Example #58 Drama and Others

What if drama were about others and not self?

Alison’s class loved playing 'Jellybean and Chocolate' in drama. For this game the class forms a tight circle with two pupils, blindfolded, inside the circle. One is labelled Jellybean the other Chocolate. Jellybean has to find Chocolate by calling out, “Where are you Chocolate?” Chocolate answers, “Here I am!” Chocolate can move and try to evade Jellybean. The rest of the circle tries to protect Chocolate without touching Jellybean.

"At the end of the game, we all sat on the floor in a circle. I asked the students to undertake the usual evaluative and reflective activities: What I liked doing; I felt confident when …, etc. I asked the student who had played the part of Jellybean about what she had enjoyed about the activity, and she replied, “Nothing. I felt like I couldn’t win.” I probed a little deeper. She said that it felt as though the rest of the class were ganging up on her.

"It was good for the rest of the class to hear the honesty of this girl as it enabled them to see that drama can be fun for some, but the roles some people are asked to play can be challenging and out of their comfort zone. Drama makes us think. This made us all rethink and we added new statements to our set of criteria on the evaluation sheet for the activity that helped us be aware of how others were feeling and not just concentrate on our own response. We also added a statement concerning how drama challenged us.

  • ……………… (name of activity) could be a bit ……………… (scary, challenging, fun, etc. add suitable word).
  • I think others might have found it ……………… (scary, challenging, fun, etc. add suitable word).
  • People playing the role of ……………… (add role) were really ……………… (add suitably constructive word).
  • Today’s drama lesson made me think because ………………’

What’s going on here?

Alison saw her drama lesson as a time for thinking about others, not just self, and a chance for empathy.

She engaged learners in focusing on a new emphasis in her evaluation and rethinking the criteria involved (changing the criteria and involving students in this). She helped them to focus outward and reflect with empathy on others' experiences during the activity.

She reshaped her practice by using questions and time for reflection to change the focus from self to others, and by giving this a concrete outcome in new written criteria.

How do I do this myself?

What does this have to do with faith, hope and love?

Love is not a static virtue but a movement from self to others and God. Life is a continual process of taking self from the centre of life and moving God and others into the position that self naturally takes. It also takes faith to do this, as we wonder whether others will look after us if we don't put ourselves first. Love is not just a feeling but a choice, an act of will to behave in a particular way. The Bible talks about putting on love like putting on a garment. Like an out-sized school uniform we can grow into it. The first step on this pathway of love is seeing others and their value in God’s eyes and knowing that we have to put their needs before our own.

What difference does it make?

By changing the evaluation just a little, Alison helped to make her class aware of others and take the focus off their own feelings and achievements. Few changes were involved but it could make a difference to how all the students approach drama.

Where could we go from here?

This approach may be used with older students with a reworking of the evaluative comments to an age-appropriate level. There are many other applications for this type of thinking, e.g., group work in any subject area.

Digging deeper

In 1 Corinthians 13, love is described as ‘not self-seeking’ (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). This does not mean self is effaced or personal needs are never met. Jesus talked of loving others as we love ourselves. Selfishness often arises from insecurity and viewing experiences such as love as finite commodities, as if there is only so much to go round. If you get love, praise, etc. will there be enough for me? In such a situation people look after number one. Jesus taught radical selflessness. He ranked loving others as second only to loving God (Mark 12:28-31) and told people to treat others as they wanted to be treated (Luke 6:31).

Selfishness is the making a man's self his own centre, the beginning and end of all he doeth. John Owen

Choosing to be unselfish is to go against the grain. Jesus talked in terms of dying to self and living to God and others. This dying to self is something that happens with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is not a one-off act but a daily process. Self is not lost in the process, it is strengthened. Christians often discover that there is a strange inversion at work; in focusing on God and others we find ourselves (Matthew 16:25).

Selfishness is the result of humanity’s choice of self over God and others that leads to the sin that warps our world. However we understand Genesis 3 and Adam and Eve’s decision to go their own way, the reality is that we have shifted the focus onto our wants and needs.

Explore similar examples:

What if a lesson on class rules were about growing together?
What if celebrating a goal were about acknowledging others?
What if a grammar lesson challenged selfishness?

