THE MIRTH MODULE
Our classrooms should be happy spaces, and this has perhaps never been more true than in
2020-21, after children have spent a long time having limited contact with the outside world.
The Mirth Module is a new project designed to promote writing, the creative arts, self-expression and warm, caring classroom cultures - and we will do this by harnessing children's humour.
Beneath the surface level of humour, this project is all about relationships. We recognise, taking the lead from the work of Relational Schools, that human beings 'gain identity, meaning and wellbeing in the context of their relationships'. This project is focused on developing the strength of peer relationship and the connections between children and their teachers.
Much of our focus on humour derives from the work of Michael Rosen, on teaching writing and how to help children to communicate their lives with others. It is not about forcing teachers to become stand-up comedians or clowns. It is about seeing humour as an expression of our personalities, experiences and values, and using this as a springboard to explore and strengthen classroom relationships.
The Mirth Module is facilitated as a six session project with pupils, and it functions as sustained immersive CPD for the participating adults. After each session, we share a reflective discussion about the events and observations we have made about children in the class, modelling a focused and humane kind of reflective attentiveness.
A - What makes us laugh?
Getting to know the group and introducing the project.
B - Storytelling our lives
Class picturebook creation, using the work of Shinsuke Yoshitake as a prompt.
C - Monologues (Rosen Style)
Children share, develop and perform anecdote monologues to camera.
D - Dialogue and Characterisation
Small group scriptwriting and semi-improvised dialogue.
E - Alter Ego Teamwork
Children work collaboratively through a carousel of tasks, whilst in character.
F - Our Classroom Culture
Reflecting on our experience, what are we like as a class, and how might we move forward?