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Drama is the act of using the imagination to become someone or something other than yourself. It can take one any place to any period of time. It is only limited by the imagination, the participants’ fear of risking, or the leader or teacher’s set limitations. Richard Courtney, a professional in the area of drama in education defines drama as, “The human process whereby imaginative thought becomes action, drama is based on internal empathy and identification, and leads to external 6 impersonation” (vii). Courtney believes also that “life is a drama.” Humans are always acting and improvising. When we meet someone for the first time, we improvise our conversation. Life has no script written for us, however, we can use role-play to practice the anticipated situation
“Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand” (An Old Native American Proverb). I remember reading this quote at some point during my college education and thinking that there was much truth to it. Too often I sat through lecture after lecture wondering how I was going to remember all this new information. That was until I took my required course. This professor (whether he knew it or not) taught us using drama. The entire class was involved in a simulation of the government, in which we took on roles of real people. In school, social studies was never my favorite subject. I think that it may have bored me so much that I never bothered trying to understand it. For the first time, I was involved in learning social studies. From this point on, I decided that when I teach my elementary students, I would involve them. I learned how I would involve my students after taking several communication and theatre arts courses. A study by Kaaland-Wells in 1994 showed that “teachers who had taken a college drama course were more likely than the others to feel that it should be a part of all teacher training, and they were more likely to view it as effective”.
My passion for children and teaching inspired me to do further research into this method. I wanted to reach the students as my professor did for 2 me and bring them to a higher level of understanding of the topics I teach. My belief is that knowledge is power and students should love to learn. While I feel that all of the arts can be influential learning tools, drama is especially powerful. Betty Jane Wagner, an educator who has worked closely with and shared many ideas with Dorothy Heathcote, an expert in the field of drama in education, asserts her opinion of drama. “Drama is powerful because its unique balance of thought and feeling makes learning exciting, challenging relevant to real-life concerns, and enjoyable”.
As educators, if we are not providing a fun and meaningful learning environment for our children to learn, then we are not doing our jobs. Research indicates that using drama in the classroom as a means of teaching helps students learn academically, socially, and developmentally. “The use of drama as a tool for teaching is not new. Historically, both drama and theatre have long been recognized as potent means of education and indoctrination. The ways they are used today, however, are new, and they differ in a number of respects from the ways they have been used in the past”.
Arts advocates and educators have recently started to explore the use of drama as an integrated way of learning the curriculum. I strongly believe that the arts should be employed in every classroom. It can reach students who otherwise couldn’t be reached, and challenge students who have already grasped the concepts. Drama provides a fun means of learning. It brings the affective back into the classroom, an institute where emotions and learning are categorically divided. Recent brain research proves that emotions are linked with learning. When we connect to the concept emotionally, we will have a better understanding of it. When we teach using the arts we are linking prior experiences with new stimuli. Teaching using drama brings emotion and learning together.
There will be two rounds. Participants selected in the first round (COMPETITION) will perform in the second round (STAGE SHOW).