How Theater Challenges Children’s Minds
Parents and educators are always looking for new, creative ways to stretch the minds of their children and students. There seems to be more and more pressure on children to pass tests, and regurgitation of information is taking place of true creativity. It turns out that children don’t have very far to look to be challenged cognitively in fun and positive ways. Theater is the perfect opportunity to help children reach their cognitive goals.
Bloom’s taxonomy is a set of six cognitive learning objectives, each one more challenging than the next. Each objective is met in theater. Let’s see how.
This one’s easy, and it’s where we all begin when learning. One of the first things an actor does is memorize lines. Think back to your first grade school play. Were you emotive? Were you expressive? Did you come up with a complicated backstory for your character? Probably not. Your main objective was to memorize lines and blocking. But remembering isn’t where acting ends.
If you’ve ever participated in a Shakespearian play, you’ll know how important understanding is. The language is flowery, Elizabethan, and in iambic pentameter. It’s just not how we talk anymore. You probably had to painstakingly read through each line of the play, picking it apart word by word, in order to fully understand it. Acting requires children to understand their lines. Memorizing is great, but understanding is what takes them to greater cognitive heights.
Remembering and understanding go into full effect once your child gets on stage during rehearsals. There is certainly a difference between reciting lines in your living room and reciting them on a stage with other actors. Rehearsals give your child the chance to apply their memorization and understanding. And it’s not until they apply it do they see a need to analyze it.
During rehearsals, children will analyze their own performance as well as the performances of those around them. If the director has worked with children before, hopefully he or she will challenge them to do this on their own.
After analyzing, children will see what does and doesn’t work in a performance. Maybe there’s a glaring problem with the blocking or how they delivered a line. These problems will encourage children to evaluate the performance. They could start to get a better sense of what makes a good show versus what makes a bad show.
Theater requires a lot of creativity from everyone involved. Although actors are mainly utilized to realize the director’s vision, a good director will always allow his or her actors freedom to express their own creativity. As children become more comfortable in their roles and get more experience on the stage, they’ll learn to take creative initiative and play a bigger part in creating a scene.
So, as you can see, theater is not only a fun and creative outlet for kids, it also broadens their intellect. Dynamics always has plenty of roles for kids in our plays. (…and for parents, too.) We hope to see the whole family at our next auditions!