In Malaysia, children start education at the age of six, which is referred to as early education (Jomo, 2004). The early education is provided and funded by several agencies which include the government and non-governmental organizations. Both the Malaysian children education system and the Chinese children education system do not emphasize much on drama education. In recent years, China's president Xin advised schools and schools offering children education to start teaching drama education to the children as a way of improving their creativity. In Malaysia, the British Council's Young Learners Holiday Program has come up with a program that enables children to lean drama during the holiday seasons. Most of the parents in Malaysia are part of the working class and they remain busy for the better part of the day and therefore they have to look for something that will keep their children busy. The introduction of children drama education will enhance children creativity and ensure that children spend their time doing things that add positive value to their lives.
- Does children drama education teach the children about the effects of bullying in China and Malaysia?
- What is the effect of children drama education on children's language development in China and Malaysia?
- Does role play in drama help in improving teamwork for young children in China and Malaysia?
- To understand the impact of children drama education on the social life of school children in Malaysia and China.
- To understand why it is important to focus on improving the children drama education in China and Malaysia.
The other objective is to measure the improvement brought about by the introduction of children drama education in both Malaysia and China.
Introduction to children's drama education in both China and Malaysia has contributed to the improvement of children's behavior and social life. Without drama education, bullying and other social problem in schools would still be prevailing.
According to Dorothy Heathcote (in Jamil, 2010), the dram is described as a situation or an action in which the participants take different roles. The main concern of the participants is the attitude and not the character that they create in the drama. Actors employ all the experience and imaginations they have in life so that they can come up with a moving picture that resembles real life. The aim of this approach is to help actors to express their discoveries and surprises. Drama can also be defined as a symbolic language in which actors use to represent the real world. According to Somers (2013), involving children in art enables them to explore issues, events and other connections that happen in the real world. Drama is also a means of communication in which different tools are used to achieve the intended purpose.
Oakley (2016), who is a cognitive psychologist, a creative and fictional writing professor argues that simulation of the fight by children in drama helps in inculcating sympathy in children. One problem that most of the children go through in China and Malaysia as well as in any other part of the world is bullying. Most of the young children undergo bullying and even sexual harassment by other children. Drama can be used to make the children feel the pain of bullying in acting and make them change by feeling what other children, especially the weak ones go through when they are being bullied. Drama makes students become more sensitive on the subject matters and one way of ensuring that children remain disciplined is through the introduction of drama education in schools.
Currently, the Children Theatre in China is one of the fastest growing sectors in the entertainment industry (Bolton, 2014). The result is as a result of the introduction of the education policy that encourages the integration of drama education in the curriculum. As the number of middle class in China continues to increase, the number of theaters also increase. In the year 2016, President Xi Jinping of China drew a close relationship between theater creativity, invocation, and economic growth (Egan, 2012). The president said that lack of innovation and creativity has led to slow growth of the economy in the country.
Malaysia is a country that is found in Southeast Asia. The country is described as ethically heterogeneous. Unlike China, the country is made up of different ethnic groups that live together. The indigenous group makes up a population of 61% which is about 29 million people (Department of Statistics Malaysia, 2010). Most of the drama education for children is offered during the holiday season. Most of the parents in Malaysia are in the working category making it hard for them to spend most of their time with their children. The government and non-governmental organizations have come up with programs that are useful in ensuring that children are taught drama during the day when they are free and idle. The introduction of drama during holiday seasons has taken part in shaping the lives of children since most of them would engage in harmful behaviors since there is no close supervision from their parents.
The Significance of the Study
The study conducted shows that performance art is useful in the life of a child since it improves the child's language proficiency, teamwork, communication skills, ability to conceptualize a subject area, ability to gain knowledge and soft skills. The study also helps one to understand ways that can be employed to improve the social life of children by making them develop a sense of humanity and relating well with other students. The introduction of children's drama education in the two countries where most of the parents are busy working most of the time is a good approach to ensuring that the lives of children are shaped properly.
The qualitative study was conducted in a school in Malaysia and China. The schools were selected at random. The selected school was the one that had adopted drama teaching fully. All the students were required to take part in drama by playing different roles. The teacher's work was to ensure that all the students, even the ones living with disability get a role to play in making different plays. The record of general performance of the students and the general number of children harassment by their fellow children was recorded. After some time, the teacher would compare the number of harassment cases reported. As children get trained and participate in performance art, they tend to change their bad behaviors and become good children. The time children take to plan to do bad things is also done away with since most of the time they are occupied with a more meaningful activity.
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