Structure It Up

Recently I’ve been visiting various sites and watching the classes, and I’ve given the note “structure it up” from time to time to the teachers. A vital element to all our classes and rehearsals at Upstage is a structured style of teaching.

When teaching a group of kids, we instruct our teachers to structure their class style quite tightly, putting in rules and “guard rails” for any exercise, rehearsal, or teaching moment with the kids. 

The idea is to remove time for reflection and distraction, to keep kids in the moment.

When I see a teacher start the class with, “Right, what shall we do next…let’s see…oh we’ve done that scene already haven’t we?” this is a sure sign they are walking into trouble.

It’s not about being stricter, or telling less jokes. It’s about creating a safe space for your kids and allowing them to be at their most focused.

I recently taught a very simple, but very structured “ice-breaker” exercise to a group of 45 kids, and we filmed it for reference. I made the teaching style low key and flat because I wanted to highlight how structuring it up can make all the difference, spending some time at the beginning to lay down the rules. We also always repeat the rules, as kids need time and space to play and figure it out as they go along.