Instilling confidence and interpersonal skills in middle school youth using theatrical techniques

Author: Sarah Jane Ruppert
Major: Theater Education
Approved: Spring 2021
Status: In progress

For my project, I will be planning and facilitating a theatrical workshop aimed at middle school students. There will be a focus on differentiation techniques for a variety of differently abled students. First, I will create a basic lesson plan that focuses on several specific Virginia Standards of Learning for 6th and 7th-grade theatre students. Many of these standards revolve around promoting positive self-image and confidence, skills that are vital to any young person’s life and education. Theatrical pedagogy is especially effective at instilling these values and I believe that this workshop will not only fulfill a learning requirement but also enrich the lives of these students. I will then differentiate this lesson to accommodate a variety of different students using vetted educational and theatrical research to determine the best technique to do so. There will be a representation of and accommodation for students with Autism Spectrum disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder, physical disability, non-native English speaking, and gifted or advanced ability. The research, preparation, and facilitation of this project are critical to understanding how to work with a variety of students and the best ways to implement theatrical lessons to a diverse audience. It will also prove the validity and necessity of theatre education in schools and the fundamentality of arts programs for student success.