Bruno Lebon, Music and Drama teacher at ISS International School, explains how taking students to a blockbuster musical has been a catalyst for learning both within and beyond the classroom.
You incorporated the musical Wicked into the teaching programme at ISS; how do you think it benefitted students?
A visit to see Wicked not only reinforced the practical and theoretical concepts of drama and theatre, but also, the narrative led students to think about inclusiveness, conflict and friendship, through the lead characters of Glinda and Ephaba. It was a chance to reflect on the nature of their own relationships, too.
Why is this important?
One of the International Baccalaureate (IB) profiles taught at ISS is “identities and relationships and their application in community service”. A clever way to teach this is to embed it into Music and Drama. It was a step-by-step process whereby the students applied their skills in an experiential learning project: firstly, to devise a 20-minute interpretation of Wicked, and secondly, to present it as a community service initiative.
And has this reinforced what they are learning?
Yes – real experience is so valuable! They presented Wicked at several community events, including MusicFest at Singapore General Hospital, and travelled to Cambodia to share their musical knowledge at a children’s home.
What’s the key take-home message for parents?
The process integrates the ideals of the IB to help students realise their potential and become constructive global citizens. One student summed it up well, saying that the experience gave them an insight into the joy that drama and music bring – and the resolve to continue to act and perform, and to help others. You can’t ask for more than that.
This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of Expat Living.