Dramatic Expressions - Teaching personal, social and emotional skills through drama

Moving into Theory of Mind

Posted on | May 22, 2020 | No Comments

It was always there. I just didn’t know it had a name.

When we wrote our handbook Using Drama to Teach Personal, Social and Emotional Skills¬†(O’Hanlon and Wootten, 2007) it was clear that empathy figured in developing social interaction skills. We knew that it was important to know what a friend might be thinking or feeling, in order to make the right response, or use the right tone of voice to match the words we used. We called it empathy, and that was right.

But we didn’t know then that empathy and so much more was bundled into this new term: Theory of Mind. Until I heard Professor Gary Morgan speak on the subject. Then I knew and started reading for myself.

Since then so much has happened. I’ve written materials for our students training as Teachers of the Deaf on cognitive function, including Theory of Mind. I’ve joined a research group (Shakespeare Institute and Royal Shakespeare Company) on giving deaf children access to Shakespeare and the benefits for Theory of Mind development.

And now my latest project. Working on new materials with Black Sheep Press that link social interaction skills with Theory of Mind via a developmental framework. Materials that link story with drama and drama with Theory of Mind.

More tomorrow…or the next day…. but to end with a quotation from Carol Westby, originator of the Development of the Theory of Mind framework:

Effective and appropriate social communication/pragmatic language skills require a communicator to have a ToM.

(Westby and Robinson 2014)



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