Date of Award

Spring 1991

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Grange, William

Second Advisor

Olson, Gregory

Third Advisor

Abbott, Michael

Abstract

In this day and age there is a sense that one has to defend the place of arts in our society. The National Endowment for the Arts has experienced severe cuts by the federal government due to many factors; among them the controversy surrounding various art works and various groups wanting more control of works created by individual or group artists. The arts in the schools have also had budgetary problems, since the arts are usually the first to take the fiscal cuts in a school system. As a teaching-artist in drama for the past six years, I have seen firsthand the benefits of a creative dramatics curriculum in the schools. Very few quantitative studies have been completed in the field of creative dramatics however, and this could possibly lead to the incorrect assumption that the field of creative dramatics has yet to be validated as a teaching tool to be used in the schools. It is very difficult to quantify this creative process. The time has come however when the defense of this art form in our schools is no longer appropriate. Creative arts are a needed and valuable curriculum for our schools. This thesis is an examination of the creative dramatics process; the history of this art form, the definition of what exactly the process is for the child, and the learning potential inherent in this process. Through this creative dramatics process a child is able to improve his or her cognitive development and language growth and to enhance their abilities to learn problem-solving skills and the ability to articulate and communicate one's ideas, thoughts and feelings to other members of a community. The child of the 21st century needs these communication skills more than ever. Learning to work cooperatively together in a vastly shrinking world is one of the greatest gifts we can impart to our schoolchildren.

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