Date & Time
DRAMA AS A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION AND ESTABLISHING EMPATHY
Drama as a valuable form of communication provides learners (students) with an opportunity to work together cooperatively on a shared life. It gives students the chance to express themselves more effectively in everyday situations. In other words, drama encourages learners to learn how to influence others and how to put themselves in other people’s shoes. It is thought to have educational value. Some people claim that trying to be in someone else’s shoes and to imagine in certain situations gives a physical, visual, and immediate experience of discussing the same things.
Drama in education reflects a shift from an over-emphasis on informational content to a more balanced inclusion of attention to the processing of ideas. As Postman (1990, 5) noted in a keynote speech to drama educators, cultural literacy won’t suffice without a framework of meaning, “a life-enhancing story,” in which facts may be rationally coordinated.
Drama is not as concerned with the learning of theatre-skills, or production, as it is with the construction of imagined experience. Drama creates dramatic situations to be explored by the participants, inviting them to find out more about the process of how the situation comes into being, to shift perspectives in the here and now, identify and sometimes solve problems and deepen our understanding of them. The focus is on the process: it is a social activity that relies on many voices and perspectives, and role-taking; that focuses on the task rather than individual interests, and that enables participants to see with new eyes. Drama is more concerned with providing the student with a lived-through experience, with the enactive moment, rather than with performing the rehearsed moment. It moves along an educational continuum that embraces many forms, from simple role play that is very close to student’s play to fully structured sharing (including showing); but the focus remains on identifying opportunities for learning and how to organize these.