Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Power of Theater and the Expanded Core Curriculum

A graphic that reads The Power of Theater and the Expanded Core Curriculum for students with vision impairments. A new blog series for youth with vision impairments with Blind Ambition's Frankie Ann Marcille. 

As a visually impaired adult now working towards developing a career in teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum, I have thought a lot about what the most meaningful experiences were throughout my teenage years. I’ve thought about experiences that gave me real time, true to life opportunities to learn valuable lessons in the ECC. One such experience was my time participating in theatre.

I first started participating in theatre when I was just two years old. My parents signed me up for dance classes and let’s just say-that was it! I fell in love. I have never stopped dancing. From there my passion only continued to grow when I performed in my first musical at age six. I continued performing, participating in at least two shows per year with my various schools, dance studios, etc. from elementary school through high school. I even went on to major in Theatre for my undergraduate degree.

Looking back, I realize how much the arts did for me as a child/teenager with a vision impairment. Participating in theatre/dance programs taught me discipline and advocacy. Because I was the only person in all of my programs with a vision impairment, it was up to me to let my instructors know what I needed and work with them to find a solution as to how I could best participate. They taught me confidence and self determination. Theatre showed me how I could be confident in myself and my abilities as a woman with a vision impairment. I felt like if I could get on stage and perform for crowds of people, I could stand up and tell people about my vision/ I could engage with others in meaningful discussions about my future and my dreams. 

Most practically though- theatre helped me to understand basic social interaction skills. There was so much that I realized I didn’t understand as a person with a vision impairment. I didn’t realize I didn’t make eye contact. I didn’t realize sometimes that my facial expressions said more to others and I often missed seeing other’s facial expressions and picking up on subtle cues. However, theatre helped me to work on these skills. Because of this, I have come up with a new way to teach social interaction as a part of the ECC.

I have put together a curriculum of social interaction based theatre games to help other blind and visually impaired students to learn these same skills in a way that is more than just educational. This curriculum is emotional, engaging, true to life, and did I mention...FUN!! I am so excited to share some of them with you here on “The Independent LIttle Bee”! Keep an eye out and until then…

Stay Ambitious!

Frankie Ann

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