The Benefits of Drama
In months past we have devoted several columns in our newsletters to the promotion of the arts for all children - specifically music and the visual arts. It seems appropriate to devote time to the dramatic arts as well - theater, plays, musicals, forensics, debate, improv, pantomime, puppetry, etc.
Though some classify television and film as the dramatic arts, most often people think of the dramatic arts as arts that are performed live. All these arts tell stories in their own ways, and many are performed in a specific venue, such as a theater. (Interestingly the word theatre, or theater, derives from the ancient Greek word, theatron, which means “seeing place.”) In this sense, drama helps us “to see” life and experience it in many different ways. It also is a huge opportunity to showcase talent and to build life skills.
It is no secret that many gifted children, adolescents, and adults love drama. Many have a flair for the flamboyant, a love of make-believe or an extension of reality, a penchant for self-expression, and a willingness to put themselves “in the spotlight” for their enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. Dramatic people often seem “larger than life,” and are a delight to behold. Though some children embrace drama early on, others grow into it with exposure and encouragement, and sadly, some never learn to experience its charms. But for all, drama can be highly beneficial. Some major benefits include these:
In a recent article in the Washington Post entitled,
How Theater Can Teach Our Kids to be More Empathetic,
author Alexandra Moe proposes that the communication skills and empathy often developed by dramatic activities “are the most essential skills for navigating American adult life.” She cites articles about happiness in relationships and marriage, ascendancy to leadership positions, higher self-esteem, and a correlation between academic and professional success.
Additionally, dramatic learning is indeed active learning, and is beneficial for all students. So how do we encourage it in our children and students? Ideas for the home include:
Above all, enjoy the gifts of the arts and share those gifts with children. As always, I welcome your ideas. Together we grow.
Jackie Drummer, Past President and Current Board Advisor
(WATG would like to extend a huge thank you to Dr. Martha Aracely Lopez of Milwaukee Public Schools for translating this article into Spanish for our Spanish-speaking families and educators. The translation can also be found in our website blogs.)
Gifted in Perspective
A column designed to link the gifted perspective to other perspectives, and to make you think.