An Effective Tool in Promoting Literacy Amongst Primary School Children
Communication is one of the vital skills that an individual should possess, for language skills are particularly important for human development. In line with this, language and speaking skills are not merely important for the development of oneself, but also for the development of other individuals (Ulas 876). Teachers are among those individuals who have to possess exemplary communication and language skills in order to apply “effective teaching methods” and ensure that they are able to get their message across to their students, particularly to those students who are in primary school (Ulas 876).
It is never too early for a teacher to begin promoting “critical literacy awareness” to his or her students (Martello). Children who are in elementary need to be honed to become critical thinkers while they are young. Therefore, a teacher must know what kind of methods he or she should employ in order to get the desired results and aid the children in their literary development (Martello). There are various “oral communication education” methods which a teacher may employ whenever he or she is conducting classes (Ulas 879). However, one of the most effective methods would be the use of “drama activities” in education (Ulas 879).
Drama may also be referred to as “process drama” or “drama in education” (Martello). This type of drama is unlike the type that most people are aware of. It is not about theater or performances; instead, it is a process that entails teachers or educators to conduct fictional and improvised contexts wherein young students are encouraged to face and explore various situations that other people experience in life. The students, of course, are monitored and they may observe such experiences from a protected environment (Martello).
By utilizing drama, the teacher may be able to express the content of his or her curriculum through creative and effective means. It is stated that exploration, as well as role-taking, is important in the learning process (Martello). Effectiveness of Drama in the Classroom Despite the fact that most teachers and educators are encouraged to use process drama in their classes, very few primary school teachers find that they can reap benefits from it. This is due to the reason that various teachers have various insights regarding the use of drama in teaching.
Some are inclined to think that they do not possess sufficient knowledge regarding its usage (Mortello). In fact, there is a study regarding the teachers’ perception of drama in the classroom, where a significant percentage of the respondents have stated that they perceive drama as something that is done in the theater. However, the use of drama in the classroom context may actually prove to be relevant and highly useful. Drama, in fact, should be considered a “pedagogy, a teaching and learning methodology [that has] natural connections to the aims of critical literacy” (Mortello).
Drama is an effective tool to promote literacy amongst primary (elementary) school students (Mortello). In fact, there have been several scientific investigations regarding the benefits of drama, and it is stated that since drama is instructional, educational and creative. It can also contribute positive results to the student’s learning process, as well as his or her speaking and language skills (Ulas 877). Another reason on how drama can be an effective learning tool is that it basically promotes learning since drama encourages young students to be aware of the things that they know.
Usually, children are not conscious of the things that they understand. However, by employing drama in their education, children will become more aware of their knowledge. If they are able to fully understand what their knowledge is, they may be able to properly utilize it in the future (Martello). Apart from this, drama allows young children to examine and explore various situations and problems, and create their own solutions, without being exposed to harmful risks. This is important, for children will be able to hone their decision-making skills and be aware of various situations and problems (Martello).
Moreover, according to Ulas (877), drama also enables students to put themselves in the context of various written works, creating a larger chance for better comprehension of the literary work. It enables them to place themselves “directly in the learning experience” which is found in the literary work, rather than being merely told about it, which hinders their creativity (Ulas 877). In a study conducted in a school in Erzurum, Turkey, elementary school students were used as respondents for an experiment using drama as an “alternative education method” (Ulas 879).
The results were remarkable; the students who were part of the experiment had significantly improved in their interpretation as well as oral skills. Thus, in a nutshell, utilizing drama in the learning process enabled students to gain different perspectives when studying literature, as well as improvement in their pronunciation (Ulas 879). Summary As seen in the discussion above, drama is very useful in enforcing a creative learning environment for the students. It enables students to see different perspectives, as well as helps them develop their critical thinking skills and language skills.
Since drama is an approach which involves different perspectives and beliefs, it will provide both students and teachers with various opportunities to analyze the concepts presented in their classes, as well as the ideas found on various literary works. Doing so will exercise and enhance the reasoning and language skills of the students, giving them significant chances to improve and hone their skills (Martello). It is of course necessary to state that using drama in an elementary classroom is not merely the means to enhance the literacy of the students.
The teacher who is employing such practice should be willing to be patient and committed. Since “drama in education” involves critical questions and activities, the teacher must be able to play his or her part appropriately (Martello). Simply using a different perspective does not mean that one is employing drama and that it constitutes a critical analysis (Martello). If drama teachers are present in various classes, they may be able to promote literacy and critical thinking amongst elementary students by devising various activities which enable the students to explore and analyze different versions of a certain event.
However, it must be remembered that drama will only be able to guide students into critical understanding of written and spoken texts only if the process is properly used in their classes with the guide of their teachers (Martello).
Martello, Julie. “Drama: Ways into Critical Literacy in the Early Childhood Years. ” Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 24. 3 (2001): n. pag. CBS Interactive Inc. Web. 6 May 2010. Ulas, Abdulhak Halim. “Effects of Creative, Educational Drama Activities on Developing Oral Skills in Primary School Children. ” American Journal of Applied Sciences 5. 7 (2008): 876-880. Print.Sample Essay of EduBirdie.com