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Strategies to Embrace Theatre and Drama in the Classroom

Team StoryWeavers|August 01, 2023, 22:23 IST|

Theatre and drama strategies in the classroom

Tell me, and I will forget. 

Show me, and I will remember. 

Involve me, and I will understand’. – Benjamin Franklin

Theatre and drama are one of the techniques used by teachers and educators to make classes more lively and interactive. Drama is an interactive, social art form that engages students naturally by drawing upon their enthusiasm, interest and feelings. The integration of drama and theatre in our lessons is not only fun; it also improves skills like active listening, critical thinking, effective communication and creativity. 

Recent research proves that emotions are linked to learning. When students connect emotionally with a concept, they will have a better understanding of it. Teaching using drama brings emotions and learning together. It is proven that students cannot maintain the extensive attention span required by teachers in normal lecture methods. Drama allows students to learn without losing their attention for a long period of time as they become a part of the learning process and not mere observers. In this way, learning is deeper and more sustained. 

In this, the teacher’s role is very important. She/he is a facilitator, guide, director, leader and, sometimes, a role model or a quiz master. 

For example, in a math class, while teaching students about place value, a teacher can become a candy shopkeeper and ask students to pack the candies into rolls of 10s and boxes of 100s. 

We don’t require fancy items or drapery to teach concepts using drama. Class furniture and all that is available in the close vicinity can be used to create a scene. For example, when learning about banking, the teacher and students can use the furniture in the classroom to create a scene of a bank and its different counters. 


5 strategies to use theatre for higher cognitive development in the classroom


  • Hot seat questions

    A wonderful technique to keep the class engaged while improving the communication skills for students. This technique also enables active learning, critical thinking, confidence building as well as active listening. For example, a teacher could act as the prime minister of the country and take the hot seat. The students act as journalists and ask various questions related to the duties and responsibilities of the prime minister. Alternatively, you can have students on the hot seat as well.

  • Role reversal

    An excellent technique used to teach gender and the perspective of teenagers and parents. It compels students to see situations from different points of view. For example, divide the classroom into groups of five. In each  group, let two students act as parents and three students act as children . Have each group debate about the use of social media by children. Ask the students acting as parents to talk from the parents’ perspective and discuss their concerns. The students acting as their children should respond or raise their concerns from the perspective of the children. The role reversal could also be done between teachers and students.

  • Readers Theatre

    Use scripts based on literature or historical events and have students perform them as a form of reader’s theatre. This activity improves students’ reading comprehension, fluency and expression while bringing the text to life.

  • Tableaux

    Divide students into groups and have each group create frozen scenes or tableaux that represent key moments or concepts from the lesson. This activity encourages students to interpret and express their understanding of the material through physical expression.

  • Storytelling

    In this, students use dramatic elements to narrate stories related to any subject matter. This helps with memory retention and understanding complex concepts through narrative structures. For example, students could narrate a story about their trip to the vegetable market and how they used concepts of math like division, multiplication, subtraction, addition, etc., during their shopping experience.

Points to check while implementing drama as an effective teaching tool

  • The lesson should be well-planned by the teacher.
  • The objective and goal should be stated clearly. 
  • Different characters must be visualised. 
  • The use of resources and strategies should be done wisely. 
  • Try to keep it spontaneous, improvised and unscripted to allow students to think out of the box. 

Drama is a powerful tool to build an engaging classroom with effective learning. For students, it also serves as a tool for self-expression, allowing them to explore their creativity and imagination. As educators, we must recognise and embrace the transformative power of drama and theatre in our classrooms and create a positive learning environment in our classrooms.

Authored by Anisha Inamdar, PGT Physics, Air Force School, Chandannagar, Pune

Disclaimer: The views stated in this article are solely those of the author’s. They do not profess to reflect the opinions or views of BYJU’s or its members.

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