ERIC Number: ED341050
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Playwriting: Not Just for Dramatists.
Playwriting gives students focused experience with dialogue, which is useful in many kinds of writing, and provides an avenue for process-based writing instruction. The assignment of writing plays allows students to try out various personae without risking direct self-identification. Students write more for one another than for the teacher, allowing the teacher to become a facilitator and resource, rather than a dictator. Topic-generating prewriting activities such as brainstorming begin the project. In an incubation period, the class fleshes out possible characters. In the drafting stage, students keep characters talking, to see where scenes might go, or write a prose sketch to get started. After a rough draft emerges, students consider some basic principles and elements of dramatic structure. Scenes usually are enhanced by incorporating some or all of the following: (1) emotion; (2) discoveries; (3) decisions; (4) reversals; and (5) angularity. Scripts are completed, and students rehearse them, with playwrights providing direction. Playwrights are present at rehearsals to provide direction to performers. The rehearsals create an impetus to revise. Following revisions, writers prepare finished manuscripts in drama format. Other students' reactions and playwright self-evaluations enter into final grades. The value of the assignment lies in what students learn about the nature and craft of representing ideas and experience in writing. (SG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A