Today's class found us discussing the similarities between the theater and literature content standards. As an English major, I do feel a slight bias towards the more traditional standards of Language Arts. However I do recognize the limitations in strictly adhering to solely those standards. Since we're suppose to measure our student's ability to read and write, it's easy to cast aside any other method of assessment. What I like about the theater standards is that they more closely mirror the Six Facets of Understanding.
With the theater standards, a student is forced to tackle artistic perception, creative expression, cultural/historical context, aesthetic value, and to establish a connection to other disciplines. What I particularly enjoy about these standards is that they push a student's intellectual boundaries. A student can assess artistic and creative expression to establish a sense of artistic worth. In having a skill like this, students are better capable of forming strong academic critiques that they would otherwise miss out on if they followed the language arts content standards to the letter.
If we stick with the "Beowulf" example from a previous post, there are numerous traditional ways we could assess students with: essays, quizzes, multiple choice exams. The theater standards offer a more varied route though as they cover areas of understanding that exams and essays can't. For example, an idea i have for my lesson plan is to incorporate a dramatic performance of hero the students create modeled after the heroic archetypes we discuss. Even though I could just assign an essay asking them to explain what they know, this dramatic exercise allows them a creative outlet that will resonate with them for years to come. What's more memorable: a boring essay or a heroic skit?
It's definitely worth attempting to find a middle ground between the two sets of standards. Though I seem a bit more inclined to say that Drama is lot more fun.