Stage play and acting would come to mind when we think of Drama. But at Farrer Park Primary School, Drama Education is more than a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA). It is also a teaching tool based on pedagogical studies and approaches implemented internationally, such as in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Drama as a classroom teaching tool
“Drama in education is for everyone. You may not like acting or you may not even be outspoken, but drama can make an impact on you,” said Ms Faith Huang, Head of Department for Drama and English (Lower Primary).
Standing in front of a class, a student begins to giggle and bend over in laughter while classmates try to guess the emotion she is acting out. Using drama in this English lesson of “Show, Don’t Tell”, students become aware of body language and expressions, which helps them to be more descriptive and creative in their writing.
In Mother Tongue classes, drama encourages students to speak the language. Aside from acting out stories, they also take the “Hot Seat” where a student would take on a persona and be interviewed by his classmates. Putting himself in the character’s shoes, the student explains the reasons, emotions and possible actions of the character.
“The quietest student can come up with brilliant responses,” said Ms Huang.
Drama in character and values education
Students and teachers also explore how role-play can be used to discuss values and widen perspectives. Through Process Drama, students work through imaginary scenarios, discussing the problems and themes within them
“Process drama is not about acting. It is about using drama strategies for children to engage on real-life issues,” said Ms Huang.
This year, every class acted out the story of “The Giving Tree”, which follows the life and relationship of a tree and a boy. Students considered both characters’ points of view, and through them, learn the importance of making informed decisions and having empathy for others.
Acting may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but students would still often offer comments and opinions. The session left a deep impression on students, with discussions continuing amongst themselves and with their parents.
Grooming Budding Talents
Students with the aptitude and interest in drama also take it one step further with the Drama Club. Through a modular system, students get try out different co-curricular activities over six-month periods, before choosing if to stay on, or try something else.
“At first I was nervous and afraid that I would say something wrong,” said Nabeelah, 11, as she recalled her first acting experience, “But as I did more acting, I became more confident.”
To enhance the in-house instruction by drama-trained teachers, professional actors and directors are sometimes invited to share. Students also attend professional shows for more exposure.