ORLANDO, Fla. – In modern schools, it can be difficult at times for young students to simply find direction through the doldrum of class, homework, repeat.
This week on “Black Men Sundays,” host Corie Murray interviews former teacher Marsha Robbins, now the owner and executive director of Dramatic Education, Inc., a Central Florida educational arts company that enriches school-age children and boosts their cognitive development in schools with drama programs.
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With her master’s degree in education, Robbins said she first approached the venture equipped with and due to her experiences teaching and being taught.
“My first year in (teaching), I could see where that missing link was between students learning and how well they did in the classroom, which is that confidence piece, that speaking out piece. People think of theater and drama, being on stage and on television, that is important of course, right? That’s the entertainment we watch, but it’s also important to develop that in the earlier years, and I found that if you develop it socially, emotionally ... they are the kids that raise their hands, right? You’re the kid that’s speaking out in class, you’re on radio, you’re the one that’s saying ‘Hey!’ or telling the jokes, and you’ve got to find a place in the classroom for it, and sometimes your shyer students may not be doing well in the classroom, and then we found that arts and entertainment brought out that educational aspect in the school system,” Robbins said.
As it turns out, Robbins said she was that student who got in trouble.
“Both my parents are educators, and I actually went to school with my mother, so when I got in trouble they would send you to your mother’s classroom. Bypass the principal’s office, just go down to your mother’s classroom,” Robbins said. “It was my fourth grade teacher that says ‘Has she thought about doing theater?’”
According to Robbins, entertainment is not something often seen in predominantly Black schools, but that still didn’t stop her from finding her place.
“I tried out for a magnet program in South Florida, and that’s when I was introduced to the arts. So I had a place for my voice, I had a place for the speaking out, I had a place for being silly and funny in class, right? I had a place that gave me a direction, so then my reading and math scores went up because I had a classroom that I could have creativity, and so it was that balance that led me to, amongst other things, that led me to where I am right now,” Robbins said.
Learn more about Robbins’ journey, from researching how to assist school-age children in developing personal and social skills through drama education to finally owning and operating Dramatic Education, Inc., now flourishing with over 130 employees after 17 years of success.
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