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Drama in Environmental Education

Originally appears in the Fall 2005 issue

The use of drama can greatly enhance and reinforce learning in environmental education. When students study a subject in order to dramatize it, they are challenged to explore topics from many points of view and to communicate their learning creatively. In do so, they not only achieve greater understanding and retention, but also gain insight into themselves, other people, and even other living beings. By entering the role of another being, they realize that many of their own needs and emotions are universal and that all life is interconnected. Drama can thus consolidate and extend students’ direct experience of the natural world and foster the empathy that is essential if students are to appreciate and ultimately protect it.

Although I use drama across the curriculum, I find it particularly useful for environmental education, both in the classroom and with student environmental clubs. The following are examples of the types of dramatic activity that I used most frequently. They include:

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Shelagh Levey last taught at Gordon Head Elementary School in Victoria, British Columbia. She is currently retired and working on environmental projects in her community. Her book Touch The Future: A Guide for Environmental Education is available from the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation at this address: BCTF Lesson Aides, 100 – 550 West 6th Avenue.