Theatre in education
Theatre in education (TIE) originated in Britain in 1965 and has continued to present day . Monica Prendergast and Juliana Saxton cited TIE as "one of the two historic roots of applied theatre practice". TIE typically includes a theatre company performing in an educational setting (i.e. a school) for youth, including interactive and performative moments.
The idea of a high-impact child-centred performance for a specifically targeted school audience became hugely popular. Due to small audiences students can be encouraged to participate through work in-role and through debate. Student experimentation can be supported with resource materials and training or support for the students by teachers.
Education is becoming like rote learning. The education the students are getting is not being applied creatively in any area. Contrary to this 'rote' education, TIE presents a different approach including discussions, contributions and creativity through performance. It fulfils all types of learning and enhances the development process.
Difference between Drama in Education and Theatre in Education
In the last twenty years many books have appeared describing drama and theatre activities with children. These various labels are indicative of the range of the work and of the possible confusions that can arise. Some of the main areas of work are:
Drama in Education In the school curriculum, this is both a method and a subject. As a curriculum subject it uses various dramatic elements, and acting out. In many Secondary schools drama is now a separate department. In some Primary schools it is used as a method to teach a number of subjects.
Theatre in Education A professional team of trained and experienced actor/teachers, who prepare relevant material/project/experiment to be presented in schools often involving more than one visit. These programmes are usually devised and researched by the team/teachers and are for small groups of one or two classes of a specific age. The aim of the programmes is essentially educational, and uses theatre, drama in education and teaching techniques for educational purposes. This work provides an educational aid, resource and stimulus for both teachers and pupils, but to do so it may vary from place to place, total participation sessions to performance and discussion. Theatre in Education can be considered as a method of work used by some companies all the time, and by others only occasionally. Many companies who use this method of work have, as their starting point, a strong left-wing or didactic approach to their subject matter, and they cannot be considered as mere tools of the education system. Rather, they act as outside questioners, looking at ideas and values in society.
The main element of TIE
These are the following characteristics of TIE
- There is a clear aim and educational objective running throughout this process.
- The cast should be small so actors must be versatile and often take several roles.
- A low budget project has to be taken so that actors can play instruments too.
- The production must be portable and the design of the production will be simple and representational.
- The exploration of issues has to be from various viewpoints, so that we can see the effect of the action upon a range of people.
- There should be involvement by the audience.
- They are rarely wholly naturalistic because narration is often used.
- As actors have multiple roles, the costume are representational and simple.
- For educating the audience facts and figures can be included.
- They may have a strong message or moral running throughout the production.
How TIE can be used
TIE can create different kinds of productions:
- Supported by resource materials, the production can be designed to stimulate reaction and participation from its small audience, through role play and debate.
- By specifically targeting an area for a particular age group in a school’s personal, social and health education curriculum.
- For the young audience the production can be based on the traditional story, allowing a range of follow-up activities if desired.
- Linking the story to the given activities for very young children can provide opportunities for involvement.
- For the adult age group some additional 'dramatizing' activities may be added e.g. learning parenting skills or preparing for employment.
- It should be organised meaningfully.
The Role of Teacher 
As an alternative to knowledge dissemination, memory-based teaching, Drama games and fun during lessons leads to better engagement. Instead of simply lecturing, the teacher in the TIE setting can become a conceptual artist who moulds knowledge, feelings, thoughts, sensations and experience into an active and activating educational process. This is not about an artist in a traditional way. It’s more a way of thinking, perception of the world and its needs in right - brained way as non-linear, practical, intuitive, and holistic.
- Teacher´s typology
The personality of a teacher influences the use of drama in lessons. According to Barucha, teacher types fall into four quadrants (see Figure 1). Barucha differentiates two dimensions depending on the teacher’s behaviour, perception, values and attitudes: the interactivity level and the level of logical/emphatic thinking. Both dimensions operate on a whole scale in between the extreme values.
The Role of Student
In this methodology the student need to understand that the role of the teacher changes. In TIE the student himself takes the initiative and responsibility. TIE demands much greater independence of thinking. In this process of structured learning, drama rehearsals require full dedication. Due to this and closer interpersonal interaction, the process can lead to more clashes compared to traditional class teaching. There are several issues apart from memory training, courage to act, and the ability to emerge from the shell that each of us adopts at work or at school, there can be language difficulties, stage fright, newness in being expected to adopt a role, confidence etc.
Summarizing the main requirements and preconditions as follows: -
- Intellectual maturity, ability to understand the play and roles
- Ability to comprehend the cost and investment, but also the benefits. Openness to accept new method of teaching/ learning.
- Time management or Commitment
- Acceptance of guiding role of the teacher without formal authority
- Language competence
- Performance skills/competence (active attitude to potential stage fright issues, memory issues etc.)
- Collective work competence
- Controlling the emotional intelligence and Ability to cooperate even in stressful moments (like a performance).
Some theatre improvisation games
This are some theatre games.
1) Alphabet conversation
Having a group of student, start a conversation one by one where each sentence begins with the next letter of the alphabet. Giving a situation before you begin will help the student. Students can also use sounds to start a sentence, for example “Mmmm” or “tut-tut”. This game can be played in pairs or small groups. Here is an example:
A: Anyone seen my cat?
B: Black one, with funny eyes?
A: Can’t say I remember.
B: Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what it looks like?
A: Every cat looks the same to me.
B: Fortunately, I found one yesterday
A: Gee, that’s great…
- Try starting somewhere in the middle of the alphabet. Then when you reach “Z”, return to “A” until you arrive back where you started. This technique can be combine with one word stories.
2) People poems
Divide the class into small group of four or five. To each group give a topic/word –e.g. “Time”. Now each person in an each group as to write down or remembers some words associated with the theme, e.g.- slow, fast, boredom, quickly and centuries. Now every group has to make an object out of the members, linked to the theme (such as a clock). Ideally the group object should move. Next every group has to bring the object to life and works out a way of bringing in some or all of their words-linked to their movements. And at the end they show the resulting people poem to the rest of the class, who can try and guess the theme. Themes can include:
- Elements - earth, air, fire, water
- Opposites – cold/hot, fast/slow, high/low
- Self-Confidence: By performing in front audience the student get the confidence to trust on his own ideas and abilities. This will be applied to his life, career and school.
- Imagination: Thinking out of the box, and interpreting familiar material in new ways. Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
- Empathy: Acting in a roles for different situations, time periods, and different cultures promotes compassion and it develops tolerance for others’ feelings and viewpoints.
- Collaboration: It combines the new ideas and abilities of its participants. This cooperative learning includes discussing, sharing, negotiating, rehearsing, and performing.
- Concentration: Performing in a play develops a constant focus of mind, body, and voice, which also helps in life and in school subjects.
- Communication Skills: In a play a student enhances verbal and nonverbal expression of ideas. It also improves voice projection, articulation of words, and fluency with language.
- Emotional Outlet: In the play the student is allowed to express a range of emotions. Sadness, aggression and tension are released in a safe, controlled environment, reducing antisocial behaviours.
- Relaxation: Theatre activities reduce stress by releasing mental, physical, and emotional tension.
- Physical Fitness: Movement in drama improves body balance, coordination, flexibility, and control.
- Monica Prendergast & Juliana Saxton, ed. (2009). Applied Theatre, International Case Studies and Challenges for Practice. Briston, UK: Intellect Publishers. p. 7.
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