A Self-Study Examining The Effectiveness of Creative Dramatics With Urban Youth
White, Carmen Irene
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Teachers' lack of ability to bring creativity to their classrooms and students' lack of motivation to learn have captured my attention in examining my own implementation of the concept of creative drama, specifically with urban youth. As a practitioner and now teacher/researcher, I am an accomplished leader of creative dramatics; and this self-study addresses the primary research question: What techniques associated with my implementation of creative dramatics have been proven effective with urban students? Creative drama is a vehicle for developing active learning experiences, especially for urban classrooms where there is need for creative initiatives in the curriculum. Therefore, this study examines my instructional practices in order to provide an understanding of creative drama as it relates to the role of teachers as leaders in urban education. In researching my own practical application of creative dramatics, I had three primary goals: first to better understand my role as a leader of creative drama with my urban students; secondly, to examine the characteristics of urban learners by gaining insight into urban conditioning; and lastly, to know if creative drama engaged and empowered my students to learn with more purpose. This was of significant importance especially since these very same students had been disengaged and had shared disempowering learning experiences. Once I integrated creative drama into the curriculum, my urban students engaged the subject matter and became independent thinkers during the creative process. Additional goals concerned the need to examine the relevance of accessibility and subsequent outcome assessments resulting from urban learners. I wanted to examine the need to offer urban learners creative drama. I found that the creative drama sessions empowered my students to take charge of their learning process. I also captured how elements of the creative drama process transferred into their everyday lives. I discovered that creative drama captured the elements of spirituality, harmony, and individual expressionism that motivated urban youth to take control of their learning experiences. I document how my journey as a leader of creative dramatics with urban youth elevated my level of understanding of my instructional methods, how this enhanced understanding was manifested, and the effectiveness of creative pedagogy. Lastly, but more importantly, this study illustrated the significance of offering creativity to urban youth and documents the success that is captured best in the hearts, minds, and behaviors of my students. These students, as benefactors, offered creative and enlightening information to this study. A contribution of this study to the field of arts-in-education is to provide novice teachers an understanding of how the use of creative drama strategies can help them become more creative and effective in the classroom, especially when working with urban youth.