For the first time, we undertook the production of a musical with many of our 4th and 5th graders. One 5th grade student was not happy during the first rehearsals for our production of “The Lion King”.
He was often disruptive during rehearsals and was even asked to sit out of one rehearsal, due to inappropriate behavior.
Yet, it was this same student, during the performances, who became the de-facto dance captain and all-around anchor for the ensemble.
What affected this transformation? As he allowed himself to open up to the process, he was given small doses of responsibility. From making jokes to influence his peers, he channeled his influence to encourage the ensemble to improve their performances. His comments became,
In the end, he asked to speak privately with the teacher who directed the show to make a suggestion to encourage the audience to sing along with the students at the curtain call:
It felt like the more he saw that we believed in him, the more he displayed his talents.
Self-confidence, self-determination, the ability to change course and think on your feet - these are some of the things that the arts instill in children. Some of this cannot be “taught,” but only learned through experience.