I was drawn into teaching straight after college and even though I did not have all the necessary qualifications I learnt on the job. So, although my theoretical knowledge is not too great practically, I’ve done well to sustain as a teacher. In this series Education Matters- I share my views and thoughts to hopefully spark some discussions on teaching and education in general.
I started my career as a kindergarten teacher but my love for teaching grew when I was given the opportunity to teach Speech and Drama. It would be a subject I would love to teach and one that the students loved learning.
We often place importance on subjects like Math, Science, and Social Studies for we believe that is where careers are made. Speech and Drama with its fun element often does not translate as any actual learning taking place. A drama class is often chaotic, bizarre, and downright silly sometimes but its benefits are far reaching than just the classroom. Students are learning but the effect of the learning is often not seen in the drama class itself but in other areas of life and into other subject classrooms as well.
Let me outline ten benefits of Speech and Drama in Education when a child is engaged in a Speech and Drama class: –
In about any classroom learning children are required to be spontaneous while answering questions, maybe even asking questions and in their creativity. Various theatre games encourage spontaneity and this translates to any classroom. I have often had teachers tell me that students are responding more in class, drama helps them to think on their feet.
2] Overcome inhibitions
There is no right and wrong in a drama class and once students are comfortable with their self-expressions and lose their inhibitions, the classroom becomes full of wit, humor and yes lots of drama. A student should know that they are free to express anything without judgement being placed on them. It can get tricky when senior students create skits with sexual innuendos but you know that drama has given them a space to be free of any judgement.
3] Encouraging them to speak freely
A drama class allows a student to speak freely and not hesitate. They may not have the perfect sentences or grammar but knowing they will not be reprimanded each time they have to say something encourages them to take part in dialogues and scenes in class.
4] Develops team work
There is no better place than a drama class to encourage team work. Working with their peers on creating something memorable or whacky gives them skills to be part of a team. Working towards a common goal as a team is something they would need in their respective chosen fields as well.
5] Increases focus
There are tons of theatre games that build focus without it being stressful in any way for the child. This skill can help them in subjects like Math or Computers where they need to apply focus.
6] Drama is for everyone
There maybe students in your class who are shy or with learning disabilities but drama is a perfect medium for them to vent what they feel. It may take awhile but the theatre games will bring them out and they will open up to being more interactive and receptive.
7] Drama is a stress buster
A drama class even once a week will have students looking forward to it and is a great stress buster. Warm up and cool down games help relieve the stress of learning formally all week. A class that can laugh together at a friend’s comedy routine is a happy class.
8] Meaningful Role play
Role play encourages students to put themselves in different situations and work out solutions for common problems. It gives a child a chance to think what he would do if put in that situation and deal with situations and emotions that are close to reality.
9] Fosters creativity
Various theatre tasks be it creating a thematic scene or making use of a prop in different ways or writing a script all requires children to unleash the creativity inside them. You would be surprised the things children can come up with on their own with a little bit of encouragement.
10] Drama develops a bond
Putting up a play or a talent show together increases the bond with not only teacher and student but also among students. Helping each other out in the performance, working in tandem with the teacher on even backstage requirements and coming together as a team during rehearsals while sharing all the fun, memories, and goof ups that it took to put something together is a bond like no other.
Speech and Drama is a subject that is taken beyond a classroom and translates to different areas of life. The ten benefits of Speech and Drama in education make a child confident and individualistic. A speech and drama classroom is like no other; full of fun and laughter, creativity and self-expression, team work and bonding. So, keep calm and go to Drama class!