The impact of these education programs have transformed countless lives in various cities throughout the country. Alliance Theatre’s initiative to introduce theatre to young English Language Learners and use that medium to build verbal communication skills in Atlanta, GA is a great example.
Alliance Theatre was convinced that students whose teachers used strategies integrating drama into their classroom would show great improvements in English language development and academic achievement among low-income kindergartners. They set out to test the Alliance Theatre’s Institute for Educators & Teaching Artists Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts hypothesis in two randomized control studies.
What they showed is that educating through theatre can become a standard for assisting young academically at-risk students nation-wide.
The first study from 2005 to 2008, demonstrated that blending core subjects and performing arts disciplines together in the teaching curriculum enhanced communication and academic achievement in low-income Kindergartners. The children receiving this instruction, showed significantly greater improvement in grammar development and in quantitative and qualitative measures of writing compared to their peers. The benefits of this early exposure to drama continued beyond the Kindergarten years. In two subsequent years, they noticed increases in report card grades and standardized test scores without further intervention. Furthermore, students classified as having special needs showed an even greater improvement in their academic achievement.
In the second study from 2008 to 2012, Alliance found that educating through theatre had a significant and positive effect on students’ English oral language development, their English story writing skills which involves increasing the use of words, sentences, emotion and dialogue, as well as academic measures of language arts and mathematics. In addition, they found strong support for these theories with both low-income African-American students and low-income Latino English Language Learning students.
These studies are the validation of the Alliance’s commitment and hard work in strengthening the role of the arts in schools while reaching out in a big way to youth in the Atlanta community. What they showed is that educating through theatre can become a standard for assisting young academically at-risk students nation-wide.
Further information on the research study: https://alliancetheatre.org/content/alliance-arts-learning-institute-research.