Children of all ages learn to communicate via a range of means. Different learning styles and preferences come into play, which means that some kids are more naturally attuned to reading, some to listening and others to learning through doing.
One interesting trait common in all children is that they appear to learn particularly well through play, particularly in a creative and social session where their learning objectives can be relatively unstructured, allowing them to ‘discover’ skills, test new behaviours and learn through interaction with other kids of their own age.
This is just one reason why drama based learning is so powerful. Let’s look at some of the benefits.
Unstructured Creative Learning
Structured and classroom-based learning doesn’t facilitate recall or understanding in all children, especially those who are less attuned to learning through listening or reading. However, the flexible, creative and flowing environment of a drama class means that children naturally flex their communication skills and test out new behaviours in a safe setting.
Relaxed and Unpressured
A classroom can feel worrying to some children who are less inclined to put themselves forward in a formal setting and who may hang back from testing out their skills in front of their classmates. However, drama based learning tends to occur in far smaller groups in an environment that is safe, fun, relaxed and unpressured. By taking the focus away from structured learning and by focusing on the skills of drama and creative expression, the real learning can be facilitated and even hastened.
A Safe Environment
Every child knows that it can be embarrassing to get something wrong in the classroom. But in drama-directed learning environments, the fun atmosphere, active environment and interactive creative lessons mean that children feel far more confident in trying out something new – and they take it less seriously if it doesn’t work first time. The coaches can help children to try out new communication styles, to watch and learn from others and to understand feedback on what they are doing – all in a very low-key, participative and enjoyable setting.
Participative and Inclusive
Children of all ages and abilities can learn in a drama setting. Children with different abilities discover a level playing field, and there is no pressure about academic success or achieving grades in tests. Instead, the emphasis is on self-discovery, self-expression and the pure joy that comes through drama.
By learning how to speak lines, to project a voice, to play a part and to be part of a play with other young actors, children learn a variety of skills and their confidence grows hugely as a result. They learn to communicate not only in spoken words but through body language and team interaction. They also learn about helping others, supporting the team, taking part, taking risks and also enjoying and appreciating everyone’s unique talents. The experience can be greatly empowering, and it’s a wonderful thing for parents and family members to witness.