Drama: To teach or not to teach…

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This term my whole brain is taken up with our Primary School production. It is called ‘Forty’ and is based on our school’s fortieth year celebrations. I have been dreaming songs from forty years ago, shows, bible stories and costumes and witty lines and the logistics of having 120 children off and on a stage. Quite a job.

It has got me thinking ‘why?’ Why do we bother? Why do I bother? Why spend hours writing and casting and directing and practising and practising and practising…? To tell you the truth, NOT having the production is a lot easier on myself and the teaching staff. So why do we do it?

My mind immediately jumps back to the Finale of Esther two years ago. 120 children were singing their hearts out, with arm actions; I am royalty, I have destiny, I have been set free, I’m going to shape History (Jesus Culture: The Anthem). It still sends tingles down my spine. Our awesome children declaring their faith in God and belief in a future shaped by Him.

But it’s more than that. I love seeing children grow, see them take on the challenge of learning lines, defeat the fear of performing in front of an audience, find ability within themselves that they didn’t know was there, to sing, act, perform, shine, make others laugh, be part of a huge team, listen for cues, support each other, so many things!

If I think about the idea of a Growth Mindset that Mr Astronaut, I mean Mr Roberts, has been writing about. Drama, and therefore the production, is all about embracing a Growth Mindset and giving students an opportunity to practise it. As Drew said;

‘individuals who possess a Growth Mindset believe that their skills and abilities can be cultivated through effort and perseverance. These individuals view tough situations as challenges and are willing to apply multiple strategies or seek assistance to solve the problem’.

Dancing, acting, staging, singing, learning lines and characters, are all skills that require effort and perseverance. This last week I have watched 37 Grade 5/6 students struggle with learning, ‘The Nutbush’ dance and all dance together on the stage. Some refused at first, then struggled, then pushed through and finally, all of them were laughing and performing together. Some vocalised that they were struggling, and so others came beside them and helped. Now I smile when I’m on playground duty and I see groups of children dancing and practising together.

So the production is about the performance, but it’s also about students stretching, growing, failing and learning new skills, feeling a part of our wonderful and encouraging community, knowing they have a place, that they are seen and valued, not only by us their teachers and parents, but also by their creator God who looks on them with such love and pride.

Please come and support us September 25th and 26th. Prepare to be amazed! 

Annie Joy - Primary Coordinatior