Why Teach Drama? Essay

841 words - 3 pages

If you are like me, you frequently find yourself trying to justify your existence as a Drama teacher. Teachers and parents often don't really understand what a classroom Drama teacher does, and they can question the importance of Drama class-especially since most classroom teachers feel pressured to get through a given curriculum in a given time, and Drama class necessarily shortens the classroom teacher's contact time. Those of us who work in Drama with and for Young People know instinctively that it is important, but we are not always easily able to communicate this understanding. Below is an essay I wrote in response to concerns in my school about the adding of Drama classes to the regular schedule. (You will probably feel that I've over-stressed the cross-curricular importance of Drama and under-stressed its intrinsic value as Art. But that's what the administration usually needs to hear. The purpose of this essay is to persuade non-artists of the value of Drama in an educational system that is-unfortunately, in my view-increasingly output-oriented.) Feel free to use all or part of this essay when you find yourself called upon to defend the teaching of Drama in schools. (For the record, it was quite effective for me.)Dramatic Arts education is an important means of stimulating CREATIVITY IN PROBLEM SOLVING. It can CHALLENGE STUDENTS' PERCEPTIONS about their world and about themselves. Dramatic exploration can provide students with an outlet for emotions, thoughts, and dreams that they might not otherwise have means to express. A student can, if only for a few moments, BECOME ANOTHER, explore a new role, try out and experiment with various personal choices and solutions to very real problems-problems from their own life, or problems faced by characters in literature or historical figures. This can happen in a SAFE ATMOSPHERE, where actions and consequences can be examined, discussed, and in a very real sense EXPERIENCED without the dangers and pitfalls that such experimentation would obviously lead to in the "real" world. This is perhaps the most important reason for Dramatic Arts in schools.Still, there is far more that Drama can do. At the center of all Drama is COMMUNICATION. Like all the arts, Drama allows students to communicate with and understand others in new ways. Perhaps more than any other art form, Drama also provides training in the very PRACTICAL aspects of communication so necessary in today's increasingly information-centered world. Students who have participated in Dramatic activities are less likely to have difficulty SPEAKING IN PUBLIC, will be more...

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