Teaching Children Through Movement & Drama

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  • 0:04 Learning Through Drama
  • 1:14 Understanding Learning Styles
  • 1:54 Learning Through Movement
  • 3:34 Important Considerations
  • 4:15 Movement-Based…
  • 4:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Michael Quist

Michael has taught college-level mathematics and sociology; high school math, history, science, and speech/drama; and has a doctorate in education.

The process of teaching children can be more effective when elements of movement and drama are integrated into their lessons. Learn how to create high-impact active learning experiences for students.

Learning through Drama

She never forgot that moment. Shirley watched as members of her fifth grade class enacted a version of the famed balcony scene from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Suddenly, the classroom's Juliet burst into tears. ''I get it now!'' she said. ''Romeo and Juliet just want to be friends but their parents don't want them to. It's so sad!''

Children know instinctively what the rest of us tend to forget. Drama and bodily motion tend to make real the things that we wish to learn. Creating dynamic opportunities for students may require a paradigm shift in the idea of education; yet dynamic opportunities empower the learning potential of every child.

When children read a play from their textbooks, only their visual sense is actively pointed at the objective. When students read aloud from the textbook, visual and the auditory senses are stimulated. However, when students perform the play, an entire array of sensations arise to support a new understanding of the subject matter. Introducing drama into the classroom translates paper-bound concepts that might not be understood or appreciated by all students into imaginative realities that they can embrace.

Understanding Learning Styles

Psychologists have identified that most students learn through visual, auditory or kinesthetic experiences. Some learners favor one learning style more than another, and some learners favor a combination of them. Visual learners respond best to bright colors, meaningful images, and viewing object relationships. Auditory learners respond well to music and reinforcing verbalizations. Kinesthetic learners respond best to completing actions, such as clapping their hands or touching objects. However, all types of learners can benefit from movement-based activities because there's a direct correlation between memory and movement in the brain.

Learning through Movement

Marian's math students just couldn't seem to make the transition from the subject of addition to that of subtraction. She decided she'd arrange a game of ball and activate learning in her classroom. She placed eight children in a circle, giving each one a number from 1 to 8. Each student was to bounce the ball to the next one in the count. Bouncing the ball to each other, the children counted, laughing and having a good time: ''1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8!''

Then Marian pointed at three of the eight children and motioned them out of the circle. The three children were not happy to be pulled out of the game, but they were curious. The remaining children in the circle were renumbered and the count began again. They bounced the ball to one another, counting: ''1…2…3…4…5…''

Laughing, Marian shouted to everyone, ''How many are left?''

The children, happy to be able to shout, yelled, ''Five!''

''So if I have eight, and I take away three, how many will be left?'' she asked.


A connection was made. Following that point, the children were able to visualize the idea of subtraction.

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