Drama in the Classroom (not that kind…)

This is an excerpt from a chapter about using drama in the classroom that I was asked to write years ago:

During the time that I have used drama projects in both English and Social Studies classrooms I have found that what it provides students is a way to explore course content while making a connection to individual experiences. These individual experiences are what allow students to fully engage with historical events, better understand the choices made by a character in a novel, or practice taking on or creating roles that they themselves would like to play in their own lives.

Another aspect of a classroom drama project is its connection to language. One of my primary goals as a teacher is to have my students develop an appreciation of the power and complexity of language. In order to succeed with the challenge of a drama project students must be able to craft language and they are forced to develop a consciousness related to how people speak and how words are used to influence others. According to Tashanna, a student in an International Studies class, playwriting taught her “that language is like an instrument, every word is a key, carefully noted” (sic).

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