Constructivist approach to drama in the classroom

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How does constructivist approach underpins
what happen in drama?

What is Drama?
Drama is the act of using the imagination to become someone or something other than yourself. It can be done at any place to any period of time. According to Richard Courtney, a professional in the area of drama in education defines drama as, “The human process whereby imaginative thought becomes action, drama is based on internal empathy and identification, and leads to external impersonation”. Courtney believes also that “life is a drama.” Humans are always acting and improvising. When we meet someone for the first time, we improvise our conversation. Life has no script written for us, however, we can use role-play to practice the anticipated situation

What is constructivism?
The term refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for themselves; each learner individually (and socially) constructs meaning, as he or she learns. Constructing meaning is learning. The dramatic consequences of this view are two fold; we have to focus on the learner in thinking about learning (not on the subject/lesson to be taught)

There is no knowledge independent of the meaning attributed to experience (constructed) by the learner, or community of learners.

As quoted by Benjamin Franklyn, “Tell me, and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand”. This is indeed a fact for students to remember and understand what is taught, when drama is included. Drama is highly regarded as an effective and valuable teaching strategy because of its unique ability to engage reflective, constructivist and active learning in the classroom as well as enhancing oral skills development. Teachers should definitely incorporate drama in there classroom as this motivate the students that we teach and appeal to a range of learning styles.

Betty Jane Wagner, an internationally recognized authority on composition instruction and the educational uses of drama believes that “Drama is powerful because its unique balance of thought and feeling makes learning exciting, challenging relevant to real-life concerns, and enjoyable”. As educators, if we are not providing a fun and meaningful learning environment for our children to learn, then we are not doing our jobs.

Research indicates that using drama in the classroom as a means of teaching helps students learn academically, socially, and developmentally. “When drama is employed in the classroom. It can reach students who otherwise couldn’t be reached, and challenge students who have already grasped the concepts. Drama provides a fun means of learning. It brings the affective back into the classroom, an institute where emotions and learning are categorically divided. Recent brain research by D.O. Hebb, university professor of psychology, proves that emotions are linked with learning. When we connect to the concept emotionally, we will have a better understanding of it. When we teach using the arts we are linking prior experiences with new stimuli. Teaching using drama brings emotion and learning together.

According to wagner, when drama is used in the classroom to teach it gets students involved and gives them the power to have a key role in their education. “Through drama, students became a part of the learning process rather than mere observers or inactive receptacles of the rich experience of learning; in this way, their learning becomes more sustained, and infinitely more complex”

Drama is a natural, innate form of learning for children. As young as toddlers, children play house and pretend to be doctors, teachers, or some other career, which fascinates them. These children are using drama to practice for or imitate life. “Playing is one of the most powerful ways for a child to learn. He looks at the world around him and plays what he sees such as; going to the office, driving a bus, make-believe stores or parties and on and on. Children also tries different...
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