Is Drama a Valid Pedagogical Method to Use for Teaching? - Education Essay Example

Is Drama a Valid Pedagogical Method to use for Teaching? - Is Drama a Valid Pedagogical Method to Use for Teaching? introduction?? Table of Contents Outlinepage 2 Abstractpage 3 Introductionpage 4 What is drama? pages 5-6 Why use drama in classpages 6-7 – Role of teacherpage 7 – Students communicationpage7 Theoretical frameworkpages 8-11 – Brain researchpages 8-10 – Hands on learningpage 10 – Emotions and learningpage 11 How to use drama in a classroompages 12-13 – Mimepages 12-13 – Role play and Simulationpage 13 Conclusionpage 14 Bibliographypages 15-16 Outline Title: Is drama a valid pedagogical method to use for teaching?

Abstract: 200-250 words to summarize what the essay will be about. Introduction and Thesis: I. An opening of the research topic. Few sentences to open the topic to the reader. II. “Drama is a valid pedagogical method for reinforcing traditional teaching and can also be used to engage students who traditional methodologies fail to communicate with. ” Paragraph 1: What is drama? I. Drama is a way of life. A definition of the topic and then it would continue to what drama actually brings to life and where we can see it in our daily life. II.

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Paragraph 2: Why se drama in a classroom? I. Role of teacher: what is the role of the teacher, and the different types of teachers. II. Student’s communication: do students react differently to the various teachers? How do students communicate in a fun and in a boring lesson? What is the difference? III. Paragraph 3: Theoretical framework I. Brain research II. hands on learning III. Emotions and learning How does the human brain work? How does the drama tie into the human brain by looking at emotions and learning. Why drama is useful? Paragraph 4:

How to use drama in a classroom (techniques which are more often used) I. Mime II. Roleplay and Simulation All these sections would explain what they are, how it is used and their effect within a non theatre class. Conclusion: Summarizing basic key ideas throughout the essay to remind the reader again. Bibliography: At the end of the essay Abstract Is drama in Education useful in classe or is it simply a waste of time? Do children learn better through a more entertaining form of teaching or is it better to use ‘traditional’ methods?

Drama is a valid pedagogical method for reinforcing traditional teaching and can be used to engage students who traditional methodologies fail to communicate with. Additionally drama techniques are useful resources for teaching English (EFL) as a foreign language but it can also be used in various subjects for any ages. The discipline of English as a foreign language (EFL) can be difficult for some beginner students, however using drama as a tool in teaching can make the lesson be easier, more interactive and friendly.

Used effectively, it allows for improvement in language skills such as: reading, writing, communication and at the same time it allows children to accept new challenges and become more creative. Students stay motivated as drama elements and learning activities provide an atmosphere that is entertaining and enhances or augments the experience of studying a foreign language. Children are thereby motivated to learn as the environment they are in is not intimidating but is rather entertaining. Motivated students want to come to class, have a positive attitude and learn more which is, surely a, pedagogical victory.

Is Drama a Valid Pedagogical Method to use for Teaching? Introduction Drama is a valid pedagogical method for reinforcing traditional teaching and can also be used to engage students who traditional methodologies fail to communicate with. As a Native American proverb says; “Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand”1. This is what using drama as a tool is all about, it brings the effectiveness and immediacy back into the classroom setting. Also has the benefit of connecting two separate categories into one area such as emotion and learning.

Recent research proves that emotions are linked with learning, that when we connect to the subject or topic emotionally, we will also have a better understanding of it. As Dorothy Heathcote states: “Drama is powerful because its unique balance of thought and feeling makes learning exciting, challenging relevant to real-life concerns and enjoyable”2. Therefore it is important that teachers provide a fun and a successful learning environment for children. One way of doing so is through drama techniques as getting the children involved gives them a key role in developing their education.

