Teamwork, communication and empathy: a case study examining social skills in drama class
Goodman, David Sidney
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This single case study utilizes a mixed method design to explore the learning of key social skills, Teamwork, Communication and Empathy, in a middle school drama class, and whether these skills contributed to learning in other academic subjects. The purpose of this study was to investigate the viewpoints of drama from different perspectives in the educational system. Participants were 193 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students and 40 teachers and administrators from a private International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Ankara, Turkey. Quantitative data consisted of surveys exploring the level of agreement regarding the learning of these social skills in drama class, and their effects on learning in other subjects. Qualitative data consisted of in depth semi-structured interviews with 12 students and 12 teachers and administrators. Quantitative data were analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics; inductive content analysis was utilized for qualitative data. The analysis sought to uncover patterns and connections between stakeholder perceptions about drama, and draw conclusions for improved teaching methods, curriculum design and cross-curricular projects. Results revealed that students, teachers and administrators valued drama. Students recognised drama’s effect on teamwork and communication, with less support for the development of empathy and the transference of skills to other subjects. Teachers and administrators returned higher scores than students in all categories, and voiced strong support for drama and its potential for social skills development in children. Implications for classroom practice are developed and discussed based on the results.