Theatre for Social Change - Mind over Manner NZ

Connect to the humanness in the other before you.
Their right to belong.
This connection an open hand...
of strength and possibility.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a workshop called Mind over Manner.
The workshop was hosted by RTLB Cluster 29 and educators through out Hutt Valley, Wellington attended.

The message that resonated with me throughout the day was "Be Generous".

What is mind over Manner?
"The Mind Over Manner workshop aims to normalise what is often viewed as disability or dysfunction and encourages the reframe of cognitive difference."

Four actors and a facilitator (Susan Haldane the Creative Director) took us on a journey - exploring areas of stress for students..
Students who are...
Over sensory
Over responders
Under responders

The workshop was a series of role plays and adult participation. Four hours absolutely zoomed by.
Sometimes we would pause and offer the actors alternative scenarios.

Image: The Scenario- Emily's story about transition, hoops and hooping

Why am I blogging about this?
1. Because, this professional development workshop was dynamic. At times the atmosphere was electrifying - as we were invited to step into the experiences portrayed in the role plays.
2. I am excited because it is  important to me that we explore simple ways of acting, thinking and doing things different each day. Things we as educators can try where we learn about ourselves and others.
3. Links to the building of Resilience and the conditions for the Discipline of Anticipation
4. If I had one wish for staff professional development across Kahui Ako it would be, dial up Mind over Matter.

Image: Actors modelling the use of flash cards in the classroom by students. Instead of a student saying I need to get out of here or I need to move, a student can use a flash card that says "I need to move my body" (Tap into the use of different sensory modalities)

I learnt a new word.
I learnt using declarative language sets the conditions to create neural pathways and to practice re-framing is to set conditions for the invitation of connection.

For information about Declarative Language check out

Examples of declarative language
Imperative language: Did you do your home?
Declarative: How was your homework last night?

Imperative: Say goodbye.
Declarative: We are going home now.

I understood that in being explicit in our use of Declarative language we model flexibility. The teacher shifts so the student feels better and as a result we fostering connection.
Using language to connect. Reminds me of Va, Talanoa, Whanaugatanga.
We know as educators that connecting with our students is critical for learning and reducing the distance between the teacher and the student.

This workshop offered simple language frames that I could try out in my next  learning and or in behavior conversations. I will start having a go at explicitly using Declarative language frames in my teaching as Inquiry this year. Declarative language will support students and myself to develop new neural pathways.

Theater for social change is pretty dam exciting and I really want to engage more with this genre.

No comments:

Post a Comment