There have been various attempts in the history of educational pedagogy to rethink and redefine the classroom in terms of teaching-learning techniques and the very purpose of learning. Of the multiple ways in which education and especially the learning that takes place within the four walls of a school classroom can be reimagined and rethought, is the application of creative, engaging and alternative pedagogic tools such as drama and theatre.
The usage of drama and theatre to disseminate ideas in a classroom is not only an effective teaching mechanism but it also contributes towards the revival of the child’s inner creativity, spontaneity and sense of agency. In fact, if one were to fathom the ability of theatre to pave ways for meaningful pedagogy; one can take cognisance of a famous proverb that says ,“ Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may not remember. Involve me and I will understand.”
In the contemporary world scenario where so many distractions are available at the child’s disposal it may not be easy to hold on to the child’s flickering attention through mundane, passive and often cold methods of teaching. The use of engaged pedagogy in the form of theatre can often help revive fatigued/disinterested classroom spaces and activate the child’s sense of agency.
When we use theatre in our classrooms, we engage children in a multi-step process that involves writing/planning on a skit on a specific theme, mobilising group members to enact and produce the play and finally we endow the children with the responsibility of performing the play before an audience.
The children gain by learning about the very topic that the play in based on, they learn how to coordinate and cooperate in a group where each chid may have a different temperament and they also learn how a multitude of resources can aid the process of our growth.
The practice of using drama in classrooms makes teaching more active than passive and involves them in the very process of learning. The idea of drama in education has existed for a very long time but more often than not, it has remained confined to occasional performances or to select pilot projects that may be taken up on an experimental basis. However, what must be realised is the fact that theatre activities give children a chance to experiment, explore and articulate their experiences and bring out their perspectives. This in turn helps unlock creativity and makes learning more participative and less boring.
Drama will enable children to explore issues and ideas across various disciplines and in turn will help them read/write and cognise theoretical concepts with much more clarity and criticality. That is why it is high time that detailed educational research is carried out about the usage and applicability of theatre as a pedagogic tool and to encourage its widespread usage and dissemination.