Like many other children’s classes, StageAbility Berkshire has now taken to Zoom to deliver its drama classes over the internet, bringing drama into the students’ living rooms every week.
I’ll admit, we didn’t jump to do this quickly. Some may say we were slow to react. But what it has allowed us to do is to learn from others to make the task of online learning stress-free, safe and ensure that we are offering comparable learning to our students. If you’re about to take the same steps, here are our 3 top tips for Zooming with your students:
- Make sure that you have a safeguarding policy in place. All of us who work with young people know that safety is our first concern. If you are coming to the party slightly later, like we did, you can find reputable online safeguarding policy templates on the web. For drama classes, we like Company Three’s resources. http://www.companythree.co.uk/resources#coronavirus-resources
- Adjust Your Class Content. Until recently, touching each other, moving closely together and physical interaction was a key part of drama classes, particularly in group teaching and show rehearsals. Virtual drama classes simply can’t replace that, but there are, of course, many other areas of drama teaching that can be very successfully delivered online. There are new support groups springing up all over the place for sharing ideas. One we particularly like is Drama Zoomers on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/154249049231219/
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. Sounds obvious, right? From the research I’ve done on this subject, that doesn’t seem to be the case! Preparation is key, not only for you, but also for the parents of your students. Make sure everybody knows how the invite will arrive and what they need to do to access the class. At the very start of your class, outline the dos and don’ts, as you would establish the ‘rules’ in a regular class. For example, many classes now run with participants’ mics off, until they need to speak, which cuts out general ‘noise’. It won’t take long until these become the norm and all participants are getting a great experience from your sessions.
To those of you beginning this journey, we wish you lots of luck. We’d love to hear your own experiences, whether it’s things that have gone well or things that have gone a little bit wrong!