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The Bamboozle Approach: Masterclass

A Masterclass in working creatively with learning disabled children and young people

“This has been a real eye-opener for me and a liberating learning experience. The atmosphere has been truly non-judgemental and the outcomes far exceeded my expectations. You can nurture and challenge at the same time – how is that done? Thank you.” Laura Guthrie – theatre designer and facilitator, Nottingham.

As a freelance practitioner you will know that getting the attention of the young people in your group, and keeping it, is key to a successful session. In fact it is the single most important skill we need. No amount of wisdom and brilliant ideas will help us if no-one is listening! We have all had times when we become frustrated because we can’t get the attention of the group. So how do we do it? The single most powerful way that I have come across to grab students’ attention and keep hold of it is to use a role – that is someone pretending to be a character. This master class will show you how you can do that. And much more.

“I wanted to write and tell you how amazing the training week with Bamboozle was. In this industry I often find myself drowned by having to work in a million places at once, mixing with teachers and pupils for just a couple of minutes before reeling off the same stale old workshop ….. I can’t tell you how much this week has helped me … it has changed my approach to my students and has re-lit the fire for teaching again … that is priceless. You are both inspiring individuals. Thank you!” Arjunan Manuelpilla – workshop leader and poet, London.

During the six days you will learn:

  • Ways that we can ensure that we build rapport with our group – this is a crucial part of engaging with the group and is very, very simple once you know how
  • One of the best kept secrets of engaging a group of young people – how to get them hanging off your every word
  • Ways you can keep total control of the drama and of the group
  • How to find out what young people are most likely to respond to
  • Ways to give young people real decision making input very early in the session
  • The impact that saying very little can have on how a group of young people responds
  • How to give young people access to drama on many different levels
  • How your group can achieve more – by you doing less
  • Ways of deepening your work with a role
  • The keys to the relationship between facilitator and role – and what to do and not do in order for it to give you the outcomes you want
  • Ways to use an inexperienced person [maybe a member of staff who has never done anything like it before] as a role and still get great results
  • How to combine theory with practice immediately and receive clear and honest feedback
  • How to use advanced language strategies to get young people to engage with you in situations where attention, let alone engagement, seemed impossible
  • How to work with different levels of understanding and ability within the same group
  • Ways to build tension and anticipation in your sessions
  • Simple ways to create an atmosphere whether you are in a purpose built theatre studio or a standard classroom
  • How to use the full range of your voice to create immediate impact
  • How you can relax and perform at your best

Key Elements of the Masterclass

  • Practical Sessions. You will lead two sessions with learning disabled students. One as facilitator and one playing a role. These sessions will be discretely filmed so that you and your tutor can watch them during your tutorial.
    Tutorials. After each of your practical sessions you will have a tutorial with a senior Bamboozle practitioner. Tutorials can be audio recorded so that you have a copy to refer to after the masterclass.
  • Observe others working. For many of us it is a rare treat to be able to observe and learn from other skilled colleagues. Being a class teacher can be a lonely business. During this week you will observe or be part of eight practical sessions led by other facilitators. This will give us all a mass of ideas to develop with our classes.
  • Watch a session. During the course you will watch a video of a session led by Christopher Davies, Artistic Director, and Sue Pyecroft, Director of Production and Design at Bamboozle. In it they use a puppet as a role and create a story with a group of learning disabled students.
  • Spend six days with like-minded practitioners and teachers who are all excited and committed to working with students who have learning disabilities.
  • The opportunity to examine your own practice in a supportive environment and to fine tune your workshop/teaching skills.

As part of the Masterclass we will send you three free downloads which were recorded at the National Theatre/Bamboozle Training Week.

  1. How to Create an Enabled Space explains the non-judgemental approach and how it can enable students to engage with learning effortlessly.
  2. Questions that Empower shares strategies that enable us as teachers to ask students questions that enable them to answer without the fear of getting it wrong.
  3. Structuring a Workshop explains a process for structuring a lesson or workshop.

Dates, venues and fees

There are only eight places on the Masterclass. We keep numbers restricted so that you receive lots of individual coaching and we are able to give any questions you have plenty of time and consideration.

These courses usually take place at Bamboozle HQ, at Curve, Leicester or in other venues by arrangement. Due to the COVID situation no dates for this courses are currently scheduled. We hope to be able to publish new dates early next year. If you would like to explore possibilities for setting up a socially distanced training session at your venue please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact page.

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