The Role of Drama in Education
“Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand”
This quote has been the reality whenever I tried to learn something new. This was the case and the main reason I passed Maths in SS1; my Mathematics teacher, Mr. Abbey, involved us in his teaching.
He broke down Maths concepts by allowing us to problem-solve through drama, taking on active roles to arrive at a solution.
Drama is popularly known as a Subject in the educational curriculum but still unknown to many is that Drama is in fact a teaching method.
C.S. Kalidas’ paper, Drama: A Tool for learning, describes the role of Drama in Education (D.I.E) as a teaching method promoting meaningful, active, and reflective thinking processes as well as enhancing communication skills development.
Drama is able to boost and make better a learner’s experience because its delivery is packed with different learning styles which afford learners an all-around reach.
The Role of Drama in Education as a Teaching Method
This includes but is not limited to;
Aiding learners in developing soft skills.
Learners are able to explore issues, situations in varying contexts which make them develop skills as they engage with activities. Few amongst skills picked up are problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and empathy.
Helping learners with numeracy proficiency
Drama allows a learner to learn numeracy skills without them guessing learning is taking place. Counting the number of beats in a song, deciding how to share goodies brought by a visitor (addition, division & multiplication), or working out how many eggs to put in a cake are just a few examples of drama helping to build numeracy skills.
Let’s face the facts, many children do not see learning as an enjoyable activity. It’s regarded more as a necessity. Yes, it is a necessitated process but one that can be enjoyed. How? With the inclusion of drama in lessons.
Drama is the significant difference between Student A not only passing Economics but also going on to nurture a career in the field. Student A becomes a lifelong learner of the intricacies of Economics.
The role of Drama in Education as a teaching method also ensures that student learning styles are matched to the appropriate teaching strategies, which in turn can lead to an increase in students’ learning experience, performance, and achievement.
This is the reason I strongly attribute my A in Mathematics in SS1 to Mr. Abbey’s deployment of Drama as a method of teaching.
D.I.E places the students in control of the lesson, a factor some teachers are uncomfortable with for fear of losing control of the class. This concern has been taken care of with the introduction of a technique called Teacher-in-Role (TiR).
While teaching a lesson, the teacher simply assumes a role alongside the students by playing a leader, an equal, or a role of lower status. The teacher essentially puts themselves in the shoes of the students and can steer the direction of the lesson as part of them making the latter feel involved in the lesson.
A teacher stepping into a role could be a change in body language, tone of voice, or a simple prop addition to the lesson. And the best part is it can be done to make the toughest of subjects easier to understand for learners. This is a technique well deployed by uLesson tutors who not only understand the importance of communicating on the level of the learner but also go the entire mile to step into a role as the topic demands.
It is interesting to note that Mr. Abbey’s use of drama to communicate with us was not one born out of the knowledge of drama as a tool, I daresay, but rather from a burning desire to help us learn a subject we had all come to know as formidable.
In uLesson however, considerable thought goes into using drama as a tool in conjunction with the desire to see every learner succeed at the seemingly impossible-to-conquer subjects and topics.
How to use Drama in Education as a teaching method to connect to learners
In this instance, Drama isn’t about staging plays or teaching acting. It is about teaching subjects through drama. For example, if I were to teach the basics of demand and supply in Economics, I could set up a fair, asking students to take on roles as merchants and buyers and fair organizers. If I were to go the extra mile, I would ask them to come with items representing the setting.
They would then be asked to allocate to themselves stalls with overflowing goods but no one buying, minimal goods with a number of folks asking for more of it. They would be tasked with finding ways to satisfy their customers and determine factors contributing to the sale or lack of. I, the teacher could be a passerby, fair organizer, etc.
This process ensures everyone is involved and included in figuring out the basics of demand and supply.
This is just one example out of many endless possibilities of drama embracing the learner’s imaginations, emotions, and cognitive thinking which in many cases are shunned but should be paid particular attention to.
In conclusion, I posit that the role of Drama in Education as a teaching method affords educators the opportunity to teach their students in a way, which creates a love for learning.