Integrating drama saves time by accelerating learning. This is the final blog answering this question I've often heard: "where do we get the time to integrate drama into the classroom?"
Where do we get the time to integrate? I think the bigger question is, “Why aren’t we integrating across the curriculum more than we do, naturally, throughout the day?” The brain sees patterns and builds on what it knows to form new thoughts and ideas. Noted neuropsychology experts Caine and Caine* talk about how the brain likes to make connections and search for meaning. Integration among subjects is not a time waster but a necessity for brain based learning.
Think back to some of your most memorable learning experiences. Were you passive or active?
We have no further to look than at how our own brains function.
Today I was at the Maritime Museum in Santa Barbara reading about Captain Cook. About 25 years ago I wrote and performed in a play I had written about Captain Cook and his “discovery” of Australia. In researching the historical background for that play, I read about his travels, his life before exploration, and his death. Today, I read that while on Tahiti, some of his officers and crew mingled with the people and experienced tattooing, leading to the association of tattoos with sailors, who then spread it to the Western world. While reading the document my thoughts went to Gaugin and his stunning visual images of Tahiti and Tahitians My brain connected information from research on the life of Captain Cook, maritime activities related at the museum, and visual images captured by a great artist weaving a personal understanding of the events, people, and impact of the art of tattooing on today’s life.
These were connections my brain was making in free association and thought patterns. Our brains are consistently trying to connect “dots.” These patterns lead to the retention of knowledge. These opportunities for pattern making can be consciously planned as happy discoveries for students. Trying to push ideas into someone’s brain simply doesn’t work as we would like. The brain likes mystery and puzzles. It wants to devise its own understanding from bits and pieces of collected data and images.
We learn through patterns, puzzles, and connections. So do students. Drama provides the place for exploration and discovery as an alternative to passively interacting with knowledge.
You must have stories about drama’s impact on understanding and retention? Share them here with us. Let’s celebrate this remarkable instructional tool: Drama!
* Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain, Renate N. Caine and Geoffrey Caine (1991,1994)
* 12 Brain/Mind Learning Principles in Action (2nd Ed) Renate N Caine, Geoffrey Caine, Carol McClintic, Karl Klimek. (2008) Corwin Press