Drama to the rescue to help sidelined teens

by Mark O'Brien

A CENTRE for young people who can’t attend mainstream school will soon be using drama as an innovative way of teaching and developing social skills.
The Carline Learning Centre in Kishoge works with young people aged 13 to 17 who cannot attend mainstream schools.
The centre was recently granted €1,000 by South Dublin County Council to run an eight-week drama course in association with the Gaiety School of Acting.
Centre manager Olivia Keaveney told The Gazette that the idea to apply for funding for the course came after a previous successful link-up with the Gaiety School of Acting.
She said: “They do a school programme called Breath. They run it with teaching staff and they run it with students, so we booked them in to come in and do a day with the young people and a day with staff and teachers and we found it absolutely brilliant.”
Olivia said that it is hoped the new course will help the students develop problem-solving skills and boost their self-esteem.
“We work with young people that cannot attend mainstream education for whatever reason.
“It could be that they’ve dropped out, or it could be that they were bullied in school, or it could be that their behaviour or emotional needs can’t be managed in a mainstream school.”
The young people attending the centre study subjects to Junior Cert level and also have access to counselling and social care services.
The drama course is intended to complement the holistic approach to education that the centre already offers.
Olivia said: “We wanted to give the young people better coping skills and also give them more of an opportunity to express some of the emotions they have in a more creative way and in a safe way.”
The course should also help develop the leadership skills that a lot of the students have but have not been channelled in the right way.
Olivia added: “A lot of them have leadership skills, and it’s just getting in to the positive end of that – that being a leader is a positive, it doesn’t always have to be a negative, which a lot of them would have experienced in mainstream schools.
“If they were behaving badly, they might have encouraged others to do so. It’s about the joy of being a leader.”

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