Image Work: Tips and Tricks
What is Image Work?
Image work is a collection of theatre strategies that ask students to demonstrate their understanding in a physical or non-verbal way. When our students express their understanding of an emotion, a science concept, a historical character’s point of view, in a non-verbal way, instruction is differentiated and ALL learners engage critically with the content. Students can create images in a variety of ways, including a spontaneous response to a prompt or question or a creative process to rehearse and revise group images.
Tips for successful image work in your classroom:
Ask yourself: What is my participant and classroom context?
Select an image work strategy that supports the students’ cognitive and developmental needs.
● Consider whether your students will be most successful building images individually or as a group.
● Choose an image work strategy that your classroom space can accommodate.
● Give adequate time and support for students to build either spontaneous or planned images.
What is my instructional goal?
Consider whether your strategy will introduce, teach, extend, assess, or review content with your students. Think about how you will use image work to activate your students’ prior knowledge.
How do I successfully facilitate Image Work?
- Consider what experience your students already have in the art and non-art content you are drawing on through image work.
- Be clear about when to freeze by counting down 3, 2, 1, freeze! Don't ask students to stay frozen too long, if need be they can shake it out and refreeze as you are reflecting with the questions below.
- Take time to reflect on the images through scaffolded questioning.
- Ask your students to: Describe: What do you see? Analyze: What does that mean? Relate: How does this relate to the larger inquiry and/or your life?
What else do I need to be aware of?
- Creating images can feel risky, be aware of minimizing risk in image work and all DBI work. For example: When creating individual images ask the whole room to freeze, then ask half of the students to relax and reflect on the half that are still in their images. This way no one is focused on individually even though they are doing individual images. Then ask the group that has been reflecting to re-freeze, and the other half unfreezes to reflect on their images.