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Life Skills through Musical Theatre

place India + 1 more

Reimagining life skills education in schools using arts

The program uses a unique blend of arts, life skills and ‘Theater of the Oppressed’ tool to build creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills empowering adolescents to navigate challenges. This theatre-creation journey enables reflective experiences, encourages open expression and prosocial behaviour, and fosters collaboration leading to a more positive classroom environment.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

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Target group
Students basic
May 2024
Improvement of school-related behaviors and attitudes amongst adolescents thus increasing motivation towards academics, decreasing school dropout, enhancing creative confidence and building professional readiness.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Life skills are vital for adolescents to navigate modern challenges. They help navigate complex social environments, enhance employability, address mental health issues and facilitate a healthy transition into adulthood. Drawing from the strengths of art and theater based approaches, this unique program was conceptualized to primarily build on their life skills by using art-based interventions.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

The ‘Life skills through Musical Theater’ program has theater sessions facilitated by teachers and supported by teaching assistants, and a digital portal, which culminates in theatre performances.

The lesson plans, and digital instructional videos drew inspiration from the WHO’s Life Skill Framework and the “Theatre of the Oppressed” tool. Orientations are conducted to enhance the teaching artists' knowledge and comprehension of life skills while fostering their creative confidence to effectively conduct theatre-based sessions. Through regular mentoring and support visits, the teaching artists are assisted and encouraged to facilitate the sessions for students. The project culminates with the production of a play incorporating the themes of bullying, drug addiction, cyber addiction, and gender equality.

How has it been spreading?

In 3 years, our impactful programs reached 24,000+ youth across 2 states of India. From 2022-23, 16200 children were reached in 6 districts of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, followed by an adaptation of content to implement in Delhi, where 500 children were reached in 9 government schools. In the year 2023-24, 6800 children were reached across 64 municipality schools in Chennai, India.

As the next step, we plan to adapt the content for level-wise learning to reach a more diverse group of children across India and make the digital portal multilingual and accessible.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

NalandaWay Foundation shall provide the Life skills through Musical Theater curriculum, video lessons, and assessment frameworks, as well as provide assistance to translate the videos to regional languages to interested partners/ non profits on request.
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Implementation steps

Lesson Plan Development
Using the WHO’s Life Skill Framework and Augusto Boal's notable approach "Theatre of the Oppressed”, detailed and well-scripted lesson plans, integrating both life and art skills were developed to guide the learning trajectory of students.
Visual Aids Development
Short and engaging instructional videos were created for all the lessons planned to enable the teachers to learn about the varied art techniques and improve their overall facilitation skills.
Digital Platform
A digital platform was developed for the teachers to access the lesson plans/instructional videos. The platform proved instrumental in gathering data about the progress made by each teacher.
Mentoring and Supporting the Teaching Artists
Local resource persons were recruited as Teaching Artists (TAs) to conduct the sessions directly by utilizing the digital portal. The TAs were assigned schools and received comprehensive orientation and clear guidelines regarding their roles and responsibilities. A training session was facilitated for teaching artists, centering on student-teacher interactions, well-being and introduction to theater techniques.
Enabling environment at schools
The Head Masters (HMs) in the selected schools were familiarised with objectives, methods, and expected outcomes of the Life Skills through Musical Theatre. An official proceeding, endorsed by the Directorate of School Education, was shared with all the HMs of selected schools, which gave a formal approval and acceptance to implement the intervention at school level.
The Final Play Performance
The culminating event of the Musical Theatre programme was the play production, which consisted of productions from every school, each dedicated to one of the topics that the students had learned and explored during the program: Bullying, Substance Abuse, Cyber Addiction, and Gender Equality.

Spread of the innovation

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