A 16 year-old student slumped in his chair with his hat pulled down over his face and unwilling to participate perks ups during an ENACT classroom scene about a rowdy student arguing with his teacher. A 13 year-old girl starts paying attention when two ENACT artists begin a scene depicting an argument between two neighborhood friends.
Following the scene work, we see these students engaged in a lively conversation about the characters, their likes and dislikes, and how they contributed to the conflict and misunderstanding presented in the scenes. Later, we watch them get up in front of their peers to replay the scenes, using new-found skills they’ve acquired for managing difficult situations with integrity, honesty and respect.
In a typical school year, ENACT serves more than 2,000 students from 50 public schools, school reintegration programs and specialized alternate learning centers throughout NYC. We know that when students can link learning to their own lives and experiences, it is remarkable how quickly they begin to participate. If given a chance, even young people who have gotten caught up in a cycle of truancy and negative habits and behaviors can begin making good choices and participating productively in the life of their neighborhoods and communities.