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 impersonation”. Courtney believes also that “life is a drama” and humans are always acting and improvising. With this being said, using drama as a methodology is very beneficial to students, as according to Dales cone of experience students learn better by doing, and what better medium for this to be done than through authorization?
Hence, if teachers understand the meaning and purpose of drama when using drama as a methodology the benefits are numberless. There are two main benefits to be derived from using drama as method of education in the Primary school these are self-actualization and emotional or personal development. Firstly, Self-actualization which may be defined as fulfilling one’s individual potential allows students to work together and to share responsibility for their own development and that of others. This is the main objective of education and also continues throughout life.
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A wealth of confidence can be gained through Drama, yet behind it lies self- acceptance, which has a quiet but profound effect on self -esteem. Drama allows children to explore and express a range of emotions and by doing so it an really open up children and young people to new experiences, helping them to gain a better understanding of themselves and the world as well as their place in it. In exploring Drama, they are essentially exploring themselves their qualities and individuality, their potential and possibilities.
They are learning life skills and building up the courage and self-belief to pursue the opportunities that will meet them on their life journeys. The teachers use of drama provides opportunities to help students engage in more abstract levels of thinking in response to dramatic situations. The teacher’s primary aim is to vise dramatic situations which encourage students to engage in independent thinking in order to gain fresh insights about themselves and their world. Hence drama as a methodology creates self- actualization by improving critical thinking skills.
Through drama students are able to raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely; gather and assess relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively coming to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards, and communicate effectively with others in auguring out solutions to complex problems. Secondly, Personal or emotional development drama opens possibilities for free choice and individual decisions, therefore, it helps the individual to explore many aspects of the world and even his feelings and emotion.
Acting roles from different situations, time periods and cultures promotes compassion and tolerance for others’ feelings and viewpoints. Using drama as a method of learning and teaching experiences in primary schools assists children to work co- operatively as all students have to work together in order to achieve a moon goal, which is to successfully complete the given task. They (the students) have to share their personal ideas and interpretations with others as well as accept the ideas and interpretations of others.
Drama may also act as a catalyst for the establishment of interpersonal relationships outside Of the classroom as drama help students discover that they know more than they thought they knew; lead students to see the real world more clearly in light of what is revealed by the imagined one; help students capture more and more of what is implicit in any experience and helps students develop a Lorraine for a variety of personalities and ideas. Drama is an art form as well as a subject, a practical activity and an intellectual discipline.
A great strength of drama is in its appeal to various learning styles. Through engagement in the subject, pupils apply their imaginations and draw upon their own personal experiences. Their increasing knowledge and understanding of how the elements of drama work enables them to effectively shape, express and share their ideas, feelings and responses, making use of language, space, symbol, allegory and metaphor. Students enjoy the activities, work together in groups and share their creative expressions.
Even the shyest students are able to benefit from drama when they take on a new role and imagine themselves to be someone else. Drama as a subject will result in pupils learning about dramatic form and the content it explores. Drama is also a subject in which students with mild general learning disabilities can be actively engaged and challenged through a motivating and meaningful tasks without the perceived stigma often associated with differentiated tasks in other subject areas.
In drama there IS not a right way but a multiplicity of possible interpretations and representations of a given theme. This provides scope for students who have many and diverse learning styles and needs, to work to their individual strengths. Recording students’ attainment and progress in drama can be easily done. Learning outcomes can be assessed through careful observation of students in drama activities in conjunction with written or other expressions of their work generated through the drama itself or through subsequent reflection on drama activities.