DIE is a teaching method that uses the art form of theatre facilitate students’ access to literature and lingistic structures.
In DIE-lessons, students take on the role of actor/actress as well as sepctator. They take turns working on and presenting specific drama techniques and subsequently giving feedback to and critically analysing their classmates’ presentations. This means:
- Verbalising their observations
- Giving an interpretation of what has been shown
- Judging the aethetic quality of the presentation, which includes observing body language, facial expression, spacial harmony of a still image or short scene.
Drama work consists of the following three steps:
Drama work in DIE is shown exclusively to the members of the class and not to an external audience.
- physical movement
- working in different settings with new group members
- decision-taking in smaller and larger groups
- being listened to, accepting suggestions from classmates, testing out different options, finding a solution
- stepping beyond one’s personal comfort zone within the safe environment of the drama setting
- use of body language, facial expression and voice in a meaningful context
- experiencing a variety of emotions and experimenting with different moods
- using creativity and imagination – thinking outside the box
- intellectual and emotional focus on the here and now
- stepping out of teacher-centred instruction
- offering access to literature and language through visual and aesthetic means
- fostering students’ creativity
- channelling students’ creativity by giving a clearly defined frame-work
- helping break up patterns of interaction within a class or group
- supporting and challenging individual students according to their personal talents
Cognitive gain from DIE
- Drama students develop personally, emotionally and mentally, because
- Learning is visual, kinaesthetic, creative and emotional
- The content of a lesson is anchored in the students’ memory through movement, action and emotion
- Students work towards their learning goals by considering subject matter from different points of view – on an intellectual level but also very literally in their drama tasks.
Drama in education and presentation skills
While being engaged in drama work, students gain further understanding about
- the group and their position within the group
- their voice
- non-verbal means of communication
- connectedness with the actors and actresses in their group
- connectedness with the audience through visual contact and emotional presence
All of this is necessary for a successful appearance in front of an audience, be that in a drama or a non-drama context at the occasion of
- giving presentations
- participating in meetings
- job interviews etc.
Based on Hornbrook, David (1998). Education and Dramatic Art, 2nd Ed. London and New York: Routledge.