From 6th to 9th November, 2012, we did a 4-day workshop for a group of teachers working with the Jindal Schools. They came from the OP Jindal School at Barbil, Odisha, the Community College at Barbil, as well as rural schools on the periphery. The results were deeply insightful, enriching, and rewarding. On the 3rd and 4th day of the workshop, the teachers who were trained in the use of theatre for teaching subjects in the classroom, worked with 2 groups of 8th standard students to teach various subjects like Social Studies, Physics, Literature, and General studies. After experiencing a 2 hour session with the teachers, the students shared their experience. Some of the significant thoughts shared by the students were:
• "We always thought that learning was serious. We now realise that it can also be fun."
• "We were able to understand the subjects taught far more quickly, and easily, and we don't think we will forget what we learned"
• "Till now we were afraid of our teachers. We now feel very comfortable with them and will have no hesitation in sharing our thoughts and concerns with them"
• "In addition to learning the subject we learned that we can work well in a team and coordinate well with other people to work together happily"
• "We realised the meaning of leadership"
• "We lost a good deal of our stage fear and are confident that we can take up such challenges in future and do well." The Process On the first day, we put a group of around 40 teachers through an intense workshop where they experienced the power of theatre as an experiential, transformational, and enjoyable learning medium.
On the second day, we worked with a group of 20 teachers from the initial batch of 40, to explore how we could convert lessons from the syllabus into theatre-based learning modules.
On the third day, the teachers with some help from us, worked with a group of 30 students using theatre for teaching various subjects.
On the 4th day, the teachers independently handled another group of 30 students and found that they were capable of facilitating a similar learning experience.
From the overall experience we are convinced that integrating theatre as a co-curricular learning tool will not only make the teaching of the prescribed subjects and lessons more interesting, effective, and enjoyable, but also enable comprehensive learning in personal and team effectiveness. By the time these students pass out of school, they will equipped not only with knowledge but also various attitudinal skills that can make them sought after assets in corporates or most other areas of work. It is also possible to further integrate simple theatre tools to empower communication in terms of voice modulation, vocabulary, body language, emotional empowerment, and accent neutralisation. Other than the initial investment in conducting the workshop, there is hardly any cost involved. All that is required is the willingness of the stakeholders - primarily teachers, parents, and the school administration - to step beyond the conventional boundaries of teaching into a far more effective mode of facilitating learning through creative interaction, exploration, and experiencing.
For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org - or email@example.com. "ClassroomTheatre" is a derivative of the "CorporateTheatre" methodology, conceived and developed by Paul Mathew, and facilitated by Paul Mathew and Prakash Dharmarajan.