â€œOf all the arts, drama involves the participant the most fully: intellectually, emotionally, physically, verbally, and socially. As players, children assume the roles of others, and they learn about becoming more sensitive to the problems and values of persons different from themselves. At the same time, they are learning to work cooperatively, for drama is a communal art; each person is necessary to the whole.â€? Creative Drama in the Classroom and Beyond Nellie McCaslin, 2006
Introduction Drama is a universal form of human expression found in cultures all over the world and throughout history. Examples include Greek tragedies, Japanese Noh dramas, Italian commedia dell'arte, Balinese shadow puppet theatre, Native American mask rituals, and the French farce comedies. It is well-known that observation and imitation are primary mechanisms for learning throughout infancy and childhood while people enact a number of different roles during their lifetimes, or even during the course of a single day. Preparing, rehearsing, and performing for important life events (e.g., a job interview, college application, or wedding) is a natural part of the human experience in any culture. Emotion, gestures, and imitation are universal forms of communication understood in all cultures. All these prove that theatre is a basic part of human existence; it should therefore be part of the basic education. Drama provides active learning situations that explore human relationships, behaviour and events. Through drama children can express their present feelings, understanding and knowledge and are led to new feelings, new understanding and new knowledge. Drama involves the child in a process that is fun, active and intrinsically related to his/her existing experience of play and other forms of interactive and imitative behaviour.
1. What is creative drama? Drama is practice for life. ---From J. Polisini's The Creative Drama Book(1999) The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) defines drama-based learning strategies (which includes creative drama and drama-in-education) as â€œan improvisational, non-exhibitional, processcentered form of drama in which participants are guided by a leader to imagine, enact, and reflect upon human experiences.â€? Other terms for drama-based instruction include: creative drama, informal drama, creative play acting, improvisational drama, educational drama, role drama, and process drama. Drama is hands-on, experiential learning that engages mind, body, voice, and emotions to interpret and convey to others information and ideas. It can include dramatic play, story enactment, imagination journeys, theatre games, music, and dance. "Let's pretend" is the norm in creative drama class, not just a child's game. Because the emphasis in creative drama is process rather than product, teachers
have the freedom to take as much time as needed with their classes. The teacher can become a participant and let the children lead the activities rather than being guided through them. One of the most special things about creative drama is that there are no "wrong" answers - through pretending, animals can talk, kids can travel to outer space or the jungle, and the sky can be green while the grass is blue. Drama specialist, Brian Way states in Development Through Drama, “Theatre is largely concerned with communication between actors and an audience; Drama is largely concerned with experience by the participants.” Creative drama takes children’s natural world, creative play, and develops it further, using theatre techniques, to create learning experiences which are for the participants.
2. Why is creative drama important to be integrated in the classroom? Creative drama offers great benefits to the students as it offers them opportunities to: Expand self-awareness; heighten self-esteem and self-confidence by providing opportunities for students to take risks and to experiment with their own ideas. Develop imagination and exploration as students create and share in front of the others. It releases the adventurous imaginative minds of students to seek out new knowledge. Think independently and acquire sense of control over their own lives as they learn how to make decisions, solve problems and devise solutions in a safe, non-threatening situation. Work cooperatively Improve communication skills and make sense of the world around them and to begin to understand themselves and their own behaviour in relation to the behaviour of others. Express a healthy release of emotions and feelings Build social awareness and Have real fun Drama games, activities, and productions develop all of Gardner's intelligences, but are particularly strong in Spatial, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Linguistic, and Intrapersonal Intelligences. Using drama as a teaching tool activates many of the innate human
intelligences often neglected by traditional methods of teaching. Benjamin Bloom, an educational psychologist and Professor at the University of Chicago is a coauthor of Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. His focus is on developing students' problem-solving abilities and higher order thinking skills. He categorizes these as: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. Creative drama develops these skills. In creating and sharing improvisational scenes and adapting stories to performance, students need to be able to name the characters and identify the plot, improvise (restate and reorder dialogue and scenes), perform (apply and show their learning), evaluate and critique their own and each othersâ€™ scenes (analyze the parts that make up the whole), rethink their scenes, rehearse them and perform them again with changes and rewrites. Drama has been recognized in research as a tool for enhancing learning not just in language or literature based subjects but also in other subjects. Young children gain confidence in going shopping and spending money at make-believe grocery stores. History lessons come alive as students dress up as pilgrims and travel perilous land and sea masses formed with classroom furniture. Creative Drama also reaches students who face different kind of learning difficulties in the traditional school environment. By acting out the material, students who have difficulty with reading and writing can avoid struggling with pen and paper, and may expose a previously unnoticed intelligence or ability. They can gain much needed self-esteem and improve literacy skills by playing drama games. Drama is a kinesthetic (movement) teaching method that benefits those students who learn best by doing (moving their bodies).
3. What are the practical advantages of Creative Drama in the class? Creative drama activities can be organized for all ages, in all environments and cultures without any special costs. More specifically it offers: â€˘ Portability: most drama activities can be played in any location with enough room for movement. â€˘ Adaptability: games can be easily revised, shaped, and molded to the particular needs and population of any classroom or other setting. The creative possibilities are endless! Most games are easily integrated into a variety of subjects and topics. They are also easily adapted to students of any age from preschool through adults.