This paper will show the strength of using drama to teach students by having a close look at how children learn, which drama methods are efficient for teaching and how to approach these techniques to create an enriched classroom environment and get progressive results from the children’s learning. 1. Special Dictionary, Native American Proverb, 2005-2012. 2. Dorothy, Heathcote, Drama in the Education of Teachers, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1975. Heathcote explains the effects of using drama tools in a class and the different areas of learning drama can help to make the learning more enjoyable and effective for the students.

What is Drama? Drama is the act of one’s imagination where they can become someone or something different. The only way imagination can be limited is when a teacher sets the exact parameters. As Richard Courtney states: “Human process is where imaginative thought transforms action, where drama is based on internal identification, and leads to impersonation”3. He also believes that life is drama by which he means that humans act in everyday life. For example our daily conversations are not planned, what we say and do is spontaneous and therefore it is acting.

When looking at drama through a classroom setting, it is clear that children enrich their imagination, their skills to discuss, develop their critical thinking and advance their language vocabulary and structure. This is done by a form of dramatic playing which Gavin Bolton explains; “Dramatic playing is categorized by a high degree of spontaneity as teacher and students work to create a fictional world in where they undertake roles to explore issues related to them”4. This is visible already at a young age as drama is a natural, instinctive form of learning.

Children grow up pretending to be fire fighters, princesses, doctors and other characters. These children use dramatic playing as it allows them to observe the world around them and they learn to capture and pay attention to specific details. They try different ways of acting; take on diverse roles, challenges and which in turn prepares them for real life and growing up. It allows children to explore life without experiencing failure. It also helps the child’s imagination develop and the way understanding and language can be advanced is through using Stanislavski’s system called the magic if 5. 3.

Richard, Courtney, Process Drama and Multiple Literacies “Addressing social, cultural, and ethical issues”, Reed Elsevier Inc. , 2006 . He looks into how drama uses various identifications and links them to imagination to create an action. 4. Gavin, Bolton, Gavin, Drama in education: “Children and drama”, New York, 1981, E. 142-155. He explores various roles and situations to portray the right image and emotion. 5. Perviz, Sawoski, The Stanislavskis System ”Growth & Methodology”, Second Edition, E. 7. How does the magic if help the actor understand their role to make it more realistic and persuasive.

The magic if is when actors are developing their characters they ask themselves what if I was drowning how would I react to that in real life? This system can be used in reality as a person in everyday events have to put them self into situations where they never were in before and they have to determine how they would to react and what they would say. It can also be used within the classroom area, as children can think more about what actions they take, which they can learn through various perspectives and settings. It is all done through an entertaining yet educational and helpful approach.

Why use drama in a class? Drama was a form of entertainment but through time drama has reached its audience through forms of teaching. The ideas of using drama for teaching are not new, however the western world has yet to accept the use of it for elementary schools. Even though recent brain and educational research has caused drama in education to rise in popularity among schools. The main reason that schools accept drama in education as a pedagogical method is by what it brings to the classroom by its scientific and theoretical practice.

Since dramatic play is so innate in children, it is then carried on to elementary years. It is what children are very good at and enjoy. Jane Wagner states that: “Children bring with them to the classroom the universal human ability to play, to behave, “as if” ; many children spontaneously engage in such dramatic play from as young an age as ten months”6. Therefore it is easier to bring drama in education into class as children use aspects of theatre in their daily lives’ from a very young age, hence not being strangers to the topic. . Jane, Wagner & Dorothy Heathcote, Drama as a Learning Medium, Washington, D. C. : National Education Association, 1976. She observes the innate behavior of children at a young age and how theatre can be useful for them. Instead they welcome it as they are acquainted with it already. Because of this, the children can learn easier by being approached through a familiar and pleasurable way. The way to make drama effective in class is through the role of the teacher and the classroom communication.

Firstly, looking at the role of the teacher it is important that when a teacher uses drama in a class that they plan efficiently in order to make sure that what they do will reach a broader surface area in education for the children and the goal is to teach the core curricular areas using drama. There are four ways of planning that a teacher should take into consideration, “ General planning context for drama in the classroom… The content of the drama… The integration of drama with other curriculum areas… Teaching drama to multi-class groups…”7.

