4 Reasons Theatre Should Be A Core Subject In Schools | The Odyssey

Art is just as important as math.

Source: 4 Reasons Theatre Should Be A Core Subject In Schools | The Odyssey

Someone (cannot remember who) posted this article on Facebook today, and I felt the need to share it because I agree with it, but I think the author needed to add some key things to it, especially after reading the comments.  So I am going to take what they said, summarize, add to, and possibly add more to it in order to show how important this subject matter is to me.

So, I am a Drama Teacher.  I have a Masters Degree in Secondary Education, and a Bachelor’s in Theatre Arts (with Performance Concentration).  Theatre is such a big part of who I am that I see it’s benefits all the time.  Should Theatre be a Core Subject:  YES.  Here are some reasons why:

  1. Theatre Teaches you how to work with people.
    In life, often times you get so focused on yourself that you do not realize all the parts that got you to where you are now.  It is not about your single moment in the spotlight (which is still something to enjoy) but all the collaboration that goes into it.  One of the most common sayings out there is “There are no small roles, only small actors,” which says that everyone made that moment possible, not just the one person on stage.
  2. Theatre is an escape.
    This one hits home for me.  When I started acting in Middle and High School, the Drama and Fine Arts Department at my school were where I would go when I was not feeling the greatest.  I had some self-esteem issues, but when I was acting… I was the center of my own universe for just a small amount of time.  I could be someone else, but I could still bring MYSELF to it.  My performance would be drastically different than anyone else’s but was still valid.  You can create.  You can get rid of all that stupid teenage angst that we all seemed to have at this point in our lives.
  3. Theatre humbles you.
    No one is ever going to be the “best actor in the world” because there is so much to learn and so many different styles to choose from (and that is subjective as it is).  Part of getting notes about your performance is realizing that the director is not attacking you.  He WANTS you to get better.  When you get better, the whole production gets better.  Being able to take criticism and apply it without becoming defensive or egotistical is hard, especially if it something you have worked so hard for.  But it is a wonderful skill to have.
  4. It is cross-curricular.
    This is one that I feel the author of the original article did not touch on, but someone in the comments section did, so I am going to use a quote from it.  “[T]here are other qualitative reasons, such as Math (assuming it is a musical, but also math and physics skills used in set building), History (if it is based on a historical event… like when my High School performed A Tale of Two Cities), Literature (Shakespeare anyone?) and probably a few others I haven’t thought of. It can integrate into the other areas of study.”  Theatre incorporates everything, including all the cores listed, and some other higher sciences such as psychology, and sociology as we are trying to take the human condition and replicate it under these imaginary circumstances.
  5. Theatre Teaches Acceptance.
    Theatre requires you to be vulnerable, which is something that a lot of people are scared to do.  This is why the number one skill in the world is Public Speaking.  We do not want to appear as vulnerable and do not want to feel like others are judging us.  When I was doing my student teaching last semester, I started out the class with a project that was all about self-reflection and personal narritive, where the students would tell me and the rest of the class a little bit about themselves.  They would talk about their home lives, and often would feel comfortable enough to talk about harder things.  Sometimes there were tears, as the students were reliving moments of their lives that they wanted to forget, but we were able to channel that energy into making a room where everyone was safe.  Everyone saw each other as the person that they were: human.  No one is perfect and all races, creeds, sexual orientations, and anything else were left at the door.  We are human first.

Now it looks like I just added one point and changed the wording on the other four, but eh, it works.  One thing however did catch my eye in the comments section, and you can probably see it if you go to the page.  There was a man who commented this:

[S]ports do the same thing. If someone were to propose mandatory enrollment in a sport, it would be struck down. Why? Not everybody is capable of practicing sports-it requires a similar minimum level of physical ability as theatre. Not everybody is “into” sports. The stage of heroes is a small stage; if everybody in the school were to join theatre, you would have dozens of extras, most only part of the performance for moments. also, there is a level of competition involved, such as vying for key roles. not everyone wants to be a part of that, and top talent would get the gold. Also, simply tracking participation is a potential nightmare, especially for larger schools. the teacher input required is enormous already for the respective niches of sports and theatre. if you were to expand either to include the entire school, it would strain personnel and break the banks of public education. where would that money come from? it would be really irresponsible to ask for it from our already debt-laden national government, especially when we are on the verge of a large military conflict with ISIL, not to mention the crap being pulled by Iran and the PRK.

Well ignoring the fact that he turned it into a rant about the way the United States government is handling it’s funding, I will move on.  I said:

I think you have never actually taken a Drama or Theatre class before, based upon this response. Having a class that teaches this discipline is very different than everyone just putting on a play. You use sports as an example. Well (at least in this state) there is a class for that, which is mandatory: Physical Education. PE doesn’t make every single person join the Basketball Team, but it gives them the opportunity to test their abilities, and their grade is measured on effort and growth than actual ability. Theatre is absolutely NO different.