David Booth is Professor Emeritus at the University Of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He has over forty years experience in teaching and also conducts workshops and lectures for teachers and educators. He is an advocate for the use of visual and performing arts with in the school curriculum. Furthermore he has a special interest in the use of drama for language development and literacy. David Booth is a well know author of educational books. His topics include, but are not limited to: language and literacy, children’s poetry, text for teachers, and gender and literacy.
Booth explains in one of his books entitled, Story Drama, Reading , writing and role playing across the curriculum, that during his earlier years as a teacher, he knew very little about drama. However that soon changed while he pursued his undergraduate degree. He made it his duty to take as much Theatre history, English literature and Poetry classes as possible. He gradually changed his teaching style from the traditional director based, learning plays by rote theatre, to a more dramatic approach. This was achieved after many workshops with educators such as, Brian Way, Gavin Bolton, Richard Courtney, David Kemp, Agnes Buckles and Dorothy Heathcote. (7-8)
He began experimenting with a method called whole group drama. This method allowed the drama to materialize from the children’s imaginations as opposed to him giving directions. He realized the genuine learning value in this method and began to conduct all of his classes using various dramatic techniques and methods which he learnt in the various workshops he attended. He began to understand the true power of drama and its importance in the field of education. He saw that drama developed children’s language in many ways because they had the opportunity to use language in their performance without it seeming like a task. Thus he began developing his own philosophy of what drama in education could be. (8)
Drama can be associated with every thing one may do, see or experience. Furthermore storytelling is a natural human occurrence. In his book Drama Words Booth explains how children learn through stories and that Drama allows everyone to tell stories. “The simplest retelling of yesterday’s events is an act of imagination, as we have the option of reinventing the characters, the experience, the circumstances, the motivation and the outcomes.”(55). Booth was able to develop his own method using both the technique of storytelling and drama. He coined the term Story Drama.
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