Learning drama at school can be a positive, life-enhancing experience or a miserable one, depending on the school's approach to the subject and the quality of the teaching. At its best, drama can improve students' communication skills and confidence. Drama can also teach students about trust and team-work. However, if taken too seriously, drama can make students too competitive and stressed.
Learning drama at school can build students' confidence. For instance, shy children who are encouraged to perform in front of an audience can find it easier to speak in groups and in front of the class. Drama, through improvisations and role-play, also improves a child's imagination. Children can learn to relax through drama games. When children learn lines and stage movements they will improve their memory. Co-operation and trust come from working on a joint venture, such as a stage performance or musical.
The use of drama throughout the school curriculum can help with subjects such as history, English and science. For instance, asking students to "act out" a dramatic scene from American history can bring the period to life, particularly if the teacher uses props and video clips to inspire the dialogue. Teachers can also use role-play and improvisations to teach social skills and anti-bullying strategies. After-school clubs enable teachers to put on performances and possibly build up a reputation for drama in the local area.
Drama, by its very nature, is a competitive subject. Some students will get selected for the choicest parts in plays and solos in musicals or concerts. As a result, students who audition for high school musicals and plays can feel rejected and useless if they do not succeed. If the high school enters regional or national competitions to earn awards, and the performances are judged, then a poor review could damage students' confidence and make them reluctant to participate again.
Some universities do not consider the study of drama to be intellectually rigorous in the same way that English or math are. Some employers and university officers still believe that drama is a soft or frivolous subject, and might dismiss it when considering grades and educational performance. Another downside for drama is that the school itself might not consider it as a core subject and therefore treat it as a "filler" subject or get non-specialists to teach it.
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