EDUCATION/OUTREACH

D75/TITLE 1 SCHOOLS
With a rise in emphasis on standardized testing in the New York public school system, the arts (and other key subjects like Science and Social Studies) are often marginalized in order to prepare students for the State ELA and Math tests.
 
The Shakespeare Forum feels that the lack of public school theatre/arts education and limited exposure of many New York students to live theatre experiences must be addressed and remedied by the wider NYC arts community.

Drama Club is important because being able to put on a different face and someone else’s shoes helps you discover who you really are. Teenagers struggle with their identities, so going to a place where you can pretend to be any kind of character helps shine a light on the person you actually are. The Shakespeare Forum creates a comfortable environment where anyone can let go of their pressures, not just from our peers, but all of society. This is a place where we can be who we are meant to be and be with others just as creative and original as us. 

- Destiny Mendez, Age 15, Title 1 school residency student

The Shakespeare Forum offers free and low-cost customized workshops to schools in need of theatre arts programming.

 

In 2013, we donated 16 workshops and served over 300 students.

 

 

The Shakespeare Forum was co-founded by a special education, New York City public school teacher. Sybille Bruun-Moss custom designs the curriculum with the needs of each individual student, classroom and teacher in mind.

Additionally, Sybille is able to consistently stay aware of the daily demands placed on both teachers and students and therefore design classes which most effectively support the school environment.

Finally, The Shakespeare Forum believes in a continuous process and provides schools and teachers with additional lesson plans to further implement the integration of the arts into the classroom. Sybille trains all Shakespeare Forum education staff and continually adjusts the curriculum to suit the demands of the Common Core curriculum."

 

The impact of arts programming on students with disabilities: 

In a 1995 study by Rey E. de la Cruz entitled "The Effects of Creative Drama on the Social and Oral Language Skills of Children with Learning Disabilities", special and regular education teachers identified the following 4 clusters of behaviors which were deemed critical for success in the classroom: (1) courtesy to others—apologizing when actions have injured or infringed on another, (2) self-control—finding acceptable ways of using free time when work is completed, (3) focus—ignoring distractions from peers when doing classroom work, and (4) social compliance—following written directions. The study demonstrated that children who participated in the drama program increased their social skills in all 4 clusters. Additionally, the students also significantly improved their oral expressive language skills in comparison to the control group.

 

The impact of arts programming on academically "at-risk" students:

In this study, Shelby A. Wolf focused on children in remedial third- and fourth-grade classrooms. After one year of reading programs which changed from a "traditional" reading program to a "dramatic" reading program (students worked once a week through classroom theatre activities), the students improved in their ability to have peer discussions, interpret text and gain agency over their own reading process. A reviewer of the study stated: "Wolf's findings provide a persuasive warrant for the advocacy of more classroom theater and financial support for training programs and positions in schools for theater experts".