It is vital that teachers know exactly what they need for their class, and this depends on what level of children they have, and what kind of class they are in order to incorporate the right use of techniques to make the dramatic aspects more effective when in use. Lastly, every teacher needs to know which theatre aspect is needed under what learning circumstance and how to approach it in a way that will have a positive impact on the students. Another way of making sure drama is used effectively is through the classroom communication.

The way this works is by the teacher observing the classroom’s “…environment, atmosphere, students results and their behavior and attitudes”8. From these areas the teacher is then able to adjust their plan depending on the results they can see from their students and from observing them they can adjust the drama techniques to either fit a lower or higher level or simply change the amount of entertainment used as some children only need the theatre aspects as a warm up and not throughout the entire lesson. 7. Primary School Curriculum, “ Drama Arts Education: Teacher Guidelines”, Government of Ireland, 1999.

This is a complete guide for teachers who want to use drama in education in their classrooms in order to create a more effective learning system. 8. Primary School Curriculum, “ Drama Arts Education: Teacher Guidelines”, Government of Ireland, 1999. Theoretical Framework Theoretical framework focuses on the scientific and theoretical aspects of how children learn. It looks at the hand coordination, emotions and language. Drama is viewed as a way of learning; it provides a solid foundation for a child’s development. Lev Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner said that “…a child’s growth is dependent on interaction and imagination…”9.

Vygotsky believed that children develop through their personality and that the human personality is linked to its creative side and educative as an approach to instructions is the way that students can interact with the environment and explore different objects and other personalities. The best way to approach a child’s development is using valuable methods that correspond with their individual development. This is done by using methods which are not only verbal and logical but as well more creative. Howard Gardner called this method intelligence.

The intelligence includes “…visual, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, logic and linguistic, naturistic & existential…”10. These intelligences provide the main foundations for various art forms. Where most students will not only communicate and express themselves but they will gain a tool that will allow them to learn almost any subject more effectively. When looking at Gardner’s intelligences there is a strong link with theatre. Therefore using his theories it is evident that drama is a highly effective way of reaching students which have problems being reached through traditional teaching methods.

Drama is a form of learning by doing something physically. Children do not have the ability to act out situations in their heads; they have to use physical actions. Drama helps children to evolve their imagination as they reflect on experiences, and this helps to develop a student’s ability to act out thoughts in their minds which later on is a useful skill as they can organize thoughts and problems that they have in everyday life. It as well develops social skills. 9. Jerome, Bruner, Introduction in Vygotsky,” Thought & Language”, Cambridge MA:MIT Press, 1962.

They focused their research on how children develop through the use of various studies and environmental factors. 10. Howard, Gardner, Multiple Intelligence Theory, Washington DC, 1996. Discusses the use of art forms and the way the help a child to learn more efficiently. In order to learn children must feel safe and comfortable and the engagement within drama builds up trust and communication between students and teachers. These are skills that are crucial in life. To really understand how drama has a positive impact on learning it is important to look at how the brain works.

Recent brain research shows how “…arts are able to tap into areas of experience and knowledge which are as significant to the development of learning skills”11 . Children learn best by visualizing, some by sound and some by kinetics. However most students use a combination of all three areas. Using drama, teachers would apply all three methods of teaching within the classroom setting and this would allow kids to grasp new information. Brain research has allowed us to explain many aspects of learning and behavior in the classroom and because of these teachers are able to adapt their ways of teaching to suite their student’s needs.

When teaching, it is important to connect new materials with the students past experience because it is simultaneous excitation that helps learn. Simultaneous excitation is “…multiple pathways and patterns which create growth of neuron connections, thus increasing the potential of the brain to learn”12. The brain is like a storage, it can store and save information that has been gathered over time and it can retrieve it any time needed. Therefore, teachers that have verbal lectures they present their students with many facts and numbers.

