As aspiring actors, your little learners must become familiar with their roles. Here’s the thing, sometimes, it feels like too many techniques. Right? How do you know what works and what doesn’t?

From hot seating to thought tapping, we’ll look at methods that can help deepen understanding of the character.

So, what is hot seating?

Hot seating is an exercise for developing a role in drama lessons, rehearsals, and other creative arts. However, this approach isn’t set in stone for art-based environments. You can adapt this technique for situations like World Book Day or knowledge tests on historical figures.

In traditional approaches, the pupil in the hot seat will sit in front of their pieces (typically arranged in a semi-circle). However, characters can sit in pairs or groups. For example, a team could consist of Jack and Jill. At the same time, a group could adopt the three little pigs.

The teacher will then take on a facilitator role and guide the questioning.

Sometimes, specific roles will require research. You can set this as a warm-up task before the exercise itself. It’s equally important that the rest of the group research their questions.

What is hot seating in drama?

Now, we probably understand the basics of hot seating. But what is hot seating in drama?

In creative lessons, we can use hot seating as a group activity. Even though the character under questioning will recount specific events, this activity gives the whole class a chance to engage. In particular, students can explore motivation or multiple perspectives. As well as experiences relating to a specific theme, topic, event, or idea.

It’s essential that you, as the teacher, prepare the person or people who will be in the hot seat. Most importantly, you should help them determine who they are, where the interview will take place, and why they are in the hot middle.

In many ways, this can quickly be done. Whether you use textual evidence, personal experience, or other forms of research for preparation, you can help children morph into the mindset of their chosen character.

Once comfortable with their role, your next step is to brief the students outside the hot seat role. Because what is hot seating without an audience? Depending on their purpose, they might need support for their question preparation. For instance, they might become journalists at a press release or characters from the same play.

The audience’s questions should be substantial. After all, their purpose is to encourage a response relevant to the dramatic situation.

How to help develop a character

When we ask ourselves, “what is hot seating?” we often focus on the exercise. However, for optimum character development, it’s essential to reflect on the experience afterward.

How you reflect on the situation is entirely up to you. However, you can use the questions below for inspiration.

  • How did stepping into the character’s shoes feel?
  • Did you gain any new insight into the character’s motivations while sitting in the hot seat?
  • Or did you gain any new insight about yourself from the character?
  • What key issues do you think are facing the character and their actions?
  • For your character, what is hot seating helpful with?

You could also ask the students about the finer details of their character. Like home life, family relationships, fears, hobbies, childhood, and even hopes. As they provide answers, you can note down specific mannerisms which they can practice later in the performance, such as:

  • Tapping feet.
  • Twisting hands.
  • Speaking slowly and deliberately.
  • The tone of voice.
  • Eye contact levels.
  • Head scratching.
  • Stutters.

What is hot seating beneficial for in teaching?

Now, we can see the benefits of this technique in drama. Let’s look at other areas where hot seating can help. In particular, what is hot seating in class?

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