Author(s)

Tia CowartFollow

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Terri Cornwell

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Art; Education, Music; Education, Secondary; Education, Educational Psychology; Psychology, General; Theater

Keywords

Arts Education, Life Skills, Psychological Needs, Theatre Education

Disciplines

Art Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Psychology | School Psychology | Theatre and Performance Studies

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate former high school theatre students' perceptions of how theatre education addressed their psychological needs and impacted life skills. Participants were graduates of a large metropolitan high school, located near Atlanta, GA. A focus group, individual semi-structured interviews and collection of artifacts were the data collection procedures utilized to discover students' perceptions. Pseudonyms were used to protect the identities of the participants. The data analysis process included initial coding, axial coding and memo writing. Based on the information from the interviews, this case study showed the benefits of offering youth opportunities to engage in theatre education and supported research that indicates the positive outcomes of arts education. The findings of the study indicate that theatre education impacts students' life skills and psychological needs. Participants report gaining life skills, such as, hard-work, social skills, perseverance and career training. The data also revealed that participants experienced psychological benefits, such as, confidence, sense of belongingness, accomplishment and cognitive abilities.