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Educational Theories

Vygotsky | Piaget | Kohlberg


* We have interpreted the following theories from the perspective of drama and child development. *


Interpersonal Intelligence | Kinaesthetic Intelligence

Personal Intelligence 


In his book, Howard Gardener examines the existence of eight intelligences, three of which we will discuss directly in relation to Drama.

Interpersonal Intelligence challenges the idea that thinking can somehow be disentangled from thinking. It supports the notion that learning does not occur in a vacuum.

Sociodrama; (making plays about social issues) is based on the learning principles which are relevant to the concerns and views of others; it draws on other people's experiences and engages with social, political and economic issues.

Sociodrama in the classroom expands children's view of the world by introducing them to real issues affecting the greater society. Creating empathy in students through them being aware of the situations of others, ultimately leads to the establishment of a more responsible society.

By actually taking on roles, the student can come to 'feel' what it is like to be in a situation. This alternate perspective encourages students to question previous assumptions and judgements. One teacher we interviewed while on our Prac. described his use of role playing in the classroom as constructing processes of "socialisation". He said "I have watched kids over the time of a production for assembly, move from a very egocentric point of view to a point where they can actually see what is happening from another person's perspective".

Children's own play often consists of them taking on roles and playing out real life situations which they have been exposed to. These experiences, they may encounter later on in life, e.g. playing families, tea parties, doctors, schools, etc. This natural inclination is often viewed as children coming to terms with the world through it's re-enactment. Erikson refers to play and dramatisation as, "the microcosm of the macrocosm." (Childhood and Society.)

In terms of Interpersonal Intelligence, Drama in school has the potential to carve clearer understandings of why events have happened such as war, famine and revolution. Research filtered through emotion as well as intellect creates understanding of how people involved in these situations feel.

Performance contributes to an analysis and development of society. It is an effective social critique. It can encourage social pro activity as opposed to passivity.



"The divorce between the mental and the physical has not infrequently been coupled with the notion that what we do with our bodies is somehow less privileged and less special than than those problem solving routines which are carried out chiefly using language, logic or some other relatively abstract symbolic system" (Howard Gardener pg. 208, Frames of Mind).

Drama, (notably mime and dance),is firmly grounded in the use of the body to skillfully communicate ideas and emotions through movement and gesture. Drama applied in school can assist children in developing and refining ability to use and interpret body language; a vital social skill.

An understanding of 'body' can lead to a greater sense of self. The body is the vessel in which our physical sense of self is contained.

Drama can enhance children's expressive range of mobility, providing an outlet for emotion. Repression of emotion can have negative effects on the growth of personality.

Boleslavksy, a famous French actor says, "the gift of observation must be cultivated in every part your body, not only in your eyes, through the process of reenacting, we become ten times more alert."

This statement is useful from an educational perspective, because if children re-enact a learned concept, (which may be from enacting the 'splitting of atoms' to the 'metamorphosis of a butterfly', that concept will be understood better.

Educationally, Drama can improve cognition through developing an understanding from a greater perspective than just the conventional intellectual.

"Movement can go deeper than words." Jaques Lecoq (French Master).



Howard Gardener discusses the biological foundations of intelligence and the need to take into consideration the nature as well as the variety of human intellectual competencies. Drama, notably creative drama, creative movement and mime are 'emotion centered' approaches. In order to communicate satisfactorily in life, the individual must feel free to express themselves.

"The less a person understands their own feelings, the more they fall prey to them".(T.S Elliot).