Practicing for Life: Creative Drama and Role-Playing in the Classroom

By Nancy Harding and Greg Vega.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 5, 2014 $US5.00

This article demonstrates the value of implementing creative drama and role-playing as tools for teachers to use to facilitate inclusivity among diverse students in K-12 classrooms. In the US, educators are mandated to increase students’ standardized test scores. This performance-oriented environment makes it increasingly difficult to promote the social skills and caring classroom environments students need. Throughout history, theater has been considered “practice for life;” the concepts and skills in this article facilitate students’ ability to practice and explore the complex social situations that they encounter within and outside of school. In an educational environment that mandates prescribed and scripted curriculum, how do educators make time for creating an inclusive classroom community? How do they teach students the skills they need to navigate life? Rather than another scripted curriculum, educators need tools they can integrate into their classroom in a creative and timely manner. Creative drama and role-playing offers a solution to these problems and enhances learning environments that have become standardized and resistant to addressing the social needs of students. This article presents many of the concepts and skills of socio-drama and role-playing that can be implemented in the classroom and other professional environments. Included are a number of warm up activities and role-playing scenarios that are applicable in numerous settings. Inclusivity based on gender, race, sexual identity, and socioeconomic status is an ongoing issue in the US. Educators understand this but are frustrated because they have neither the training nor the time to create classroom environments in which students feel safe to express themselves. Embracing the principles outlined in this article assists educators’ abilities to integrate and promote a social learning environment that values expression and celebrates diversity.

Keywords: Inclusivity, K-12, Education Role-playing

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 13, Issue 4, September 2014, pp.21-29. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 5, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 240.293KB)).

Dr. Nancy Harding

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine University, Encino, CA, USA

Greg Vega

Graduate Research Assistant, Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine University, Encino, CA, USA