'What is a whoosh?' you may well ask... According to teacher and writer Gill Robins, a whoosh is one of the best active learning methods around. A whoosh is a drama strategy, a form of physical storytelling, devised by Joe Winston, Professor of Drama and Arts Education at the University of Warwick. It’s widely used by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of its education programme, and Gill Robins uses it in her new book The Whoosh Bible.
To whoosh, you need to stand your group in a circle, creating a performance space. Children then take it in turns to become characters, objects or sounds as the leader reads the story. They are more likely to engage with the story by doing it, rather than simply reading or listening to it, and Gill has found this to be an effective and enjoyable methodology. The Whoosh Bible takes this effective technique into church groups to help children of 7–11 to engage with Bible stories and what they convey to us today. The whooshing technique seeks to unlock language, release the imagination and inspire learning; for these reasons Gill has used the tried-and-tested method when sharing Bible stories.
The 50 stories span the major events of the Old Testament and the life of Jesus, as well as the stories he told and the people he met. Each story lists the characters and the objects involved, showing the storyteller when to cue each part into the performance and when to call a 'whoosh'— to change section. There are follow-on discussion questions, activities and a prayer for each story. View sample pages here - and see a whoosh in action!
Gill Robins is an educational consultant and writer who received the UKLA John Downing Award for creative and innovative approaches to teaching English in 2010. She worked as a Deputy Head in the primary sector until 2011 and is also an experienced children's worker in a church context, including Sunday school teaching, weekday clubs and summer camps. Her published works include The Whoosh Book, a collection of literacy activities for classic and contemporary text for seven to 14-year-olds (Routledge, 2013).
This article was originally published on BRF Online
August 27th, 2015 - Posted & Written by The Editor