Teaching Values through Performance
More and more, in order to achieve the educational goals they have for students, schools have found they also need to tackle issues outside of the core curriculum and which were once considered the sole responsibility of parents (if they were considered at all). Even if you feel a school should only be teaching core standards, you must acknowledge that social interaction, psychological difficulties and character values are all areas which, when allowed to develop in unhealthy ways, can stand in the way of learning. In each community the local school becomes, of necessity, a place where children learn about themselves, their values, and their own self worth.
School Assemblies, in and of themselves, will not change anyone’s character or behavior, anymore than watching a Science Assembly will turn someone into a scientist. But they can be a great way to kick off a campaign by a school to work on some of these issues, or to reinforce a general theme already in place. Moreover, they may at least start some child thinking about their behavior in a more constructive manner.
Parents looking for ideas for elementary school assemblies will find that countless programs are available in these areas. There are bullying assemblies, character counts assemblies, and, of course, assemblies promoting self esteem. Since the topics may be presented in many different ways, many forms of entertainment may be employed in order to get the message across to kids. We have seen everything from rope twirling to magicians, from ventriloquists to BMX bikes, from comedians to clowns and even quite a few yo-yo guys, all doing their best to get across one of these “messages”. Or, at least, mostly doing their best.
Since there is a certain degree of intangibility inherent in these topics, they hold a special appeal to those performers guilty of engaging in what we call “Magic Shows in Drag” (see our previous entry on this subject!). Not everyone who can juggle is also an expert in, say, self-esteem. We have seen many “acts” purporting to be engaged in presenting valuable lessons in these important areas, when in reality the audience was seeing nothing but an entertainment act glossed over with a few key words gleaned undoubtedly from a thin, and superficial understanding of the subject. Beware!
But this is not a blanket dismissal of “character” and “values” driven programs. Far from it. There are many truly excellent programs available in these areas. We are friends with a gentleman in Ohio named Mark Wade, a ventriloquist I might add, who does superb work in these areas.
Mobile Ed also has it’s own program in the area of Character Counts (Inspector Iwannano), utilizing a variety of specific entertainment techniques to strongly underscore the Six Pillars of Character, and we have had great success with this.
But, because of the ease with which these topics may be abused, my suggestion would be to rely on referrals before scheduling shows of this nature.
Your kids deserve that! :-)
Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fields of science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN