It’s important for children to be able to put themselves in the position of characters from books in order to infer what their emotions might be, and conscience ally is perfect for developing this skill.
Used at pivotal points in a story, conscience ally can be employed to help children make predictions about what might happen next - though this works best when the dramatic focus is chosen carefully. We see, for example, that it’s not effective if children already know the outcome of the dilemma they are exploring.
To illustrate best practice, Ruth picks out some of her favourite books that raise issues which can be explored with conscience ally - including options for KS1 and KS2. Stories such as We Found A Hat, Skellig and Black Dog all have compelling dilemmas and we’re shown the differing views that children might express when discussing these.
As conscience ally is a form of debate, Ruth shares a collection of sentence stems that will aid children in offering a considered viewpoint. The outcome of all this activity is that children are able to externalise the reader’s voice and use this to make accurate inferences and predictions about a text.
Presentation Slides - Download
Former headteacher Ruth is now an independent education advisor, supporting schools, trusts and other organisations across the UK. She is currently chair of the National Association of Advisors in English (NAAE), an associate consultant for the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and a member of The United Kingdom Literacy Association's (UKLA) awards and members committee.
About the Course
Ruth demonstrates a range of drama and role-play teaching approaches for Year 1-Year 6, showing how important drama is in connecting children to narrative by eliciting personal responses as well as supporting children in developing a deeper understanding of the relationships between characters, making inferences from their actions.