• Universality: most games are easily played by students of different backgrounds, cultures, or learning styles. In creative expression, each player has the opportunity to bring his or her own personal background, prior knowledge, and experiences to the activity. • Ease of use: for most games, the only requirements are a room, a teacher, and players. Preparation and equipment are minimal. • Repeatability: students enjoy playing their favorite activities again and again. Skills, confidence, and creativity improve as players replay the same activities. Also, the same players can produce very different material or results each time they play. Creative expression rarely repeats itself in the same way twice. • Minimal cost: To play drama games does not require lights, sets, costumes, props, special effects or a theatre. The only expenses are a few teaching props for classroom management, and the occasional prop or musical addition that adds texture and variety to some games. Playing drama games costs almost nothing yet provides enormous educational and personal benefits for the teachers and students.
4. What kind of drama activities can we use in class? Drama activities that can be carried out in the classroom include the following: Pantomimes are wonderful drama activities for students with speech difficulties. In pantomimes, students need to act out what they want to communicate to others using hand signs, head and body movement and facial expressions. Students who love to talk or simply talk too much learn to control their speech in pantomimes. They learn that actions sometimes do speak louder than words. Role play gets students into situations that they may never experience, they can play the role of an important king and take serious decisions or become a princess who is trapped by a dragon. Role play makes students think about others, and the 'What if I were that person' questions that they may never ask otherwise. Shadowing or mirroring helps students who lack the confidence to do something follow someone who can lead them through the motion without being threatening. Situations or scenarios enable students to interact with others in a real life manner. They learn to interact in a safe environment in situations that they may come across in later years and be better equipped to handle them. They also learn to have empathy for people who are in a similar situation.
Script writing helps students envisage the whole story and production process. Group stories are also fun to produce because students have to work together to produce their own plot, problem and solution. Even if their story lines may seem simple, students involved will have picked up something important about teamwork and communication skills. 5. Can you use creative drama in an eTwinning project? While looking for eTwinning projects with creative drama activities, I came to the conclusion that when teachers use the term â€œcreative dramaâ€?, most of the times they mean a structured theatric performance where students pick up a play and their roles, have rehearsals, choose their costumes and create the scenery to conclude with a theatrical performance in front of an audience. Having read all the above information, I hope it is clear now what creative dram is about. During the Learning Event, we will have the opportunity to try out some collaborative creative drama activities. There are many ways to integrate creative drama into your eTwinning projects and into your curriculum. For example: Choose a childrenâ€™s book and create pantomime to narrate the story with movements. Choose the right music. Ask your partner to create with your students stories for your students to act out or develop a story written by your partners using drama Create a comic book and ask your partners to use the pictures as an inspiration to play the story. Give to your students scenarios and then explore how they interact with each other. Can you notice cultural differences? Create a special situation in the partner schools. For example, send to all schools a mail from an unknown account that asks them to do something by creating videos and collaborating to find solutions. Here is an interesting example. Agree with your partner upon a music piece and ask from your students to listen to the music and use movements to describe their feelings. At the end, create a collaborative video. Make a quiz competition with pantomime. Students will video record various pantomimes and share them with their partners. They can be teamed up in groups and the group that finds the most correct answers, will be the winners. With younger students, as a way to show to your students that their partners actually exist, you can choose and send some old clothes, everyday objects etc by post and ask them to be inspired and create their own role-play.
As you can see, there are many many activities to try with your partners and I am absolutely sure that you will think even more. Creative drama can be really inspiring..
6. Resources and References Below, you can find some interesting links that I used to create this e-book as well as some additional material that you can have a look when you have time: 1. Drama Activity for infant class: 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
12. 13. 14.
http://www.curriculumonline.ie/uploadedfiles/PSC/SPHExemplarDA1.pdf Drama Activities for first classes in Primary: http://www.curriculumonline.ie/uploadedfiles/PSC/SPHExemplarDA2.pdf Drama Activities for 3rd and 4rth grades: http://www.curriculumonline.ie/uploadedfiles/PSC/SPHExemplarDA3.pdf Drama Activities http://www.curriculumonline.ie/uploadedfiles/PSC/SPHExemplarDA4.pdf Patrice Baldwin: http://www.patricebaldwin.com/ Power of Drama PPT.wmv: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzBiwy90Quc Wacky Wednesday drama activity: http://www.creativedrama.com/wacky.htm Creative Drama: http://www.susancanthony.com/resources/timsav/creativedrama.html Creative Drama in the classroom and beyond: http://www.pearsonhighered.com/samplechapter/0205451160.pdf Drama activities for the classroom: http://www.helium.com/knowledge/554372-drama-activities-for-theclassroom K-5 Guide for Drama and Theatre Integrating Drama and Language Arts:http://www.aps.edu/aps/TLS/RsrcsLinksPgs/docs/PILOT%20K5%20Guide%20for%20Drama%20and%20Theatre.pdf Creative Drama 101: http://digitaldjs.info/joomla/index.php/creative-drama101 Creative Teaching Through Drama: http://www.angelfire.com/ego/edp303/intro.htm Drama Research Journal: http://www.dramaresearch.co.uk/journal/
Conclusion To conclude with, I think we can all understand that we need creative drama to stir up creativity and enrich a students’ way of knowing where they can express feelings that words cannot convey and feel empowered! Having made clear in our mind what Creative Drama is, let’s meet in the Learning Event platform and explore different drama activities but most of all, let’s have fun!
An edition for the eTwinning LearningEvent on Creative Drama