First Advisor

Mary K. Kinnick

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy




Drama in Christian education, Adult education, Communication and the arts, Christian education



Physical Description

4, vii, 487 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


This study reviews the tenents of adult learning. Christian education and creative drama and presents the observation that there are parallel objectives in each of these three major areas. Noting that creative drama is rarely used in adult Christian education, which is primarily cognitive-based and lecture-discussion oriented, the study proposes the application of creative drama strategies to provide an alternative experiential learning process and therefore create a drama strategies to provide an alternative experiential learning process and therefore create a balance of focus between cognitive, affective, reflective and active learning styles in adult Christian education. It also suggests that through the application of creative drama strategies teachers may more effectively realize the intentions of Christian education: to nurture sensitively aware individuals who are continually growing in faith and empathic love for others. Extant theoretical writings about the practice of creative drama and also literature dealing with the principles and intentions of adult Christian education are reviewed for this study. In the process of surveying current theory and practice in adult evangelical Christian education, the study elaborates on its two basic concerns: adult learning and Christian education. The study discloses a discernible gap between theory and practice through which creative strategies in adult evangelical Christian education have fallen. The study advances the conclusion that this gap may be addressed by application of the creative drama process. Creative drama is presented as one viable means of refreshing individual adult creativity and adult group creativity in Christian education and as an additional way through which to nurture empathic awareness and personal spiritual growth. The underlying assumption is that creative drama is a powerful, often neglected, tool by which adult evangelical Christian education groups may be stimulated to more effective learning and growth. Creative drama, adult learning, and Christian education converge in this study to present an advantageous educational angle. Creative drama is an improvisational, non-exhibitional, process-centered form of drama in which participants are guided by a leader to imagine, enact and reflect upon human experiences. Built on the human impulse and ability to act out perceptions of the world in order to understand it, creative drama requires both logical and intuitive thinking, personalizes knowledge, and yields aesthetic pleasure. The strategy clearly interfaces with current findings in adult learning which represent the effective teacher as a facilitator who seeks to guide the adult learner toward more enhanced self-direction and growth rather than primarily as a disseminator of information who seeks to lead the learner into gaining more knowledge. Adult development findings reveal that adults learn best when their needs and interests are considered, their backgrounds, skills and knowledge are recognized as key resources, and they engage in active problem-solving. Likewise, creative drama draws its framework and impetus from similar concerns of the participants, using their interests and resources as the basis for enactment. In another venue, the intention of evangelical Christian education is to nurture believers toward higher levels of faith development, enhanced integrity in moral behavior, and clear exhibition of genuine love and service toward others. In a similar vein, creative drama also seeks personal growth and moral development through empathic awareness in enactment. Hence, the potential for achieving the ideal outcomes in the fields of adult education, and specifically adult Christian education, is more realizable with the application of the creative drama process to adult Christian education. In the course of literature review and the establishment of a rationale for considering the integration of the creative drama process as an instructional strategy in adult evangelical Christian education, additional ancillary, yet significant, aspects of personal and group growth and awareness are considered as part of the affective learning process and therefore discussed in terms of their applications to the proposal. These aspects include: major learning styles, the experiential learning cycle, adult development, group ctynamics, moral education, creativity development, play and the dramatizing impulse, imagination, metaphor, and empathic awareness and sensitivity. Each is considered as an important link in the connection of the creative drama process to adult evangelical Christian education. The study then lays out potential guidelines for the application of the creative drama process as an instructional strategy in adult Christian education. The potential benefits of creative drama are considered in the processes of determining educational objectives and setting up instructional guidelines for the adult student in the Christian education context. The guidelines include: considerations for effective adult motivation, establishment of positive physical and emotional atmosphere for creative experiential learning, and the sequential process for creative role-playing from warm-up, through enactment, to final evaluation. Suggested specific applications of creative drama in Christian education are presented with extensive sample lesson plans, including the rationale and implementation of guidelines for each step. The study concludes with suggested future research and training to achieve the potential of inculcating creative drama techniques in an adult evangelical Christian education context on a more systematic basis and over a broader scope of application. Recommendations are made for future publications and presentations in order to raise awareness of the need find potential effectiveness of more creative and experiential strategies in adult Christian education as well as to train for better teaching and leadership in those areas.


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