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:
- How can you demonstrate responsibility in the drama classroom?
- How do you keep track of your responsibilities on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? (Our blog post Theatrical Time Management for Students might be helpful for this question!)
- You have a big soccer game the day before an important scene presentation in drama class. How will you prepare for both events?
- On Monday, you are assigned a monologue to memorize and present on Friday. How will you use your time most effectively?
- You have several big assignments all due around the same time. How do you deal with the potential stress?
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:
- What’s my #1 priority this week?
- How will I ensure that I complete my #1 priority?
- What’s one thing I can do to reduce stress this week?
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:
- What went well this week?
- What didn’t go so well this week?
- What can I do to prepare myself for success next week?
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?Click here for a free weekly planning template.
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.Want to find out more about our newest plays, resources and giveaways?
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