Blog Post: How (not) to teach with drama

Grade Range: 8-12
Resource Type(s): Reference Materials
Date Posted: 5/6/2017

For nearly a decade, the museum has used theater as a means of enlivening the visitor experience and engaging the public in dialogue on challenging topics in history. Thousands of visitors have joined a mock civil rights training session, debated the use of violence with John Brown, or met Louise the Wheelwoman and discovered the social changes wrought through the use of the bicycle. Through our teacher professional development programs, we have taught educators nationwide about how to incorporate these programs into history classes and have seen some excellent, creative examples. However, we have also heard about some troubling uses of drama in the classroom. Theater can be a powerful teaching tool, but one to be used wisely and carefully. Here we share a few guidelines and recommendations for classroom educators on using theater in history teaching.