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Teachers use drama to foster creativity and writing skills

Jamaica Gleaner / Twenty teachers from six primary and secondary schools participated in a process drama workshop held at the St Michael’s Primary School on Tower Street in Kingston on October 13, 2017. Hosted by The MultiCare Youth Foundation (MYF), the training was aimed at encouraging the teaching of creativity in classrooms and, particularly, the nurturing of creative-writing skills.

Presented by Brian Heap, MYF’s volunteer performing arts coordinator and lecturer at The University of the West Indies, the full-day workshop explored the use of basic fun and drama techniques in educational settings, with an emphasis on process drama, story-drama, and drama experiences that support learning and the making of meaning within the school environment.

Participants were exposed to various methods of role play and a broad range of stories for children, including books that address common issues faced by students, which can be used as the basis for developing drama experiences in the classroom. The literature provides rich opportunities for problem solving, decision making, and reflection.

According to Heap: “By equipping teachers with the requisite creative techniques, they can, in turn, assist children and young people in developing literacy skills, while also refining critical thinking and cognitive skills, thereby helping them to realise their full creative potential.”

The Process Drama Workshop is the first in a series of teacher-training workshops being offered under The MultiCare Youth Foundation’s Performing Arts Programme to teachers in the 31 MultiCare-assisted schools in east, west, and central Kingston and Greater Portmore.

The programme is supported through grant funding from the American Friends of Jamaica.

Participating teachers indicated that the content of the workshop was creative and effective and could easily be applied in delivering the curriculum to students in different subject areas and at various levels. Among them were the principal, vice-principal and teachers of St Michael’s Primary and Infant Schools and teachers from Holy Family Primary, St Jude’s Primary, North Street Primary, Whitfield Town Primary, and Donald Quarry High School.

Delivery of these workshops is in keeping with the Foundation’s mission and mandate to enhance the lives of vulnerable and marginalised children and youth through educational and recreational programmes.

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