When students write a test from it, it can lead to negative results. On the other hand, in regular lessons which include drama the child’s prior knowledge together with newly learned information will be activated. Due to these practical learning methods higher test scores will be achieved. 11. Juliana, Saxton, & Carole, Miller, Into the Story “Language in Action through Drama”, Hanover, Portsmouth, 2004. They were looking at the close relationship of how the human brain works when looking at teaching. 12. James, Lawson, Brain Based Learning, San Diego State University, 2001.

Looks at the structure of the brain and how different parts work. Students then reflect on what they have just learned “Students do not just act in drama- they also reflect on the meanings of actions as they consider the consequences for different people. Reflection is dialogic when the students evaluate actions from the point of view of a person affected “13. So it as well creates repetition of the information and the child can remember better. An effective method for teaching is hands on meaning tactical and kinesthetic learning.

It is more effective due to the fact that it involves the child using their hands to work and not only their ears for listening. For kinesthetic learners they need hands-on activities in order to grasp concepts. Many of them have difficulties learning in a traditional classroom due to role and drill methods. On the other hand, drama can be very beneficial to special needs students since this method involves movement, creativity. Students can be creatively involved through drama and they will then take the existing information and create something new with it which in turn the student will easily comprehend and retain easier.

Another reason why hands on learning is easier is because brain research has proven that “…children cannot maintain the extensive attention span that some teachers require of their young students”14. “Research shows that “A normal attention span is 3 to 5 minutes per year of a child’s age. Therefore, a 2-year-old should be able to concentrate…at least 6 minutes, …child entering primary school should be able to concentrate for at least 15-20 minutes”15. This shows that the student’s attention is lost unless they are somehow involved in the learning process.

Drama as a tool allows students to learn without losing their attention span as the activities allow for a pause where the child uses the knowledge they got in a less formal method. 13. Brian, Edmiston, What Have You Traveled, “A teacher- researcher study of structuring drama for reflection and learning”, The Ohio State University, 1991. He looks at how drama aspects help with learning and reflecting in various areas. 14. Eric, Jensen, Brain Based Teaching, Jensen Learning, 2010. Focuses on a children’s span to pay attention in a traditional classroom setting. 15. B. D. Schmitt, M. D. , “Your Child’s Health,” Bantam Books.

Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems. Focuses on research about child’s attention span throughout various ages. Another effective method, other than hands on learning is emotions and learning. During drama techniques, students use all their senses so they can emotionally tie to the subject and because of this, students are then encouraged to take on parts where they can experiment with various emotions which are then portrayed through their different roles. Emotions can be in a form of positive or negative past experiences, because facts and information are relevant for the student in order to feel the role they are meant to be.

For example if children were learning about a historical president and their life they could act out scenes using their existing knowledge together with the information from their teacher. They would then develop a better understanding of the past and the role of the president had in its history. The students would also be entertained and they would certainly remember the lesson in more detail as if they had experienced it rather than having it explained using traditional methods.

Using this method, it is important to incorporate all of Gardner’s intelligence learning styles such as; visual, kinesthetic logic and many others in order to be able use drama as a teaching tool in lessons. Therefore teachers who use drama in the classroom are approaching hands on learning and emotions in order to approach learning effectively as various parts of the brain are being used. Dee Dickinson states: “The arts provide rich multisensory experiences that engage the whole mind, body and emotional system”16.

These methods and experiences enrich the students learning and understanding even if a child has learning disabilities as then the teacher can focus on areas where the student is better at and use it to the child’s advantage. For example; if a child has ADHD, the best approach is “Hands-on, tactile teaching approaches in which a child is allowed movement work best for kinesthetic learners”17. Therefore using drama as a tool can benefit any kind of student at any age as the teacher can use different areas in order to suit the child’s needs and bring them up in education. 6. Dee, Dickinson, Learning Through the Arts, “New Horizons for Learning”, Seattle, 2002. Focuses on the major impact of emotions throughout learning and the arts. 17. Low, Keath, Understanding Your ADHD Child’s Learning Style, “Helping Children with ADD or ADHD Learn”, July 10, 2011. Focuses on children disabilities and what teaching approach would best benefit them. How to use drama in a classroom? There are many different ways that drama can be used in a classroom setting.