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1What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others. 3What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burnt alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others. 4Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or 5rude. Love isn't selfish or quick-tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do. 6Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. 7Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. 8Love never fails! Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten. 9We don't know everything, and our prophecies are not complete. 10But what is perfect will some day appear, and what isn't perfect will then disappear. 11When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we stopped our childish ways. 12Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don't know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us. 13For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love. Speaking unknown languages and prophesying
1Jesus then told them this story: A farmer once planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it and dug a pit to crush the grapes in. He also built a lookout tower. Then he let his vineyard and left the country. 2When it was harvest time, he sent a servant to get his share of the grapes. 3The tenants grabbed the servant. They beat him up and sent him away without a thing. 4The owner sent another servant, but the tenants beat him on the head and insulted him terribly. 5Then the man sent another servant, and they killed him. He kept sending servant after servant. They beat some of them and killed others. 6The owner had a son he loved very much. Finally, he sent his son to the tenants because he thought they would respect him. 7But they said to themselves, Some day he will own this vineyard. Let's kill him! That way we can have it all for ourselves. 8So they grabbed the owner's son and killed him. Then they threw his body out of the vineyard. 9Jesus asked, What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? He will come and kill those tenants and let someone else have his vineyard. 10Surely you know that the Scriptures say, The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important stone of all. 11This is something the Lord has done, and it is amazing to us. 12The leaders knew that Jesus was really talking about them, and they wanted to arrest him. But because they were afraid of the crowd, they let him alone and left. Paying taxes (Matthew 22.15-22; Luke 20.20-26) 13The Pharisees got together with Herod's followers. Then they sent some men to trick Jesus into saying something wrong. 14They went to him and said, Teacher, we know that you are honest. You treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. And you teach the truth about what God wants people to do. Tell us, should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not? 15Jesus knew what they were up to, and he said, Why are you trying to test me? Show me a coin! 16They brought him a silver coin, and he asked, Whose picture and name are on it? The Emperor's, they answered. 17Then Jesus told them, Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God. The men were amazed at Jesus. Life in the future world (Matthew 22.23-33; Luke 20.27-40) 18The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So some of them came to Jesus and said: 19Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother. 20There were once seven brothers. The first one married, but died without having any children. 21The second brother married his brother's widow, and he also died without having children. The same thing happened to the third brother, 22and finally to all seven brothers. At last the woman died. 23When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? After all, she had been married to all seven brothers. 24Jesus answered: You are completely wrong! You don't know what the Scriptures teach. And you don't know anything about the power of God. 25When God raises people to life, they won't marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. 26You know about people being raised to life. You know that in the story about Moses and the burning bush, God said, I am the God worshipped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 27He isn't the God of the dead, but of the living. You Sadducees are all wrong. The most important commandment (Matthew 22.34-40; Luke 10.25-28) 28One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, What is the most important commandment? 29Jesus answered, The most important one says: People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. 30You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 31The second most important commandment says: Love others as much as you love yourself. No other commandment is more important than these. 32The man replied, Teacher, you are certainly right to say there is only one God. 33It is also true that we must love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and that we must love others as much as we love ourselves. These commandments are more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that we could possibly make. 34When Jesus saw that the man had given a sensible answer, he told him, You are not far from God's kingdom. After this, no one dared ask Jesus any more questions. About David's son (Matthew 22.41-46; Luke 20.41-44) 35As Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, How can the teachers of the Law of Moses say that the Messiah will come from the family of King David? 36The Holy Spirit led David to say, The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right side until I make your enemies into a footstool for you. 37If David called the Messiah his Lord, how can the Messiah be his son? The large crowd enjoyed listening to Jesus teach. Jesus condemns the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses (Matthew 23.1-36; Luke 20.45-47) 38As Jesus was teaching, he said: Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all. A widow's offering (Luke 21.1-4) 41Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said: I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44Everyone else gave what they didn't need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn't have a penny to live on. The temple will be destroyed (Matthew 24.1,2; Luke 21.5,6)
1One Sabbath when Jesus and his disciples were walking through some wheat fields, the disciples picked some wheat. They rubbed the husks off with their hands and started eating the grain. 2Some Pharisees said, Why are you picking grain on the Sabbath? You're not supposed to do that! 3Jesus answered, Surely you have read what David did when he and his followers were hungry. 4He went into the house of God and took the sacred loaves of bread that only priests were supposed to eat. He not only ate some himself, but even gave some to his followers. 5Jesus finished by saying, The Son of Man is Lord over the Sabbath. A man with a crippled hand (Matthew 12.9-14; Mark 3.1-6) 6On another Sabbath Jesus was teaching in a Jewish meeting place, and a man with a crippled right hand was there. 7Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses kept watching Jesus to see if he would heal the man. They did this because they wanted to accuse Jesus of doing something wrong. 8Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he told the man to stand up where everyone could see him. And the man stood up. 9Then Jesus asked, On the Sabbath should we do good deeds or evil deeds? Should we save someone's life or destroy it? 10After he had looked around at everyone, he told the man, Stretch out your hand. He did, and his bad hand became completely well. 11The teachers and the Pharisees were furious and started saying to each other, What can we do about Jesus? Jesus chooses his twelve apostles (Matthew 10.1-4; Mark 3.13-19) 12About that time Jesus went off to a mountain to pray, and he spent the whole night there. 13The next morning he called his disciples together and chose twelve of them to be his apostles. 