Drama programs teach practical skills

May 28, 2013

By Veronica Austin

Fine arts credits make up merely 3.5 percent of the total required credits to graduate at Liberty High School and 4.5 percent at Issaquah and Skyline high schools.

While algebraic ability and an understanding of American government are certainly invaluable, skills gleaned from involvement in the arts, particularly drama classes and productions, are equally applicable to the world outside high school.

Veronica Austin Liberty High School

Veronica Austin
Liberty High School

“I would like to see the arts integrated more into the core curriculum,” Liberty drama teacher and director Katherine Klekas said. “When I taught for a couple of years in Germany, I noticed that every student was automatically signed up for music and art classes… They weren’t ‘electives.’ The ability to read music and sketch things were considered part of a basic education.”

The arts, Klekas said, are both practical and beneficial in a variety of ways; not only can the integration of art forms make core classes like math and social studies more engaging, but students in drama classes learn “skills that are highly valuable in the work place and in life,” Klekas said.

It is often difficult when doing differential equations or recounting the Peloponnesian War (or trying to spell Peloponnesian) to imagine the circumstances in which such information would be useful; in drama, however, the practical benefits are obvious.

“I see such growth in students from the first day of a rehearsal to the closing performance,” Klekas said. “Those who stick with it through the whole process are invariably more confident, more responsible and more aware of how their actions impact others.”

She adds that drama students are forced to learn “scheduling, working constructively with other people in stressful situations, creative problem solving, committing things to memory, budgeting, self-control…”

While knowledge of imaginary numbers, the capitols of Asian countries and which B vitamin is which may help you pass a few tests, drama, it seems, has slightly more long-term rewards.

 

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