Puppetry is also transformational. It is not limited to realistic characters. You can be anything... a mythical being, talking tree, a beautiful animal. This means the possibilities for creative expression are endless.
For students with special needs puppetry can be an incredible medium for releasing their voices and creative potential. Students with physical disabilities become less vulnerable. Students with Asperger’s syndrome, autism and even anxiety find safety in the puppet and can really excel on stage as a result. ESL or language impaired students could use a silent form of puppetry such as shadow puppetry to voice their ideas without the pressure of performing vocally. It is an all-inclusive, highly accessible form of theatre making it the perfect tool for the classroom.
I encourage all teachers to try puppetry in their classes to give their students a creative voice. I am using shadow puppetry in Religion at the moment to bring the Parable of the Sower to life. You could use mechanical puppets in Science to present research on a particular topic or conduct an experiment. Employ hand puppets to have a global summit on climate change or utilise one of the many puppetry apps to interview historical characters about their contribution to society. Puppetry would also be a great unit to introduce the elements of dramatic narrative in English.
The students in my class are currently using the PuppetPal app to work on their vocal skills in Drama and explore the structure of a narrative. The kids love it and they must work collaboratively to complete the task. Puppet Pals 2 also has a lot of historical characters to choose from. It would be a great tool for English, Languages, History and Cultural Studies.