Education students at Medicine Hat College (MHC) performed Pirates! The Musical by Roger Emerson and John Jacobson to learners from Crestwood School and Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre.
A pilot project for their music and drama courses, the fourth years directed, performed and managed lighting and music for the production.
Colleen Whidden, instructor at MHC explains that the goal was to provide them an experiential learning opportunity that would develop their skills for the classroom, including: organization, event planning, leadership and collaboration.
“The students were involved in every aspect of the production. They really embraced the challenge,” says Whidden. “They’ve done an exceptional job at pulling everything together and it has been exciting to see the reaction from the elementary students. There has been no shortage of interest, laughter and applause from the audience.”
Rebecca Nielsen, student and cast member for the play explains that she has learned lots from the experience.
“I think working together with other teachers is a big thing - we are all very strong personalities. We are born leaders so sometimes our personalities can clash a little bit, or we want to take charge, so it’s nice to be able to learn to step back and just take direction instead of always giving it. I gained a lot from working together.”
The group hopes that by inviting the local elementary schools the students will walk away with an appreciation for the arts.
“I hope that they gain a love for drama and music. In schools you don’t always get exposed to that, and so we want kids to want drama programs and to be proactive about it. Which may mean trying to get it into their schools if it isn’t already,” says Kelsea Peers, student and director for the production. “Also just having the teachers here gave us an opportunity to show them how beneficial drama and music skills can be in all different aspects of school.”
The education students concluded their project with a final show for family and friends. Overall Whidden feels it was a successful experience and she looks forward to doing it again.
For more information on the education program at Medicine Hat College, visit www.mhc.ab.ca.
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