Drama and critical thinking Essay

drama / education / learning / student / empathy / critical thinking / knowledge / class

Since the early days of curriculum theory development, education professionals and teachers have been increasingly concerned about the role which drama could play in helping students develop higher order thinking and empathy. Researchers and scholars have persistently sought to establish the direct link between the quality of student reasoning and creative representation and the amount of time students devote to participating in drama. As a result, drama has turned into the essential component of a successful learning process, and whether teachers are able to motivate students to think critically depends on the place they give to drama in the structure of all learning activities.

            Undoubtedly, drama is the direct pathway to teaching older students think more efficiently. Given that the students’ ability to process and retain knowledge depends on the way they think, organize, and embed the new information into their learning and cultural contexts, the use of drama provides students with a chance to “build a community in the classroom, to evaluate themselves and the other members of the class, and to hold a common vision of what the class should be and do” (Morris, 2001). More importantly, drama encourages higher order thinking and empathy through better student expression, participation, and decision-making. The use of drama in social studies, for example, allows students to conduct inquiry; in many instances, taking responsibility for planning drama in class leads students to displaying increased empathy and persistence at all stages of the learning process (Taylor, 1992). Finally, drama is just one out of many means to challenge traditional curriculum contents and to review it from a different angle, providing the ground for student creativity, active thinking, and democratic participation in the process of discussing the most problematic curriculum aspects.

            The natural question is how drama promotes the development of critical thinking skills in students. Different scholars provide different explanations. O’Toole, Stinson and Moore (2009) suggest that in drama students become the direct participants of a fictional context; they are compelled to abandon their previously passive roles of side observers and are pushed into a new environment where empathy and reasoning determines their success as of actors. Moreover, the use of drama in classroom “demands that the participants are not only given a degree of freedom in how they interpret their roles and functions, but they are usually invited at certain points to help or even take a lead in planning the drama itself” (O’Toole, Stinson & Moore, 2009). Gallagher (2001) writes that higher order thinking is the necessary skills students require to construct social realities in drama. As a result, by linking curriculum, classroom activities, and drama, teachers can readily help students understand and evaluate their location in specific social context, as well as to make reasonable choices with the aim to change or advance their social realities.

            For the majority of contemporary curriculum designers and education professionals, drama resembles a kind of a learning ritual, which effectively combines critical thinking stimuli and relative cost-effectiveness. Students are encouraged to participate in drama in order to exhibit their creative representation skills. Students use drama to step away from mechanistic approaches to education and to become increasingly involved into constructing higher level meanings. In drama, students make essential connections between problems, solutions, and their decision-making options. Finally, students learn to solve problems by means of consensus, retention, and linking knowledge to real-world situations (Morris, 2001). All these elements inevitably lead to the development of higher order thinking and empathy in students. Drama is an effective instrument of transforming traditional school knowledge into real contextual knowledge; it is the source of knowledge authenticity and the direct pathway to increasing the instrumental value of studies. Ultimately, drama can be effectively utilized in classroom to help teachers meet their primary obligations by embedding students’ classroom achievements with their personal experiences and thoughts.

A theater educator can bring many positive changes to future development of your child. Amanda Jones, who has about forty years of experience of working with children made the following statement: “Theater addresses the skills which benefit children's education and development in five general areas: physical development (kinesthetic skills) artistic development (drama and theater skills,) mental development (thinking skills) personal development (intra-personal skills) and social development (interpersonal skills).” (Kimberly Haynes What Drama Education Can Teach Your Child by. Topics: Inspiring Creativity in Your Child, Dramahttp://www.education.com/magazine/article/What_Drama_Education_Can_Teach/)

The same idea is being accentuated with the help of testimonials from the side of the parents who also watched the successes of their children. Still, the other research shows that many parents are really worried about the success of their children. According to the testimonials of these people, many of them are worried about the fact that participation in drama courses may seriously damage the success of their children. Of particular importance is the academic success of the children. The result of the study that was initiated by a UCLA showed just the opposite: the study concluded that students who were involved in the arts showed the tendency to have higher academic performance and

The benefits of the theatrical education are quite obvious. These include the following achievements: improved self-confidence, better public speaking skills. These are just the few of the benefits that can be brought by the theatrical education. The success of the students is embedded in the following things:

  1. ability to work with an ensemble in cooperative ventures
  2. ability to work through consensus and differences or obstacles to achieve a goal

(Kimberly Haynes What Drama Education Can Teach Your Child by. Topics: Inspiring Creativity in Your Child, Dramahttp://www.education.com/magazine/article/What_Drama_Education_Can_Teach/)

Studying theater has all rights to be regarded as one of the great starting point for careers. The careers include the following areas: teaching, law, and politics. The involvement in drama classes may play rather outstanding role for child’s future involvement in broadcasting and performing.

The author also has the ability to speak confidently in front of a group. This is being done at the very beginning of person’s career.  The author of the articles focuses on the fact that if a child is interested in getting involved in theater he/she should pay attention to the following things:  Theater is not designed for the outgoing activities. The activity is not a beneficial one for those children, who are afraid to be in the spotlight. Along with that, such children must be prepared for the commitment. This world is very difficult to perceive for those who do not known the meaning of this world.

The article also contains special advice for parents who are encouraged to support their children in pursue of their acting career. The production of the whole scene involves a lot of work. The work is based on a quite big range of rehearsals. That is why it is very important for the parents to practice really big range of activities.

The author of the article also advices parents to achieve a better involvement into the process of their child education. Parents are advised to develop the appreciation of their children’s performance.

As for the issue of advocate further theatrical education, this issue is highly controversial since theatrical education is very important point of your child further development however, this thing is rather optional. It means that everything depends of the choice that is supposed to be made by your child.

Drama activities can be described as the ones that help both children and adults with to make better career in this life. The major benefit achieved is the development of self-esteem. Drama is very useful for people with special needs. Along with that, drama is very necessary for the leader to make it safe for the group to be creative.

Too common school defines drama activity as “a sedentary process confined to the English department”. My idea is that the exploration of the work of the dramatists as well as the participation in the drama activities can greatly improve the performance of the children in the classroom.


Gallagher, K. (2001). Drama education: Imagining possibilities. University of Toronto Press.

O’Toole, J., Stinson, M. & Moore, T. (2009). Drama and curriculum: A giant at the door.


Morris, R.V. (2001). Teaching social studies through drama: Student meanings. Journal of

Social Studies Research, 25 (1): 3-15.

Taylor, P.M. (1992). Redcoats and patriots: Reflective practice in drama and social studies.

Portsmouth: Heinemann.

Kimberly Haynes What Drama Education Can Teach Your Child by. Topics: Inspiring Creativity in Your Child, Dramahttp://www.education.com/magazine/article/What_Drama_Education_Can_Teach


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