‘Fun learning with a touch of drama’

, National 3 minutes, 17 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

INCORPORATING drama techniques in a classroom setting can help with student’s academic performance, said an education officer at the Ministry of Education.

Nurhisyam Al-Muiz Abdul Rahman Ampil, Education Officer at the Curriculum Development Department, said that introducing drama education into a classroom can help improve the mental alertness and concentration of students.

He told The Brunei Times recently that among the drama teaching techniques are drama games, choral speaking, tableaux, role playing and improvisation.

Citing the core subject of Mathematics, the education officer believed that students will be more interested in learning the subject when the teachers form a classroom environment of fun learning.

“Mathematics is too formal and strict. Pupils will learn the mathematical theory such as numeracy, algebra and calculation. The students are focusing more on memorising the skills instead of applying it.

“I believe that students will be more interested in learning what algebra is if they know how to apply it in real life,” said Nurhisyam.

“When the Maths teacher applies basic drama teaching techniques, he or she can create activities in the classroom and allow students to become leaders in the group. They can set up a supermarket scene where students will be able to apply algebra skills when they go out,” he said.

Nurhisyam also responded to issues faced by some university students who acknowledged that they lacked public speaking skills.

Nurhisyam said the Curriculum Development Department has started out a pilot project of introducing drama education as an optional subject in 12 government schools in 2012.

The feedback has been positive over the past three years and there are currently 43 schools, both private and government, that have made drama education as part of their schools’ optional subjects.

“The passing mark for all students doing drama education is 100 per cent so far,” said Nurhisyam, adding that the subject is only available for Years Seven and Eight.

“People often get confused about the benefit of taking up drama lessons... Drama education can help students to become more open-minded and creative,” he said.

Nurhisyam said theatre studies addresses the skills which can benefit student’s education and development in areas including physical development and kinesthetic skills, artistic development, mental development and social development.

He said while many parents fear participation in drama will distract their focus on studies and academic progress, students who are involved in the arts tend to perform better in language-based subjects.

“Academic gains are not the only benefits, students who participate in drama classes also have improved self-confidence, better speaking skills and are able to work through obstacles and have better leadership skills too,” he said.

The education officer added that the use of drama has been integrated in schools over decades.

“Drama is used in delivering cultural shows and dances, it is also used in history lessons where children reenact a scene. This is normally used in history lessons, which makes the lessons more interesting,” he said.

“Drama can be an enjoyable experience for students who are struggling with English language, as it helps them develop verbal and non-verbal communication,” he said.

“Some students are shy and do not like speaking in front of a large crowd so by encouraging them to participate in drama can help them overcome their shyness and sharpen their language fluency,” he added.

Nurhisyam said while drama education offers a learning avenue that enhances student’s public speaking skills, it is also the parents role to encourage their children to read books and to improve presentation skills.

Ummi Aishah Salim, Drama Teacher from Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Secondary School, said teachers can adopt the drama teaching techniques to start a lesson and get ideas on how to improvise on certain subjects to be more engaging.

“At the same time, it will also help students memorise better as they will be memorising scripts and lines during drama lessons,” said the 26-year-old Bachelor of Creative Arts (Drama) graduate from Deakin University.

The Brunei Times