14One was Simon, and Jesus named him Peter. Another was Andrew, Peter's brother. There were also James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus. The rest of the apostles were Simon, known as the Eager One, 16Jude, who was the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus. Jesus teaches, preaches, and heals (Matthew 4.23-25) 17Jesus and his apostles went down from the mountain and came to some flat, level ground. Many other disciples were there to meet him. Large crowds of people from all over Judea, Jerusalem, and the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon were there too. 18These people had come to listen to Jesus and to be healed of their diseases. All who were troubled by evil spirits were also healed. 19Everyone was trying to touch Jesus, because power was going out from him and healing them all. Blessings and troubles (Matthew 5.1-12) 20Jesus looked at his disciples and said: God will bless you people who are poor. His kingdom belongs to you! 21God will bless you hungry people. You will have plenty to eat! God will bless you people who are crying. You will laugh! 22God will bless you when others hate you and won't have anything to do with you. God will bless you when people insult you and say cruel things about you, all because you are a follower of the Son of Man. 23Long ago your own people did these same things to the prophets. So when this happens to you, be happy and jump for joy! You will have a great reward in heaven. 24But you rich people are in for trouble. You have already had an easy life! 25You well-fed people are in for trouble. You will go hungry! You people who are laughing now are in for trouble. You are going to cry and weep! 26You are in for trouble when everyone says good things about you. That is what your own people said about those prophets who told lies. Love for enemies (Matthew 5.38-48; 7.12a) Jesus continued: 27This is what I say to all who will listen to me: Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. 28Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, don't stop that person from slapping you on the other cheek. If someone wants to take your coat, don't try to keep back your shirt. 30Give to everyone who asks and don't ask people to return what they have taken from you. 31Treat others just as you want to be treated. 32If you love only someone who loves you, will God praise you for that? Even sinners love people who love them. 33If you are kind only to someone who is kind to you, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners are kind to people who are kind to them. 34If you lend money only to someone you think will pay you back, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners lend to sinners because they think they will get it all back. 35But love your enemies and be good to them. Lend without expecting to be paid back. Then you will get a great reward, and you will be the true children of God in heaven. He is good even to people who are unthankful and cruel. 36Have pity on others, just as your Father has pity on you. Judging others (Matthew 7.1-5) 37Jesus said: Don't judge others, and God won't judge you. Don't be hard on others, and God won't be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated. 39Jesus also used some sayings as he spoke to the people. He said: Can one blind person lead another blind person? Won't they both fall into a ditch? 40Are students better than their teacher? But when they are fully trained, they will be like their teacher. 41You can see the speck in your friend's eye. But you don't notice the log in your own eye. 42How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? You show-offs! First, get the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. A tree and its fruit (Matthew 7.17-20; 12.34b,35) Jesus continued: 43A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 44You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. You cannot pick figs or grapes from thorn bushes. 45Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart. Two builders (Matthew 7.24-27) Jesus continued: 46Why do you keep on saying that I am your Lord, when you refuse to do what I say? 47Anyone who comes and listens to me and obeys me 48is like someone who dug down deep and built a house on solid rock. When the flood came and the river rushed against the house, it was built so well that it didn't even shake. 49But anyone who hears what I say and doesn't obey me is like someone whose house wasn't built on solid rock. As soon as the river rushed against that house, it was smashed to pieces! Jesus heals an army officer's servant (Matthew 8.5-13; John 4.43-54)
1The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tried to test him by asking for a sign from heaven. 2He told them: If the sky is red in the evening, you say the weather will be good. 3But if the sky is red and gloomy in the morning, you say it is going to rain. You can tell what the weather will be like by looking at the sky. But you don't understand what is happening now. 4You want a sign because you are evil and won't believe! But the only sign you will be given is what happened to Jonah. Then Jesus left. The yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mark 8.14-21) 5The disciples had forgotten to bring any bread when they crossed the lake. 6Jesus then warned them, Watch out! Guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 7The disciples talked this over and said to each other, He must be saying this because we didn't bring along any bread. 8Jesus knew what they were thinking and said: You don't have much faith! Why are you talking about not having any bread? 9Don't you understand? Have you forgotten about the five thousand people and all those baskets of leftovers from just five loaves of bread? 10And what about the four thousand people and all those baskets of leftovers from only seven loaves of bread? 11Don't you know by now that I am not talking to you about bread? Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees! 12Finally, the disciples understood that Jesus wasn't talking about the yeast used to make bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Who is Jesus? (Mark 8.27-30; Luke 9.18-21) 13When Jesus and his disciples were near the town of Caesarea Philippi, he asked them, What do people say about the Son of Man? 14The disciples answered, Some people say you are John the Baptist or perhaps Elijah or Jeremiah or some other prophet. 15Then Jesus asked them, But who do you say I am? 16Simon Peter spoke up, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. 17Jesus told him: Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! You didn't discover this on your own. It was shown to you by my Father in heaven. 18So I will call you Peter, which means a rock. On this rock I will build my church, and death itself will not have any power over it. 19I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth. But he will not allow anything that you don't allow. 20Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Jesus speaks about his suffering and death (Mark 8.319.1; Luke 9.22-27) 21From then on, Jesus began telling his disciples what would happen to him. He said, I must go to Jerusalem. There the nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses will make me suffer terribly. I will be killed, but three days later I will rise to life. 22Peter took Jesus aside and told him to stop talking like that. He said, God would never let this happen to you, Lord! 23Jesus turned to Peter and said, Satan, get away from me! You're in my way because you think like everyone else and not like God. 24Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 25If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it. 26What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul? 27The Son of Man will soon come in the glory of his Father and with his angels to reward all people for what they have done. 28I promise you that some of those standing here will not die before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom. The true glory of Jesus (Mark 9.2-13; Luke 9.28-36)