Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Teachers’ Guidelines

Homepage > Teachers’ Guidelines > Theatre as Experiential Learning Tool

The role of theatre as a site for learning in a community context and how it can provide informal learning opportunities for young people experiencing social difficulty

Theatre as Experiential Learning Tool:
Step by Step Process to Implement Theatrical Laboratories in Classroom

Table of Content

3 Theatre Laboratory (Theatre Lab) as a Space for Learning and Developing Social Skills
OFF-book Theatre Lab places emotional, cognitive and behavioural people components and their creative potentiality at the centre of the training process. OFF-book Theatre Lab is characterized as a privileged educational tool to meet the training needs not completely covered by traditional training. Theatre reveals people’s potential attitudes, promotes free expression, encourages relationships’ management and the ability to respond individually and collectively to the stimuli from time to time encountered. OFF-book Theatre Lab represents the space in which individual and collective realization can be cultivated.

OFF-book Theatre Lab works constantly with students on two levels:
  1. On the group level;
  2. On the individual level

Analysing point 1, we immediately see that the theatrical laboratory is a privileged space for learning social behaviours and not just a school of 'dramatic art' that works mainly on the rational cognitive sphere.

OFF-book Theatre Lab at school has a human training educational purpose and it is a space in which students can discover guidance to the management of relationships. OFF-book Theatre Lab for students is focused on the process rather than on the product. Focus is on the way in which the activities are carried out, putting the concrete result of the final performance in second place. The final performance that is shown to the public must be formally precise and valuable in terms of aesthetic standards taken as reference, but more important it is the educational effectiveness of the path taken by the pupils-actors and by all those who have participated. This dimension in which all the work with the students is carried out, is expressly declared during the opening of the OFF-book Theatre Lab and allows the students to move in a comfort zone, free from the judgement related to the performance. Peer relationships are developed through trial-error mechanisms, not recreated in the context of traditional training. This atmosphere helps group inclusion and students permanence within the school.

Analysing point 2, we see OFF-BOOK theatrical laboratory as privileged space for growth, in which there is constant reflection between the student and the use of his body. A fundamental actors’ objective is to reach a full awareness of their potential and their limits, in order to better express themselves and communicate. In this journey of progressive self-awareness the actor’s first step is represented by the experimentation of every aspect of his own physicality, to get to know his own body and all his expressive potential. Knowing his own body means perceiving rhythms and communication methods. To reach this goal pupils-actors are involved in activities aimed at acquiring their corporeality during OFF-book Theatre Lab initial phase. OFF-book Theatre Lab represents a concrete and virtual space in which one can experiment, develop and analyse all the dynamics listed above.
Online Resources
  • Spaces for learning a review of learning spaces in further and higher educationThe report gives an overview of trends in learning and teaching that play a major role in shaping the physical learning environment (section 3). Evidence on the effectiveness of learning spaces is summarised, together with implications for sustainability, density, utilisation and space management (section 5).
  • Student Practices and Their Impact on Learning SpacesThe article tells about students’ behaviour and how they are no longer confined to computer terminals; indoor and outdoor spaces can become study areas or a social space as long as the Internet and power are available. It tells about the importance of non-formal space as space where people can develop social skills.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.