Changing the Way We Think: Using Arts to Inspire, Empower and Change Your School Community
Changing the Way We Think: Using Arts to Inspire, Empower and Change Your School Community is a blueprint for creating applied theatre projects in schools. Little taps into her own personal experiences of creating multidisciplinary connections in her New Jersey school district. Little has been so successful at bringing together the theatre with other subjects, such as English, social studies, visual arts, and television, that the program has won many statewide awards. Little applies her techniques to areas of students in conflict. Her students developed an anti-bullying piece entitled Shadows.
Little explains how approaching one subject, such as bullying, homelessness, or intolerance can and will extend into other academic disciplines. In Changing the Way We Think, Little describes that applied theatre requires a bit of pushing the envelope and to really study what your community is ready for. Besides community buy-in, Little suggests tips for getting the administration and other teachers to appreciate the richness of applied theatre projects. Although education can occur through working with published dramas, Little provides the steps to educate through the exploration of local issues. In doing so, the students start pursuing answers by researching, surveying and interviewing. As one who has been through it, Little provides a list of steps, lesson plans, resources and countless tips from her hands-on experiences.
Changing the Way We Think is very readable and provides information that might be useful to others who are trying to make connections to do something different in their school district. Little encourages reaching out, creating publicity and attending conferences. A moving a powerful section of the book is Little’s inclusion of students’ powerful responses to participating in applied theatre. The students attest to the changes that occur and the changes that they witness from such a project.