Many educators have requested some deeper thinking about Character Education and Anti-Bullying in regards to drama teaching. I want to start a discussion here. Please add your thoughts to the conversation
Toward a Peaceful, Anti-Bullying Classroom
Building character and working toward peaceful, harmonious classrooms, void of bullying and negativity toward others is a goal we all strive for in education. Drama is a powerful tool to make this a reality because it deals with human conflict and resolution, understanding the impact of emotions and empathy on events, and the morality and ethics of human behavioral choices. Dorothy Heathcote used to say, “Drama is about real man in a mess.” The three areas on which I like to focus drama work when planning for character education and social/emotional learning are:
Developing Personal Character Traits where students practice empathy for others and demonstrate respect through word and action. During this practice students analyze emotions and actions that cause emotional reactions. They discuss consequences of choices and “try on” character traits that are different from themselves. In addition it is about having students study the lives of real people who have displayed character traits to be emulated and playing out scenes from the lives of those individuals.
Handling Conflict and Teamwork where students analyze the nature of conflict through identifying the types of conflict, discussing stereotyping, exploring alternative courses of action, discussing the causes of conflict, and analyzing conflict in literature. Here they also have a chance to predict consequences, practice negotiation strategies, demonstrate group dynamics, listening and brainstorming. Lastly, there is also a focus on emotion management where students identify emotions and physical reactions to those emotions while uncovering actions that cause them to feel certain ways.
Self Esteem and Self-Care where students learn to like and care for the self. This area is about developing trust for others; taking risks in doing something outside of their comfort area, and building pride in one’s own skills while acquiring self- knowledge.
I have included a chart below that illustrates how these three areas work with drama and with lessons you will find online at OneStopDRAMAShop.com. Classrooms can reflect cohesion and camaraderie. Bullying can be eliminated and replaced with empathy. Drama is one anti-bullying tool that can move that process quickly along.
Drama Lessons & Character Education Chart
Download this chart that links drama lessons to support character education.
by Karen Erickson