Drama Lesson: Thought Tracking

The purpose of the lesson is to develop pupils’ sense of empathy and to show how empathy can help us to not only to understand other people but could help to resolve a conflict

Two different photographs may be used at different times

  • a parade inNorth Belfastwhere a Protestant band played anti Catholic song outside St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Ardoyne.
  • a group of Catholics reacted to this incident.

It is important to focus on the empathy skills and not just the sectarian nature of the incident and the reaction which followed it ..


  • The word ‘empathy’ is written on the board
  • Pupils discuss what it means .
  • suggestions are recorded
  • teacher explains that empathy helps us to understand how other people feel
  • Pupils then
    • listen to a poem. (Resource 1 Don’t Laugh at Me Norman Wisdom);
    • or watch the song downloaded from You Tube(link on Resource sheet)
    • write some words sentences from the poem/song which they think describes how the character in the poem is feeling.
    • use pictures to represent the character’s thoughts
    • share their ideas with the person next to them
    • look for similarities and differences between each others ideas.

Teacher ends the launch by checking that the class understand what empathy looks like/what it feels like and what it may sound like in the character.


  • One picture is chosen from Resource 2 and teacher explains that
  • Working in pairs pupils will use the picture to try to empathise with and communicate the feelings of different characters.
  • each group has a few minutes to look closely at the picture and to choose three or four people to focus on and to think about
  • what they might be thinking/ doing?
  • What do their facial expressions say about their feelings?
  • Which words or phrases might describe how he/she is feeling at the time the picture was taken?
  • Pupils then volunteer or are invited to come to the front of the class and take up the positions of the characters they have chosen and to stand or pose exactly as their character was in the picture.
  • The rest of the class can direct the scene and could suggest ways to improve the positions of the characters until they feel it is a good representation of what they see in the picture.
  • After a few minutes teacher asks the children to relax and then take up their positions again. This time the children in character will speak out loud about his or her feelings at that particular moment.
  • The rest of the class asks the characters questions about their feelings and choices they have made.


  • How did they feel about speaking out loud the thoughts and feelings of another person?
  • Did this help them to understand what someone else would feel and think at important moments?
  • Do they ‘empathise’ a bit more about how people can be affected by a situation?