Drama of balancing a family budget and building projects

Tes Editorial

Bannerman High in Glasgow has already been teaching financial education using drama, with the help of the Citizens' Theatre youth company TAG.

Louise Brown, from the company, said: "Some people might think financial education is distant and dull, but when you look at it from the human point of view it immediately becomes rich and interesting. That's what drama does - it looks at the impact on people."

The company worked with 110 third-year drama students for four 50-minute periods, developing four characters in a family struggling with its finances.

Using role play, pupils analysed and discussed the choices made by Toni, the daughter, who constantly borrows from best pal Sam; Ryan, the son, who puts pressure on his parents to make expensive purchases; dad, Stevie, who loses his job and lies to his wife about their debt; and mum, Shannon, who wins a supermarket sweepstake.

Karen Borland, Bannerman High's principal teacher of drama, said: "The idea was to look at the issues and the impact of finance on friendships, relationships and family lives, but to do it in a safe, secure environment."

As a result, Learning and Teaching Scotland developed Small Change, a financial education resource, which it will publish in the new year.

Meanwhile, Claire Bryden, an English teacher at Earlston High in the Borders, took on the challenge of improving her S3 pupils' numeracy, at the same time as assessing their listening and talking skills.

She called it The Pyramid Project (www.educationict.org.ukcfesharedresourcesmathematics.htm). This involved Standard grade Credit pupils thinking themselves back to an ancient Mexican civilisation and assuming roles of representatives of a building company. The esteemed local ruler wanted pyramids built to celebrate his magnificence. Their task was to put together and present a proposal.

The proposal had to contain details of the number of buildings which could be built with the available cash, their size, where they would be situated, how long they would take to complete and the total cost.

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