Date of Award

8-31-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Carolyn Anderson

Second Reader

Sheldon Solomon

Abstract

My experience as an Arts Educator, working with a particular group of at-risk students has led me to question the manner in which the Arts are primarily utilized in K-12 education. Specifically, their use as a delivery system for academic curriculum, while highly effective, may be at the expense of, and ultimately may limit, other far more significant benefits. In my experience as both a student and a teacher of theater, I have observed a correlation between certain habits of mind developed through theater work and modes of thinking, which are widely believed to support healthy adolescent development. This paper discusses the relevant processes of acting in the theater and psychological theories, which might explain how and why those habits of mind are developed, and how focus on academic benefit alone may diminish the potential value of Arts in the classroom.

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