Various drama activities can be altered to fit the specific theme or topic that the teacher wishes; as well as different selections for different ages. In the end, every drama activity is suitable for using in an educational area and it uses all aspects such as emotions, hands on learning, repetition and entertainment so the student can get the maximum learning out of the lesson. The advantages of using drama in a classroom for English as a second language are that it is a “…language in the class that uses drama activities which are explored, tried out and practiced in meaningful situations.

It helps to extend, retain and reinforce vocabulary and sentence structure. ”18. Drama improves oral communication, creates a better and easier understanding of the topic, develops social skills and keeps the children entertained while educating them. There are two effective and most used drama methods that teachers use for teaching English as a second language and even other subjects. The first one is mime. Mime consists of using movement, expressions and body gestures without using words in order to act out a role. There are many activities that can be done using mimes.

An example is the game is called charades, the students receive a word or an image of an animal or an object and they have to use body gestures whether it is the entire body (image 1. 0) or just their hands (image 1. 1) to act out what they have and the other students have to guess what it is. 18. Wan Yee, Sam, Drama in Teaching English as a Second Language, “ A Communication Approach”, University of Malaya, 1990. She is an ESL teacher and looks at effective ways to approach students in those classes using theatre aspects. Image 1. 0Image 1. 1 The other effective method is role play and simulation.

Role play and simulation is the changing of ones behavior to take on a role whether real or imaginary. This is done by adopting a role that children can take on and try out different eras, locations. It also allows the teacher to use various themes across the curriculum so that children can use new and old knowledge. An example of using role play and simulation in the classroom is after a teacher conveys information and facts. They can then split the class into groups, give them an image or tell them a scene by saying who will be what and where they are.

The children then have to use the given information and their knowledge from the lesson to improvise a scene to the rest of the class. Other groups can use the scene as a reminder of what has been taught in the lesson as they are seeing the facts in a visual context. Conclusion Drama is a valid pedagogical method for reinforcing traditional teaching and can also be used to engage students who traditional methodologies fail to communicate with. In order to engage the students and create a better learning atmosphere, it is important to look at four different areas which then link in order to provide a better educating system.

Firstly, it is important to see what an effect drama has on students. As drama activities are introduced to a child at a very young age. As they take on various roles while playing. Therefore using drama as a tool will be an innate process for students to take on and use. Secondly, when using drama as a tool it is firstly vital that the teacher understands who they are working with. Whether the child is special needs or not. After they can plan their work according to the classes needs as well as the curriculum which is handed to them by the school.

Secondly it is useful to observe the classroom atmosphere and environment as sometimes a teacher needs to change their plan depending on how the children are reacting and behaving. Thirdly, it is good to take into consideration how hands on learning and emotions can have a key role in a child’s learning progress. The main aspect is to use Gardner’s methods of intelligence. This is useful as the teacher can then come up with activities which will use various areas such as kinesthetic, sound, visual, movement and many others in order to convey the lessons information more effectively or to even use it as a revision tool.

Lastly, all these aspects need to be put together and used in a classroom setting. The two most used activities are mime and charades. In these activities the students get to use drama as a tool to learn more on the topic. This is done by getting the children to work together, move around, improvise, us various objects as well as it gets them to use not only the new information they gathered but as well their prior knowledge. To conclude, drama is an effective tool to use in a classroom setting in order to communicate with the children at an efficient level.

While traditional methodologies tend to fail within a classroom setting for various reasons, such as; the student’s attention span being lower at a young age, children with special needs require lessons that focus on various areas and not just verbal. Therefore using drama as a teaching tool can help children with their needs as well as keep them awake during lessons which bring the overall atmosphere higher. If more schools were to implement this system in their curriculum instead of just teachers that want to use it. It would create a more efficient learning system as using drama as a tool reaches to various audiences and ages.

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