AD | The importance of drama and how it influences the whole curriculum is widely recognised. At many schools, children enjoy a weekly drama lesson. This allows children to see drama as an educational process and an opportunity to develop and build upon new skills rather than just rehearsing a script and ‘doing a play’. Performances to a wider audience are a key part of drama but they alone are not the only important learning milestones. A senior school in Surrey explores the concept in further detail below.
The benefits of drama are many. Firstly, drama builds confidence. Speaking clearly and confidently is a vitally important attribute. This is not a skill that comes naturally to all children but it is a skill that can be taught. Regular drama lessons that allow children to perform periodically to a small group of their peers will gradually increase the confidence of even the most nervous actors. Embracing fresh challenges and testing new skills in a safe, structured environment helps children overcome fears about speaking in front of others. Also, taking on the mannerisms and gestures of another character allows a shy child to become someone else and respond to others in a different way. This can be very liberating – and entertaining!
It is widely acknowledged that drama encourages children to perform as a team. In drama lessons a child might build a rapport with boys or girls they wouldn’t usually socialise with, but if they don’t support each other, their improvisation will fall flat. A joint collaboration where children are required to pull together – feeding each other lines and responding to their individual roles – will achieve a successful outcome. In addition, drama can work wonders in helping boys and girls forget their differences and encourage them to work together in harmony.
Drama offers children an important opportunity to reflect upon their work. They can ask themselves what they did well and how they might improve next time. Accepting and giving constructive criticism to others is a very useful skill. Less confident children also respond well to the praise of others. Positive comments from their peers raises their self-esteem. Challenging issues can also be explored through drama in a way that is non-threatening. Children can be encouraged to act out difficult situations in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
Drama provides teachers with a chance to nurture confidence in other ways. Not all children want to take centre stage. Some are happy to have a smaller part but may fulfill a more significant role backstage, working as Stage Manager or assisting with lighting / sound or designing the set – and many of our children have excelled in this way.
Finally, drama is fun! Quick fire improvisation games and scenarios develop instinctive responses and spontaneity. Dressing up in comical wigs and glasses is hilarious – especially if your teacher does it too… Children enjoy drama and children learn best when they are happy.