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Drama pupils prepare future teachers for the classroom

2018-04-25 

How do you deal with pupils who cry at grade information sessions or pupils who state that your lessons are uninteresting? The University of Gävle is now trying out a new way to prepare their students in upper-secondary school teaching programmes.

Teacher training student Joyce Aalbers and “the pupil” Ali Qasemi have just met in the fictive classroom to discuss grades.

Teacher training student Joyce Aalbers and “the pupil” Ali Qasemi have just met in the fictive classroom to discuss grades.

Teachers-in-the field involved

To put teacher training students into closer contact with the practical tools of the teaching profession, experienced teachers in-the-field come in and work one day a week in the programmes.

Elisabeth Taube, upper-secondary school teacher in social studies and history at Vasaskolan, was employed as adjunct lecturer by the University two years ago, together with five others.

“I am here one day a week; our role is to connect the students here at the University with the reality they are going to face later on,” Elisabeth says.

“It is important for the students to come into contact with their future profession not only during their placement studies, their teaching field experience, but also in the teaching here at the University,” Programme Director Inger Nordquist explains.

Sharing their experiences

When Elisabeth Taube started at the University and saw what the students were reading she thought, “How interesting, now, with 20 years of experience, I understand.”

But she also realised that for many students such abstract theory can be hard to grasp.

“My idea was to let students borrow my reality, my pupils, to give the teacher training students the possibility see it all from their own perspective. Then, we can have a productive exchange. In this way, I will try to give these young students what I have now and which has taken me such a long time to gain.”

Encounters with reality

In the University classroom around 20 encounters between “teachers” and “students” took place:

The “teachers’” mission, which was to give information and explain a grade, was made complicated by the “pupils’” different and, at times, challenging reactions.

“My drama pupils invented their characters and that gave them an important experience, so they are committed to doing more,” drama teacher Ida Bhörman tells us.

Some encounters went well, but in others the teacher took the opportunity to ask the audience for assistance.

“For the students, this means that they encounter reality in a way that is hard to just do through the reading list. In the conversation that followed each scene, ‘the pupils’ contributed in an insightful manner with comments and reflections on how a pupil may feel in different situations and how they experienced ‘the teacher,’” Elisabeth Taube says.

“They praised the students who acted as teachers for how they handled provocations and gave tips about unwanted behaviours in teachers.”

A win-win situation

Elisabeth believes that all participating parties would like to continue, so it is only a matter of organising future sessions.

“It was a win-win situation. The students were very positive and valued the fact that there were real pupils involved who gave the comments.”

She also highlights the fact that this is a way to try out theories on how to engage in conversation with pupils, but in these situations they can make mistakes and try something out, and get to know themselves better.

“You need to know who you yourself are: otherwise the reality of the classroom can be something of a shock to newly graduated teachers.”

The Vasa students were impressed

Afterwards, several of the Vasa pupils said that they had changed their view of teachers. They realised that a teacher has to be able to deal with many situations, that it must be very hard, and they were impressed with the students in the teaching programmes.

“This also becomes a way for us to decrease the distance between the upper secondary schools and the University. This is important, as there is a great need for teachers,” Elisabeth Taube concludes.

 

For more information, please contact:
Elisabeth Taube, adjunct lecturer at the University of Gävle upper-secondary school teacher in social studies and history at Vasaskolan

Emai: elisabeth.taube@hig.se



 

Text: Douglas Öhrbom
Photo: Amanda Sjölander

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Veronica Liljeroth Updated: 2018-04-27
Högskolan i Gävle
www.hig.se
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)