I’m in the midst of preparing my 1.5 hours speech and presentation to a group of Malaysian kindergarten teachers on Sunday morning, to share with them about the benefits of taking up drama programs to teach their students in schools.
And in the midst of preparing my speech and presentation, I decided to bring up a bit of history about how Bangsawan arrived to the shores of Malaysia and shared a bit of Shakespeare and that’s when it hit me.
If schools are teaching Shakespeare to students, why aren’t schools making drama part of the curriculum, making it compulsory?
For a student to understand the script/poem, the student needs to be able to connect and express in the form on a first person. No one is able to think how a person is feeling, one has to reach deep into his heart to feel how another is feeling and for that to happen, one has to be immersed into character and only drama can transform anyone to be in that character, to understand the emotions and the intricacies involved in the struggles.
But drama does more than that. It gets the student to learn how to be emotionally in-tune to him/herself as well as to others, to be creative, to be able to read, to learn how to lead and follow instructions.
And should the student develop a deeper interest, the student can begin to write, which requires a higher calling as it requires the student to be able to have a keen eye for observation and detail as well as possess a creative mind to express in words.
Beyond writing, the student may also wish to take on the role of the Director, the one who has a visual bird’s eye view of how the entire play should form up and come together. To lead and to bring together individuals to bring to life characters and words from what has been written.
But unfortunately, education systems think Drama is a waste of time instead of trying to find means and ways to incorporate drama into every single aspect of learning in school.
Education systems forget that drama is something that can be easily transformed, understood and adapted for many types of learning styles. It’s visual, auditory and kinaesthetic – all at the same time.
It doesn’t teach you numbers outright, but you will learn numbers because when you perform on stage, you need to learn about timing and timing is about numbers and rhythm.
It doesn’t teach you how to read, but to perform, you need to be able to read the script and read body languages.
It doesn’t teach you science, but to perform, you need to learn how to develop chemistry with another and you need physics to learn how to create certain moves.
It doesn’t teach you geography, but to perform, you need to learn directions on stage and depending on the kind of stage, you need to learn how to capitalize on mother nature.
It doesn’t teach you history, but the stories you perform, they could be history recreated or they could make you become a part of history.
Drama is all that and a whole lot more.
Drama is what I would describe as, “A way to understand, create or recreate and express perspectives on life”.