ContextIn the process of cleaning up my office I stumbled across these mini monologues. I had initially asked students to prepare them as a scriptwriting exercise: I provided a line or a character or a context, and the students had to develop a monologue that would run for 30 second to a minute. We then continued using their work as the basis for developing a short performance with a focus on characterisation. It would seem that although I asked to retain the original scripts, they never made it off the shelf.
I recall that when I collected the scripts, all of the students expressed a desire to retain their anonymity. They didn't mind it being shared and used by others, but they were loath to take any credit. For this reason, I have not recorded any attribution for the work.
The ProblemThis got me thinking... one of the things that I am keen to encourage is student ownership of their work. When students are given the opportunity to promote their work developed at school to a wider audience, more often than not, they balk.
Why is that?
In the case of the scripts below, I understand. Given the short preparation time they might be concerned about their level of creativity, the general quality of the content or or the technical accuracy of the writing. They might have concerns about how these things might reflect on them as an individual, at a point-in-time or on a long-term basis.
What about longer projects?
It doesn't seem to matter whether it is scriptwriting or performance work, students are generally reluctant to showcase their finished product to a wider audience. They seem afraid to own their work.
You might think that it had something to do with the students' perception of their own work, and in some cases it does. Students are often aware enough of their goals for a project to know that the work they are producing isn't quite up to scratch. Students can generally appreciate that this is part and parcel of the creative process and will continue to work in the future on those aspects of their work that need refining...provided they are connected to their learning more than the grade they receive.
The problem for me is that even the students who are producing quality work that is ready for production or exposure to a wider audience are also reluctant. And generally, they are experiencing a slightly different internal conflicts that tend to fall into a couple of categories. Some view the work produced in school as 'schoolwork', irrelevant to the wider context(s) in which they exist. Others are able to recognise and acknowledge that their work might be appreciated by in other contexts but are unwilling to allow their work to be experienced by others for fear of judgement.
This I can relate to.
I've started creating a list of characteristics that I can build in to learning experiences and assessment tasks that I think may encourage students to share their work more broadly.
- Although the work is being created in response to an artificial context (such is the nature of school systems, assessment requirements, etc.), clear, real-world links must be established
- The students must have the opportunity to experience how their work might be transformed from 'assignment' to the next step / finished product
- There should be opportunities to publish work on a small scale at different points throughout the year so that students can experience the process of creating, editing, refining, publishing and promoting their work to an audience.
What other factors play a part in the willingness of a person to own their work and share it with others?