City Of London Academy session: 23rd April
Today i had to wake up at 5.30am to get ready and travel to City Of London Academy in Bermondsey. We were working with a small class with Back On Track at the college, with Karen and Zef. The class consists of 6 boys, all white, who have behaviour problems and have been disruptive in class. They attend these sessions and this programme instead of going to a lesson in the morning. The class did start out with 11 students, some opted out and felt it wasn't right for them and some felt that their time was up with the programme and it has done what needed to be done to help them. The facilitators keep in touch with the students and the teachers to see how they are doing once they have left the programme and it has been noticed that many students who have been through the Back on Track programme have improved in class with their behaviour and work.
Today there were four students who attended the session. We started off by 'checking in'. This is telling the group how you are feeling by saying a number, 1 being very unhappy and 10 being very happy. Most checked in at 6 and 7, they explained why - either they were tired or not looking forward to their next lesson. We then talked about how every ones Easter was and if it was enjoyable or not. Then we went around in a circle talking about triggers - what really sets them off and what happens when they get angry. One of the triggers was when the teacher has ago at him when he hasn't done anything wrong but he has the reputation of being naughty. His actions are then violence and shouting. After hearing every ones triggers and actions we moved onto something a lot harder - trying to identify the feelings behind these actions. Feelings that were said were: ANGRY, FRUSTRATED, PISSED OFF. One person did say UPSET which was a start to finding out what they really felt. Underneath the angry and frustration, the person is normally feeling hurt and upset.
To try and help uncover these feelings we all had to devise in pairs a scene which had a conflict or a trigger in. Then once the scenes had been performed Karen and Zef would step in as the Feeling Angels and say what the character is actually feeling. One pair showed a fight between two brothers over a computer game, the younger one aggravating the older one. As the older one tried to retaliate, the younger one called out for mum so the older one got the blame for the fight. This was actually one of the triggers that was identified by one of the boys in the class. They then replayed the scene with Karen and Zef as the angels, after each important point they stopped the action and said what the characters were feeling. For example, when the younger brother won the computer game the older one felt 'gutted and embarrassed' and when the younger brother started gloating about it he felt 'upset and annoyed' .
Myself and Monsay devised a scene between a teacher and student, where the student keeps getting in trouble. This time round though the student is innocent but the teacher does not believe them and so gives them a detention. The student is angry and shouts at the teacher and storms out. When we presented this to the class the boys said they really related to it and were even commenting through out it. As there was not enough time to do the Feelings Angels, we said we would develop the scene more and bring it back next week.
We all 'checked out' in 9s and 10s. I really enjoyed this session and felt very comfortable with the boys. They all had their moments where they would muck about a bit but they were all really well behaved and were really enthusiastic about drama. They listen to each other and enjoy the class and they have formed a tight unit. From speaking to Karen and Zef, it has only been since the last term that they have formed so well and they were happy to accept myself and Monsay into the class.