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UofGH Cool Classes: Teaching Drama to Children

Why is the course interesting?

There’s a famous W.C. Fields quote that an actor should never work with children or animals – clearly, Dr. Sharon Reid disagrees.

Dr. Reid’s Electives course "Teaching Drama to Children" at the University of Guelph-Humber provides a comprehensive look at teaching drama to kids in early and middle childhood. The course not only gives students the concrete techniques needed to teach and evaluate the effectiveness of those lessons, but also an understanding of the importance of play and theatre in the lives of children – and their own.

"I just think that drama’s this incredibly powerful, transformative medium," said Dr. Reid, who has taught at UofGH since 2009. “It’s immediate, it’s ephemeral and it appeals to you on an emotional level – it appeals to your passion.

"We always talk about what makes people successful in life; things like grit, passion and perseverance. And that’s what teaching drama to children is. You have to show up. You have to be in the room. You have to be part of a group. You have to put yourself out there. Those things are huge. Those are massive for people."

What will you learn?

Students learn how to facilitate 100 fun and stimulating games for children, as well as how to design activities for students of different ages, strengths and learning styles. Students learn how to write a measurable learning objective, how to create a task-specific analytic rubric, and how to create a lesson form that explains the reasoning behind the games selected as well as problems that could be encountered.

Further, Dr. Reid’s course includes much reflection. Students explore statement of teaching philosophies that look at the big questions of education, in the hopes of developing their analytical and critical-thinking skills.

The course also gives students the opportunity to go out and watch a professional production created for children. Finally, students get to write, direct and act in their own adapted piece of theatre for children.

"They’re usually really fun and really funny," Dr. Reid said.

What will you take away from the course?

"Teaching Drama to Children" is meant to help students build the skillsets necessary to continue on to become teachers. Dr. Reid notes that many students have indeed discovered a passion for the classroom.

Further, the course inspires students to leave their comfort zone and engage in a way that is not always possible in more traditional classroom settings.

"My course is all about immediacy: dealing with people, face-to-face, one-on-one," Dr. Reid said. "The electricity of that contact is so important to people. You’d be amazed at the transformation you see, even in university students, from the first day of class to the last day."