THE NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THEATRE EDUCATION*
What Every Young American Should Know and Be Able to Do in Theatre
Standards in Theatre, Grades 5-8
Except as noted, the standards in this section describe the cumulative skills and knowledge expected of all students upon exiting grade 8. Students in grades 5-7 should engage developmentally appropriate learning experiences to prepare them to achieve these standards at grade 8. These standards presume that the students have achieved the standards specified for grades K-4; they assume that the students will demonstrate higher levels of the expected skills and knowledge, will deal with increasingly complex art works, and will provide more sophisticated responses to works of art. Determining curriculum and the specific instructional activities necessary to achieve the standards is the responsibility of states, local school districts, and individual teachers.
In theatre, the artists create an imagined world about human beings; it is the role of the actor to lead the audience into this visual, aural, and oral world. To help students in grades 5-8 develop theatre literacy, it is important that they learn to see the created world of theatre through the eyes of the playwright, actor, designer, and director. Through active creation of theatre, students learn to understand artistic choices and to critique dramatic works. Students should, at this point, play a larger role in the planning and evaluation of their work. They should continue to use drama as a means of confidently expressing their world view, thus developing their "personal voice." The drama should also introduce students to plays that reach beyond their communities to national, international, and historically representative themes.
Content Standard #1: Script writing by the creation of improvisations and scripted scenes based on personal experience and heritage, imagination, literature, and history
a) Students individually and in groups, create characters, environments, and actions that create tension and suspense
b) Students refine and record dialogue and action.
Content Standard #2: Acting by developing basic acting skills to portray characters who interact in improvised and scripted scenes
a) Students analyze descriptions, dialogue, and actions to discover, articulate, and justify character motivation and invent character behaviors based on the observation of interactions, ethical choices, and emotional responses of people
b) Students demonstrate acting skills (such as sensory recall, concentration, breath control, diction, body alignment, control of isolated body parts) to develop characterizations that suggest artistic choices
c) Students in an ensemble, interact as the invented characters
Content Standard #3: Designing by developing environments for improvised and scripted scenes
a) Students explain the functions and interrelated nature of scenery, properties, lighting, sound, costumes, and makeup in creating an environment appropriate for the drama
b) Students analyze improvised and scripted scenes for technical requirements
c) Students develop focused ideas for the environment using visual elements (line, texture, color, space), visual principles (repetition, balance, emphasis, contrast, unity), and aural qualities (pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, expression) from traditional and nontraditional sources
d) Students work collaboratively and safely to select and create elements of scenery, properties, lighting, and sound to signify environments, and costumes and makeup to suggest character.
Content Standard #4: Directing by organizing rehearsals for improvised and scripted scenes
a) Students lead small groups in planning visual and aural elements and in rehearsing improvised and scripted scenes, demonstrating social, group, and consensus skills.
Content Standard #5: Researching by using cultural and historical information to support improvised and scripted scenes
a) Students apply research from print and nonprint sources to script writing, acting, design, and directing choices.
Content Standard #6: Comparing and incorporating art forms by analyzing methods of presentation and audience response for theatre, dramatic media (such as film, television, and electronic media), and other art forms
a) Students describe characteristics and compare the presentation of characters, environments, and actions in theatre, musical theatre, dramatic media, dance, and visual arts
b) Students incorporate elements of dance, music, and visual arts to express ideas and emotions in improvised and scripted scenes
c) Students express and compare personal reactions to several art forms
d) Students describe and compare the functions and interaction of performing and visual artists and audience members in theatre, dramatic media, musical theatre, dance, music, and visual arts.
Content Standard #7: Analyzing, evaluating, and constructing meanings from improvised and scripted scenes and from theatre, film, television, and electronic media productions
a) Students describe and analyze the effect of publicity, study guides, programs, and physical environments on audience response and appreciation of dramatic performances
b) Students articulate and support the meanings constructed from their and others' dramatic performances
c) Students use articulated criteria to describe, analyze, and constructively evaluate the perceived effectiveness of artistic choices found in dramatic performances
d) Students describe and evaluate the perceived effectiveness of students' contributions to the collaborative process of developing improvised and scripted scenes.
Content Standard #8: Understanding context by analyzing the role of theatre, film, television, and electronic media in the community and in other cultures
a) Students describe and compare universal characters and situations in dramas from and about various cultures and historical periods, illustrate in improvised and scripted scenes, and discuss how theatre reflects a culture
b) Students explain the knowledge, skills, and discipline needed to pursue careers and avocational opportunities in theatre, film, television, and electronic media
c) Students analyze the emotional and social impact of dramatic events in their lives, in the community, and in other cultures
d) Students explain how culture affects the content and production values of dramatic performances
e) Students explain how social concepts such as cooperation, communication, collaboration, consensus, self-esteem, risk taking, sympathy, and empathy apply in theatre and daily life.
*The National Standards for Theatre Education were developed by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education in cooperation with the Educational Theatre Association and as part of the National Standards for Arts Education, a product of the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations.