An underrated enrichment program for children is drama classes. There are many Chinese speech and drama classes in Singapore and the numbers
raise an important question: what are the benefits of using drama as a teaching aid to learn Chinese? Drama is a powerful teaching tool which is
capable of stimulating real-life situations to build confidence. Unlike other enrichment programs, drama classes demand the input of every participating
student ensuring that no child is left behind. Be it acting, dancing or recitation, each child is given a platform to give into their imagination and bring
a concept to life. The intension of an enrichment class is to enrich students by challenging them to mind stimulant activities.
Drama is an apt enrichment program for children for various reasons. A few of which are:
” Apart from polishing language skills, drama teaches the right pronunciation and intonation.
” Every parent can vouch for the lack of concentration of their child. It is next to impossible to keep a child interested for more than 5 minutes.
Teachers have to constantly seek new methods to hold the attention of the classroom. Drama is an effortlessly riveting activity which gives children a sense
of purpose and responsibility. When learning is fun, interest comes without coaxing. Children are deeply involved in the activities and concentrate on the
completion of the given task. Most sessions involve listening activities where the children are asked to listen and recognize the speaker.
” Adults are most comfortable when they wear a mask. Children are not shy to begin with (they are still untouched by the brutal judgement of the world)
but there are many who need a slight encouraging push in the right direction. In a few weeks, the shy boy/girl from class will willingly walk up and recite without hesitation.
” You can be the world s most brilliant mind but if you re unable to express yourself, you will always remain unknown. Drama emphasizes on self-expression.
Vocabulary of the child is contributed by the new words they learn with each recital. They also learn new games and participate in role playing. Communication is
not just restricted to verbal dialogues, children are encouraged to use non-verbal communication such as facial and hand gestures.
” Cooperation is a basic skill which we fail to teach. Improvisation, singing and playing together is a team effort and requires cooperation of all participants.
With practice, children understand the importance of relying on each other in the effort to put up an applaud-worthy show. Children love the spotlight and will behave accordingly for the reward.
” Children pick up Chinese in no time when they start learning songs and games. Since teaching is not in a formal setting, the fun environment is effective in
understanding concepts like numbers, places, names and other important lessons.
” Children are highly imaginative. Their creativity leads to the genesis of incredulous stories, events and in a few cases, imaginary friends. Presenting a
child with a concept of the world around them, gives them an opportunity to investigate and understand. Interest is sparked to learn more about facts which fascinate them.
” Emotional intelligence is as important as IQ. Children are encouraged to act out emotions enabling them to assess the feeling. As a result, they become more
ware of their emotions and develop empathy.
Teaching is successful in a positive environment. Drama classes create a support system where children rely on each other and form new connections. Unlike school, at
enrichment classes smaller groups are made and the child has to interact with others. Learning is accelerated when there are helpful friends around.