By: Emily Tindall, Program Manager
“When I was a kid, the arts were all but nonexistent in my schools. Occasionally, we went to a music class, and played our little hearts out on bells and recorders; but theatre! – Oh, theatre was an unknown art form.”
As a program manager for TAP, I work with schools to bring our daytime program residencies directly into elementary and middle school classrooms. I often find myself thinking of what it might be like to be a part of “The Courage to Stand” as a fourth grader. It is an exciting thought, and indeed seems exciting for the kids, for multitudes of reasons. First and foremost, it is an exciting break from their regular classes, a break from TAKS testing or preparation, and a break from the way they use their brains on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, they get to be up on their feet, playing games with their friends, engaged – talking, laughing, and having fun. Third, and what I consider to be the most valuable, is, that not only are they doing something novel and having fun, but they are LEARNING. They learn what it means to be a courageous bystander – a person, who sees what is happening between the Bully and the Target, and stands up and intervenes on behalf of the Target. They learn how to stand up and speak out against bullying – who to ask for help, and when it is safe to do so. They rehearse it, to root the idea in their bodies, to have practiced speaking out against it, to hear and see the power that their words can have. This is masked learning, in that they are having so much fun, because in TAP programming their whole body is engaged and they are experiencing it with all of their classmates, that they don’t even realize that there is research based curriculum being taught.
This is such a valuable and fun program, and I know that my fourth grade self would have been overjoyed to have the opportunity to participate. I hope that this type of programming becomes more visible in classrooms in the coming years, because I have seen firsthand the change that can occur because of it, and it couldn’t have happened without TAP!