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We all know how fun it is to go see a show. The lights, the music, the dancing; it’s enchanting! Using theater to teach accomplishes this and so much more.
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What is theater education?
Watching shows by itself is fun and entertaining, right? Take that and unpack it into teaching points and life-lessons and you are using theater to teach! There is an amazing theater near us in the Orlando area. The Orlando Repertory Theater offers shows year-round for children and adults alike. But my favorite part of this theater is they offer curriculum to go along with their shows. This theater offers diverse and culturally relevant shows and their curriculum follows right along with this. Kids learn in vast ways and the element of theater takes real-life scenarios and places them in relatable situations for kids.
How do you use theater to teach using a show?
We had the chance to see Seussical the Musical this past summer. The curriculum for this particular show covers topics such as faith, community, family, imagination, injustice, friendship, and loyalty. It also dives into character and plot studies helping to set up the story before you see it. It offers discussion questions enabling open-ended and engaging conversation. The incredible part is this is useful in any style of education from homeschool to public/private, or Montessori. Students can keep a journal like this of their experiences. It gives them the opportunity to write questions or thoughts as well as write what they saw, who they liked, or what scenes were their favorite.
5 Reasons you should use theater to teach
1. You can use theater shows to cover just about every school subject and it is such a dynamic way to emphasize what can otherwise be difficult topics to teach.
2. It offers a variety of visual, audio, and kinesthetic styles and often times at the same time. Students who have trouble learning are often not being taught in the way that best suits their learning style. Theater offers this and so much more.
3. Learning can become tedious when you do it the same way every day. Going to the theater means dressing nice, getting out, and being social in a new style of classroom.
4. One of my favorite parts of the theater is it teaches etiquette. Students not only learn how to engage with others outside of their regular learning environment but they learn how to sit and watch the show while being respectful to others around them as well as the performers.
5. Theater creates a love of all arts; music, acting, literature, and even technical arts. It fosters a love of words as they come to life before your eyes.
Theater bonds you for life
There is something so beautiful and magical when you watch a child gaze in amazement at characters they love as they live and breath right in front of them often in situations they can relate to. The magic grows best when it is nurtured and encouraged with discussion and activity which gives us, as teachers and parents, the chance to get in deep to our kids’ minds and be part of their worlds. It creates trust and bonds that last for life.