RCA Theatre Company
Developed in consultation with Tim Matson, B.A., B.Ed., M.A.
RCAT has identified direct ways that ALTAR connects to NLESD High School Curriculum:
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is a partner in the Violence Prevention Initiative of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. In support of this initiative, the Student Support Services Division of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has established a Safe and Caring Schools Initiative to promote safe and caring learning environments and to be pro-active/preventative in addressing violence issues. Included in this initiative are Guidelines for 2SLGBTQQIA+ Inclusive Practices and Supplementary Resources, aimed at Creating a school culture that supports open communication and increased understanding and knowledge of diversity. The themes in ALTAR are complimentary to these outcomes, reflecting Eugenio’s perspective as expressed in the play. (From NL Government Department of Education and Early Childhood Development/Safe and Caring SchoolsPage: https://www.gov.nl.ca/eecd/k12/safeandcaring/ )
Many schools in our Province have Gender/Sexuality Alliances (GSA’s) as well as Pride Clubs and Social Justice Clubs, which form an integral extra-curricular support to students in the High School System. Complimenting and reinforcing the high school curriculum and values in a direct way, these clubs provide an important support for diverse, queer and equity seeking groups in the secondary school setting. We have also looked at the importance of a Presentation like ALTAR in a cross-curricular focus. In speaking to teachers within NLESD that serve as teacher sponsors for GSA’s in our Province’s Schools, we learned about ‘Queering the Curriculum’, approaching all aspects of the curriculum from a point of view beyond the traditional heteronormative one, engaging in conversation that platforms queer voices and contributions to all subjects of study. Presenting ALTAR would be a great complementary activity through that lens, offering perspectives that relate to many areas of study in the NLESD High School Program.
We see strong ties to the Family Studies Program, particularly Human Dynamics 2201. In a society where the adolescent is barraged with messages from home, peers and the commanding influence of the media and internet, strategies are required which enable young people to make realistic interpretations of their place in the family, the broader community and in the world of work. The need for High school students, who will soon be adult members of society, to acquire effective strategies for current and future life management skills has intensified. In Human Dynamics 2201, the following outcomes are outlined: Students will acquire an understanding of issues and challenges which impact the family. The concept of family as an ecosystem is central to this component along with Definition, Functions and Variations of Family groups. In ALTAR, Eugenio is concerned with family dynamics, particularly in his relationship with his father, and relationships in general as he navigates closure from a recent breakup.
Students will develop the capability/ability to use skills, resources, and processes; and to create conditions and take actions that support individuals and the family. They will critically analyze the impact of messages about relationships portrayed in the media. It is vital to discuss the role of the media in shaping self-image. Students could discuss media images with a focus on their impact: are the images positive, negative, realistic, healthy? Are there differences between images depicting men and women? Are the images realistic or not? How do unrealistic images impact on self-esteem in young people? What types of images would be more realistic and how would they impact on self-esteem in youth? In ALTAR, the main character has been ghosted by his former boyfriend, and themes of Social Media Responsibility alongside exploration of ideas around crafting your identity relate strongly to this important discussion.
Students will be encouraged to evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and capabilities; monitor progress; and set new learning goals as an individual and as a family member. Students could consider a family practice or an activity that impacts on the physical and/or social environment and think about what they can do to contribute positively what other family members can do to contribute positively. They could then consider respect for self, respect for others, respect for family members and respect for the community. Students could consider a brief account of someone who overcame the challenges of gender, age, racial or cultural stereotyping. In ALTAR, what is Eugenio’s experience of these? Students could identify what it looks like, feels like and sounds like when others respect them. These assessments could link with the Ethical Issues 1104 or World Religions 3104 curriculum. (From NLESD Curriculum Guide Family Studies: Human Dynamics 2201, created March 2004)
Senior high school English language arts continues the philosophy and methodologies of the Intermediate English language arts curriculum. There is a drama (written script component in every core English class). The program continues to focus on students’ interaction with and creation of texts and is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to become successful language learners who think and communicate personally, creatively, and critically. This program is designed to enhance students’ ability to assume responsibility for their own learning; to interact with a wide variety of texts; respond creatively, personally and critically to what they read, view, and hear. We are fortunate to have Santiago Guzmán and Meghan Greeley on tour with ALTAR to give workshops (see below for complete description) that link to these outcomes.
Drama 2206 helps students develop foundational personal and interpersonal skills necessary for continued growth. Drama reflects distinctive realities and supports significant understanding between individuals, cultures, and generations. Performing short pieces and sharing work is encouraged; however, full play production is not the intent. The focus of Drama 2206 is to help students develop a range of skills necessary to gain confidence within a variety of dramatic roles and contexts. Students become more cognizant of the communities in which they live; build trust in a social and safe learning environment; explore their imaginations and extend their experiences; participate in reflective processes; and share ideas, solve problems, and create meaning. Through communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, students value their own as well as others’ viewpoints. They recognize how reactions and relationships are dynamic, rather than static, thereby facilitating a growing awareness of the world around them. ALTAR has obvious ties to this aspect of the High School Curriculum, raising awareness of topical issues in their province, and giving students a chance to participate in a forum of communication that promotes thoughtful response to issues that exist in their communities. (From NLESD Curriculum Guide, Language Arts/Drama 2206 2017.)
Finally, ALTAR correlates well to the course Ethics & Social Justice (which is a 1 credit course that is paired with Ethics & Philosophy). Suggested Instructional Activities for this course include experiences that involve teaching/learning activities at a site other than the classroom and activities that are appropriate for learning outcomes; activities that spark student interest, discussion, questioning, and reflect the real world and put learning in the context of the community to broaden the student’s world view. Highlighting the diverse voices of our Province is foundational to Santiago Guzmán’s work, and ALTAR in particular aligns well with the NLESD outcomes of Equity and Diversity as identified in its current Strategic Plan.