Should we go against nature?

When children wake up the first thing they want to do is to play. Every mum and dad can assure this, especially when their children are very young.  I believe that this ‘playing’ is essential for their learning and if we focus on the ‘playing’ and guide the ‘games’, the results are remarkable.

Can we transfer this ‘playing’ into the classroom? Of course we can. In fact, I believe that with Drama in Education we do it naturally. I’m aware that the classroom has their ‘rules’ and we must respect them, if not, it would be a chaos, but breaking some ‘rules’ would actually foster learning. In Drama, performing is ‘playing’, because to perform is to play being another person, in another situation, in another place and time. So if we adapt this to our subjects we will get successful results.  Is it strange to think that in History students are soldiers fighting for their freedom two centuries ago? Or in Maths, that they are cashiers in a crowded supermarket? Or in Geography, explorers looking for the weirdest creature in the wild jungle? Of course it is not! It is life! It is living the experience of being the protagonists of their own story. This will surely be more memorable than only studying from a book.

Fortunately, in Uruguay, there are many schools that have Drama as a subject, but none on them across the curriculum. Nowadays Drama is only seen as the staging of a play at the end of the year, I celebrate that, it is absolutely necessary, but I think we are ready to give a step forward and including it as the core of every lesson.

In his article ‘Drama is imagining to learn: Inquiry, Ethics, and Integration through Drama’, Jeffrey Wilhelm claims: ‘Through drama, students become a part of the learning process rather than more observers or inactive receptacles of the rich experience of learning; in this way their learning was deeper, more sustained, and infinitely more complex”.  And I would add: “because drama is about playing which is in children’s nature”.

Juan Luis Granato

Juan Luis Granato is an uruguayan actor, producer, drama teacher and cultural manager. Founder of the theatrical company “The Company Educational Drama” dedicated to educational theatre in English and with more tan 10 years of experience in theatre applied to education. In addition, he manages The Anglo Theatre, belonging to the Anglo Uruguayan Cultural Institute.

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