In four simple words, creative drama means to “express, discover, create and imagine”. It’s about taking your normal world, creativity and uniqueness and evolving it further. It helps ignite imagination, attentiveness and bodily awareness letting both children and adults explore undiscovered ideas and creativity that may not be discovered otherwise. To me, creative drama opens a door for kids to be kids and for adults to be kids once more. It gives the opportunity to communicate in a creative and sometimes funny way as appose to the common way of communication. Creative drama lets you learn about yourself and other’s perspective as you find self-worth, self-control and essential relationships with others. It’s a time to let yourself go and act in a way that you make not usually act when around others. Creative drama lets the inner you who’s been hiding away or too shy to come out, make an appearance and be your true self.
Creative drama can include many techniques, activities, lessons and overall goals. It’s important when teaching creative drama (usually to children) that you teach the importance of pantomime. Pantomime is using expression in a non-verbal way. This helps us visualize how much we can say using our bodies and movement without having to speak. Another big aspect of creative drama is improvisation. In order to make a drama creative, you need to be creative and bring unprompted action into your scenes. When role-playing with children, they should be encouraged and lead to express themselves while understanding the emotions that are being included into the exercises. Emotions is a big deal to children as they are often scared to explore and express them. Letting children know that the classroom is a safe place to be is key to getting them to open up and explore their limitations. It’s important as a teacher to implement that there are no “incorrect” or “dumb” ideas. While the kids are imagining, an apple can talk, a bee can run, and the grass can sing.
As a teacher, it’s your job to help teach them basic lessons about themselves and the world around them. A great activity to practice is dramatic play. Dramatic play deals with role playing and discovering alternatives and making decisions which relates to real life. With children participating in this act they will learn about what they like, don’t like and their capabilities. Teachers can incorporate creative drama into so many activities to teach many life lessons or other helpful tools to get through life.
These activities should be based on trying to help the students as a whole develop imagination, think critically, improve communication, build social awareness, think independently and bring self-confidence to each of their students. It doesn’t take much for a teacher to create a lesson, such as those listed above, for their students. The lesson can be as simple as putting on several genres of music and letting the children move in the way that they think the music looks. Another basic lesson could be having all the students stand up and pretend they are mimes who are looking for a candy store. There doesn’t need to be hours of preparation for a creative drama lesson, just simple activities giving children the opportunity to be imaginative.
Being in this class has helped me to become a more creative person. I have always been the individual in the class who doesn’t say much for fear of making a mistake or saying the wrong thing. In this class, I realized being funny and “weird” is ok, it’s called “expressing yourself”. If I am to be a leader of drama, I need to be able to lead my class with confidence and strive to include imagination into the classroom, which at times could be challenging for me. I need to stop second guessing myself and instead be self-confident and excited to share my ideas. If I am to ask my students to be imaginative, creative, and to explore themselves and others, I need to set the precedent first.
Drama can influence education in a number of amazing ways. Drama can be used in any subject such as math, science, reading, English and physical education. But how does it encourage education and even assistance in achieving learning objectives? Drama is inspirational, challenges perceptions, changes attitudes/behaviors, and it improves self-esteem, motivation and achievement. Drama can even distribute crucial messages to students that can be effortlessly comprehended and remembered. I feel like in today’s world, teachers and the administration are so focused on getting students to study, do work, do extracurriculars and pass test that they forget that they are also kids who, at times, just want to have fun.
I feel that kids are often rushed to grow up and, in that case, they don’t get the opportunity to imagine, create and discover. With creative drama, this gives them the opportunity to do so. There have been many studies such as one done by Filiz Erbay titled, “The effectiveness of creative drama education on teaching”, that demonstrate how drama has influenced children in regard to their performance in schools. He found that those who participated in creative drama classes are less likely to be bored at school, they have better grades, they enjoy school, they have better attitudes/behaviors and they have more self-confidence.
I had one teacher who was always very creative and always thinking of things to keep up moving and imagining. As soon as she saw that her class was getting bored or wasn’t paying attention, she would make something up at the top of her head and go with it. One day in particular we were getting ready for a test that we had been studying for all year long. It was 40 minutes before the bell to leave would ring.
We sat in our chair reading over the instructions for the test the next day. The whole class was as antsy as squirrels and my teacher could tell. She told all of us to stand up and have our hands above our heads. She told us that we were going to play volley ball. The class of course was excited when she told us that she was going to go get the ball. I know many of us were thinking, “we’re going to play inside the classroom?” When the teacher returned from the closet, she was holding nothing, yet her hands looked as though she was cradling a ball. “Ok here’s the ball”, she said.
We all looked confused and I’m sure she could tell. She told us it was imagination volley ball. We had to watch where the “imaginative” ball went and get ready if it came to us. At first, we all thought she was crazy and lot the excitement to play, but once the game started, we didn’t even want to go home. This demonstrates how creative drama can be implemented into the class in such a simple way. This teacher didn’t even make a lesson plan, she simply thought about it on the spot, and yet it was the highlight of our day.
My advice that I would give to future teachers who decide to teach or be involved with creative drama, would be, just have fun with it. Don’t try to plan out every little detail. Instead, have a basic idea of what you want your students to achieve (self-goal wise) and start small. What I mean by that is if you try to make the activity seem like there are so many rules and steps, chances are, you will lose the attention and excitement of your class. Instead give them a small idea and let them run with that. After all, creative drama is about how they create, imagine and discover.
I would also suggest standing with confidence and demonstrating imagination on your end. When my teacher came back with “the ball” we all questioned what she was doing and thinking that it was going to be the worst game ever, but the teacher stood tall and confident in her idea and in the end, we loved the game. An important thing to remember for anyone planning on teaching creative drama is, if you don’t demonstrate your ability to be imaginative and creative, chances are neither will your class. They will look up to you for answer and you have to be ready.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” -Albert Einstein