Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Drama in education is not limited to elementary skits or junior/senior class plays. It can be used in the high school English classroom to engage students in active learning. Drama in the classroom is a pedagogical method, which focuses on the learning process of the participants rather than a polished performance for an audience. The purpose of this dissertation is to address the limited use of drama in the classroom by providing a pedagogical rationale for its use and concrete drama activities for the high school English classroom.

There are multiple pedagogical advantages for using drama as a method. Drama pushes students' cognitive learning. As active learners they do not just absorb information; they formulate questions, interpret ideas, and synthesize connections. Drama offers a balance with affective learning. Through drama, students are intrinsically motivated to learn. The collaborative aspects of drama are beneficial as peers push each other, stimulated by the work of the group. Students develop communication skills as they listen to each other as well as convey their ideas clearly. Because drama meets students at their level, it is a method that builds students' self-confidence. When a student's self-confidence is enhanced, the outcomes are positive for that class and for a lifetime of learning.

The dissertation is divided into genre chapters, which explore drama activities related to dramatic literature, fiction, poetry, and classroom writing. The drama activities illustrate concrete ways drama is applicable to today's English curriculum. Several of the activities are designed for texts that are a part of the standard high school canon. Other activities are provided for texts which are not typically taught in high schools with the hope of encouraging teachers to expand the canon. An appendix also describes warm-ups which are applicable for the high school classroom.

The specific drama activities developed in this dissertation facilitate teacher's use of drama in the classroom. With these concrete activities as models, teachers can also begin to create their own ways of using drama in the classroom.

Included in

Psychology Commons