In this article, we’re focusing on self-management, which is one of the five areas of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). If the concept of SEL is new to you, check out this article to get a basic overview: Social and Emotional Learning in the Drama Classroom: What Is It?.
Self-management is the ability to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours in different situations effectively, and to achieve one’s goals and aspirations. This includes concepts such as taking responsibility and ownership for your actions, developing coping strategies, prioritizing, time management, demonstrating initiative, and goal setting. These are all important skills for students to develop in order to succeed both in and out of the drama classroom.
Here are some questions you can ask your drama students to get them thinking about different aspects of self-management. You can use them as journal prompts, exit slips, or classroom discussion starters:
Then, try the following exercise with your students: Plan, Execute, Reflect. If possible, start this exercise on a Monday.
1 Have students make a list of all their responsibilities for that week. Think about school assignments, tests, after-school activities, part-time jobs, chores, family events, etc.
2. Then, using the provided weekly template (click the link below!), have students write down all their responsibilities for that week, when these responsibilities happen, and any due dates.
3. Have students complete the Start of Week Plan questions:
4. If necessary, break bigger tasks into smaller chunks. For example, if students have a scene presentation on Thursday, what do they need to do on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to prepare?
5. On Friday, have students respond to the End of Week Reflection questions:
You can tie this in with more questions about how this exercise could benefit people in various theatrical professions, or how they can adapt it to their use. How could a stage manager use the template? How can planning their week benefit a professional actor? Why is it important for a lighting designer to have good time management skills? Why is it important for us (drama students) to develop these skills now?