Teacher's Profile: Daniel Pearton
The Performing Arts is a particularly valued subject for many students at YCIS Beijing. The confidence that can be gained from exposure to this class can help transform even the shyest of students into powerful public speakers and performers. In this edition of YCIS Beijing Teacher Profiles, we chat with Drama and Music Teacher Daniel Pearton about his passion for drama, teaching experience, and advice for Secondary School students.
Please describe your role and responsibilities at the school:
I work in the Performing Arts Department at YCIS Beijing teaching Drama and Music. I teach Drama to year 9 – 12 students as well as junior PA class. I am also responsible for the yearly musicals for both Primary and Secondary students.
What do you find particularly rewarding about working in your role at YCIS Beijing?
Working with the students on the yearly musicals. The students here are very committed and passionate about their involvement in the productions. This year we have had two musicals: our Secondary school production, ‘Back to the 80s,’ and our Primary school production ‘Captain Louie Jnr,’ which we will be performing on April 19. This year our Secondary musical was the largest group of students to participate in a production ever at YCIS Beijing. It was highly rewarding and the students learned a great deal out of working as a team to produce such a great show.
How should a student particularly interested in drama pursue their passion?
They should get involved in as many extra curricular activities as possible and to take drama as a subject in IGCSE and Theatre in IB. Here at YCIS Beijing we offer the major yearly productions as well as many smaller performances. We had a group perform at the British Ball in an Alice in Wonderland performance. In IGCSE Drama, the students perform a group scripted performance, devised group performances, and solo monologues. In IB, the students devise performances and also learn about all aspects of theatre.
We are also taking our Drama students to the ‘International Schools Theatre Association Drama Festival’, which is being held in Beijing this year. The students will be given the experience of working with other students both from around Beijing and internationally. This experience is lead by professional international theatre practitioners and will give the students a valuable learning experience around how to create theatre.
For our Primary school students, they need to also take advantage of performing in their class assemblies and Chinese performances and in their PA class. This year they are spending a semester focusing on drama. This is the perfect opportunity to learn acting and theatre techniques.
Aside from acting and performance ability, what benefits do you think drama classes provide to students?
Drama offers students with the experience of working as a group to present work in an artistic way. Students learn confidence and presentation skills that will be of great benefit to them in the future. Drama is all about storytelling; it’s exciting to present the stories of others or those the students write in class. Storytelling has always been a major part of any culture throughout history and our students are getting the opportunity to explore stories and the best ways to present them to an audience.
What is your most memorable experience teaching students at YCIS Beijing?
It would have to be the production of ‘Back to the 80’s’ this year. It was an extremely rewarding experience for all, and the students did an exceptional job. It is always a huge undertaking when producing and directing a musical; however, I always feel exceptionally proud of the students once they are up on stage performing. Once the band began to play and the students began entering the stage and performing, I felt extremely proud of the hard work that had gone into the production. I was given the same opportunities whilst at school in Australia and it brings me much joy to offer the students here at YCIS Beijing with the same opportunities. Theatre is a powerful and rewarding experience and these are some of the schooling moments that will be remembered by these students for the rest of their lives. At the end of the production, everyone involved has a great sense of achievement and they become great friends with each other throughout their theatre journey. That’s what makes my job rewarding!
If you could give one piece of general advice for Secondary School students, what would it be?
Take advantage of all the possible opportunities that are offered here at YCIS Beijing. We are constantly looking for new opportunities that will enrich the learning of our students and taking part in these will add depth to your life. Do something new, so if you haven’t been involved in a production in the past, then now is your time. Stepping out of your ‘comfort zone’ is always exciting and will bring lasting memories.
Click the links to learn more about YCIS Beijing’s Performing Arts Department and find out when the next performances are happening!