Learning

ScooNews Webinar: Explore The Power Of Puppets in Education With Sangya Ojha 

Apoorva Chakravarty
ScooNews Webinar: Explore The Power Of Puppets in Education With Sangya Ojha 

ScooNews organized a one of a kind webinar with Sangya Ojha, a Puppeteer from Mumbai. Sangya is the co-founder of The Puppetarians and has been a Puppeteer for Sesame Street India (also known as Galli Galli Sim Sim, on-air Cartoon Network and POGO) since its inception and has also played the character of Anchoo and Elmo—the famous international muppet characters. Interestingly, she has been trained under some well-known legends from the Puppet world like Martin P. Robinson, Charles Tuthill, Nyanga and Noel MacNeal.

Here are the excerpts from the conversation Sangya had with more than three thousand ScooNews educators from across India about Puppets, the art of Puppetry and the positive impact it can have on children and adults. The views expressed below are her own.

The art of Puppetry

Anything can be a puppet! Puppetry is not a one-way street, not just the puppeteer but the audience gets involved, too. Since the puppeteer only gives certain sounds and gestures to the puppet, it's actually the audience’s minds that are at work the whole time interpreting the story.

Everyone can be a Puppeteer

Puppetry does not need to be professional or one does not need to master the art to entertain themselves and the audience or maybe send a message. Puppetry has been integrated into our lives since childhood when children would play with their dolls or other playthings or just shadow puppets on the walls, it's inanimate coming to life.

For learning, puppets are very useful because when we are having fun, it becomes easier for us to retain the information. Even when we know that the puppet is not real, it is easy to invest oneself with it. Well, that’s the power of Puppetry.

Kinds of puppets

There are different kinds of puppets and Puppetry, for example, Finger Puppets, Shadow Puppets, Glove Puppet, String Puppet, Rod Puppets, Muppet Puppet, etc. Sock Puppets, amongst them, are very interesting and also easy to make and work with. They are a good way of getting introduced into Puppetry and performing for children. It does not take as much time to make Sock Puppets as other big ones and the technique of performing them is comparatively easier, too. 

Making a Sock Puppet

  • Take a colourful sock
  • Put it on your hand: put your 4 fingers towards the toe and thumb towards the heel so as to make a mouth when you close your hand
  • On the puppet’s face, use small round white balls for its eyes just below the knuckles
  • Use black dots/bindis for the eyeballs and place them in the centre front so it faces the audience.
  • Use some colourful wool for its hair just behind the eyes
  • A pom-pom ball for the nose can be used
  • Using double-sided tape for sticking everything on the sock puppet is a good idea
  • If infant clothing is available, put them on the puppet to give it a more realistic feel

Working a Puppet

  • Give your puppet a name, age, whimsical characteristics, and voice
  • Imagine the puppet before you want to play for the children
  • Practice lip-syncing with the puppet’s mouth moments
  • Practice the voice you want to go with it
  • Decide what message or knowledge you want your puppet to impart on the kids

Voicing a Puppet

  • Do not do random hand movements for talking of the puppet
  • Sync the movement with your speech
  • Move the thumb in order to only move the lower jaw of the puppet so it feels real
  • Thumb moves once with every syllable
  • Stand in front of the mirror and practice
  • Use voice modulation to make it interesting

Using puppets in schools

  1. Making and performing a puppet is only for a teacher to do. Children can do it along with them and learn. It is a great way of sending a message to your students, especially during a current crisis like COVID-19. Explain to them how they can stay home, stay safe and practice social distancing for when the lockdown is over.
  1. Puppetry can also be used to teach otherwise important lessons like Unsafe Touch or Mental health-related topics, etc. The art of Puppetry is not only for younger kids but for everyone and it is very easy to address any kind of topics via puppets. The topic will not become personal and intrusive for children since it is very clear to them that the puppet is inanimate. At the same time, being impersonal, it will still give a strong memorable message without putting anyone at the stop.
  1. Apart from the current issues and topics going on, Puppetry is also a big tool to remind children that it is not compulsory to choose an invariable field of work when they grow up. It tells them that they can choose to become anything and everything that they desire or feel a pull towards. Puppetry can be used to motivate them, make them learn, provide information and what not!

 

Enjoyed these playful learning tips from our favourite Puppeteer, Sangya Ojha? Share your reviews with us on editor@scoonews.com

Those of you who could not catch the Live session, check out this link of ScooNews’s FB page - https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1148012778879617.

Reach The Puppetarians, co-Founded by Sangya Ojha, at http://www.thepuppetarians.com/home.php

 

  • Learning

    We asked teachers who's their favourite school teacher, and why!

    Read more
  • Learning

    Find out 10 YouTube channels to pass on to your students of all...

    Read more
  • Learning

    This Thai teacher took matters of informing his students and...

    Read more
  • Learning

    When asked how to help children perform better learning, these...

    Read more
  • Learning

    Here are some tips to engage children while stuck at home, these...

    Read more
  • Learning

    ScooNews brings to you the stories of women, who’ve used ‘peer...

    Read more
  • Learning

    ScooNews brings to you the stories of women, who’ve used ‘peer...

    Read more
  • Learning

    One of the most common decision areas faced by parents is whether...

    Read more
  • Learning

    Technology will take over a significant portion of the education...

    Read more
  • Learning

    From informal play-based learning recommended by the National ECCE...

    Read more
arw_top