The History And Use Of Creative Dramatics In The Classroom
The term "creative dramatics" has been in existence for a little over fifty years. Yet, the theories that make up creative dramatics have developed over centuries. Winifred Ward had been experimenting with ideas of creative dramatics long before she coined the term in 1930.1 Ward chose to combine the terms "creativity" and "drama" in an attempt to describe the use and purpose of the ideas she had established. It is perhaps best to begin a study in creative dramatics with an investigation of the two terms which define it. Creativity is inventiveness. It is taking "known bits of information and putting them together in a way that no one else has thought of before. "2 Children are instinctively creative. They see a block of wood on the ground, pick it up and it becomes a gun. When it is back down on the ground, it's a car. It is a child's creativity that makes him unique. There are many types of creativity, but the common denominator of all types is the role of the imagination. "Imagination is the quality of the mind and spirit that enables one to understand experience beyond his own."3 The child has never held a real gun, but his imagination allows him to see and believe in that gun. Imagination is a tremendous faculty, for it removes the limits of our daily lives and allows us to creatively experience the elements in our world as well as in our minds. This creativity and expression is what makes mankind unique from all other living creatures. A child must be free to develop his mind, his body, and his imagination in order to "realize himself fully as an individual."4 For all the wonder that creativity holds for a child, it is seldom utilized in the educational realm. In grade schools, an hour a week is set aside for art, while high schools have certain electives set aside to develop "creativity." But overall, creativity is excluded from everyday learning. "Part of the reason for the present attitude toward creativity in education can be traced to a basic work/play dichotomy in our culture."5 A child is supposed to enjoy play, but it is considered peculiar if he likes work. Perhaps the role of creativity in the everday classroom deserves another look. After all, a child who finds a world of resources in a piece of wood on the ground may be able to contribute more to the classroom and eventually to the world.