Most people do not associate drama with learning. This subject has the reputation of being fun and loud, which might seem counter-productive to some. However, a deeper look uncovers its ability to enhance speaking, listening, comprehension and critical thinking skills. In this article, we explore how learning drama can contribute positively to an individual academically and personally.
Engages Several Learning Styles At Once
Drama as a subject is unique as it engages several learning styles at once. The four main learning styles include visual-spatial, auditory, kinaesthetic and reading and writing. People learn differently and at different rates because of their physical and cognitive makeup. In a typical drama lesson, students are exposed to scripts, reading and vocabulary development. There is also the utilising of kinaesthetic learning when students use movement and their bodies to portray scenes and moods. Next, sound effects, debate and dialogue engage the aural learners. Lastly, a student’s visual-spatial learning skills are activated as they devise stage directions, visual details and movements during a presentation. When learning styles are paired with relevant teaching methodologies, students are more likely to perform better and enjoy the learning process.
Enhances Reading, Speaking and Listening Abilities
Next, research findings have shown that learning drama enhances students’ reading, speaking and listening abilities, as well as vocabulary development. A script often needs to be read through multiple times. Students ought to understand the meaning of individual words and the context in which they are used. Scripts are also an excellent way to introduce proper syntax to students. They are then reinforced during rehearsals and performances. It is also during these moments that one’s listening and speaking skills are tested. One has to listen carefully to his cast mates lest he is unable to follow the story and not know when to come in. Likewise, students become more aware of their pitch, pace, loudness and tone of voice while rehearsing their lines. A simple pause at the right moment can be as impactful as a booming loud voice.
Improves Reading Comprehension
The final way drama enhances learning is by improving reading comprehension skills. Drama helps students acquire skills entrenched in the comprehension process, such as relating what they read in a text to their own experiences, feelings, attitudes, beliefs and values. Drama activities such as re-enacting scenes, character interviews, tableau, and human slide shows are effective at deepening a student’s understanding of the characters and plots. By taking on roles in a story, students make a personal connection with the story and can interpret these texts more accurately.
On the whole, learning drama can positively affect academic learning. It deepens a student’s understanding of a text, enhances vocabulary acquisition, and improve reading, listening and speaking skills. More than that, drama serves as a fun way to learn life skills, social skills and build up one’s self confidence. These additional qualities cannot be gleaned from a textbook but need actual interaction with peers.
In Dyslexia Association of Singapore, there is the Speech & Drama Arts programme that caters to 3 different age ranges and is being offered in Bedok and Bishan Learning Centre. If you think your child would benefit from a different way of learning and at the same time have fun expressing himself, do check out our classes!
By Corinne Ang
Senior Educational Therapist, Speech and Drama Arts Teacher
ABOUT SPEECH AND DRAMA ARTS
The Speech & Drama Arts programme is offered in Bedok and Bishan Learning Centres.
To find out more about our Speech and Drama Programme click here!