to be answering blatantly obvious moral questions that we would ask. In fact, as I mentioned, that sounds like a teacher and the job of a Theatre-in-Education performer (according to me and also the NSW accreditation board) is to do things that aren’t replicatable by teachers – hence why we put all the things to discuss with children in the teachers support so that the teacher themselves can do the follow up questions …after all, your teachers are the most skilled at eliciting those responses/answers, not us. We’re best at performing and talking about the show and the values, not running a classroom.

      I hope that makes it a bit more clear as to why we do Question time the way we do it (and different to other companies), and so you also understand that it will be a similar structure when we return to your school.

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