Friday, March 6, 2009

Secondary School Topic: Preparation for Drama and Writing

10-second review: A series of questions that stimulate the imagination.

Title: “Involving Students I the Drama Process, K-12.” Sheila Schwartz. English Journal (May 1975), 35-38. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “One of the best techniques for this category is ‘Synectics,’ a technique developed by William Gordon to help businessmen become more creative…. Exercises in this synectic series ask questions such as, ‘What fruit is like you? What flower is like you? What animal is like you?’ Since there are no right answers, students are free to let their imaginations roam. One question…asks, ‘Why is a picket fence like a dragon’s teeth?’ Most students answer by saying that they look alike. One student, with a delightful sense of humor, came up with this imaginative response, “Because you can’t sit on either.’ ”

Comment: I guess I am too prosaic, but I would want to be very clear in my mind and make clear to my students why I am doing this exercise. I had a superintendent once who did these kinds of cute, gimmicky exercises in our administrative workshops. I kept thinking, “Why the hell am I doing this stuff?” What’s the point? I’m not saying there isn’t a point. I just want to make clear to me and the students what it is. RayS.

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