Today’s featured technique is a neat little drama strategy called mirroring.
With mirroring, students get the chance to work on leadership skills, following skills, right and left brain cross-processing, coordination, and the give and take relationship found in so many content areas.
Mirroring is quite simple.
Essentially, two students stand across from each other. One will begin as the leader and the other as the follower. Whatever motions the leader does, the follower must copy. The only stipulation is that there is no talking during this entire activity. At some point during the activity, the leader must pass the leadership role to the follower. So the follower becomes the leader of the motions and the leader becomes the follower. Again, this must be done without talking or communication. The pair may switch the leadership role back and forth as many times as they would like within the allotted activity time. Encourage the partners to use all of the space immediately surrounding them: high, medium and low.
This sounds like a very easy technique, but in reality it is quite difficult.
People fumble for a little bit when they receive the leadership role and it is a challenge to know when it “feels” right to hand off the role to the other person. It requires a lot of concentration, trust, and intuitiveness to know when the switch happens and to use controlled motions. As well as, motions within the realm of possibility for each partner. By working with high, medium and low levels, students are able to stretch their brains to think of all the space and possibilities outside of their small medium sized box.
This can be used as a warm up activity for a particularly challenging concept that you will teaching.
Or, we use it to teach a concept. For instance, we use this with math when learning about perpendicular, parallel and intersecting lines. The teacher just gives the instruction that all motions must be within one or two of those types of lines. It’s also great to use when working on character development in a story. One person becomes the “leader” character and the other becomes the “follower” character and their motions must reflect the personality traits of that characters. Then, students can write about how it felt to become that character and what it looked/felt like to have someone mirror that back to them. That’s a very powerful tool for students and the writing that results is full of richness and depth.
Why not give this technique a chance in your classroom? And once you do, please come back and share your experience – we’d love to hear how it went in your classroom!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.