Another Way to Learn

It’s no secret that different children flourish at different subjects and activities, and indeed, different learning methods. For this week’s blog Sarah discusses how the creative and practical exploration used in drama may help those less conventionally academic children.

More often than not, I find teachers surprised by just how well particular children are doing in drama clubs or sessions, be it on a tour, within In School Drama or at an After School club. Sometimes they are surprised to see the child in question perform with such character or confidence, or indeed such enthusiasm. These are usually, but not always, the children who don’t find everyday lessons so easy. They are often reported as being easily distracted or unfocussed, or lacking interest in a given subject.

But if I’m honest, I don’t necessarily think it’s what we teach these kids that is the changing factor here, but rather the way in which we do it.

It is a rare thing for any Unique Voice session to have the children sat down, or writing. Usually the only time they pick up a pen is if it’s their turn to take the register! Yes we sit to watch each other’s work, but this equates to a minimal amount of the session. For the rest of the hour the children are on their feet, working practically and creatively, using their imagination in a world where there are no wrong answers, simply the chance to express their opinions and explore their own ideas.

This allows the children freedom to insert vital parts of their own personalities, quirks and experiences and allow them to feel like a valuable member of the class. Whilst I’m not for a minute saying that class teachers aren’t capable of doing this on a day to day basis, the fact that our sessions are not the same as the rest of the school week allows different children to flourish where they might otherwise struggle to engage.

Whilst I was relatively academic at school, I noticed a significant difference in my ability to retain information if I was able to apply it practically or discover it through an experience. Even now, sometimes I read a page of a book and realise I haven’t got a clue about what was written. Whereas by best friend of sixth form had this infuriating ability to look at a page of notes an hour before an exam and memorise the entire thing (whilst, with a green eye, I toyed with the idea that she might have genuine super powers).

This difference in learning styles is particularly apparent in particular children. Just this afternoon I taught a child who seems to find it very hard to sit still or listen I we are discussing a task, but the moment he is up on his feet and begins to engage physically he is more involved than anyone else in the room.

I only wish it were possible for all lessons to be more creative, for children to be introduced to a wider spread of learning styles, which would undoubtedly enhance their creativity and confidence along the way.

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