Drama in schools

"Drama strategies in the classroom can contribute to
    improved literacy, life skills, and empathy."

Sydney Theatre Company Co-directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton are working in partnership with the school and Professor Robyn Ewing to bring drama to the classroom.

The aim of this collaborative initiative, titled "School Drama", is to provide professional learning to primary teachers in how to use drama strategies to enhance children's English and literacy development. Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts, Robyn Ewing, says drama can re-engage the significant proportion of school children who become disinterested in classroom learning, particularly during the middle years.

"It's been demonstrated over and over again that actually getting into the action, engaging children in their own learning instead of being taught to, or taught at, makes a huge difference," she said.

"Drama can have a similar impact in social studies or in history, in geography, in maths, science, etcetera. You only have to look at the engagement of the children to see that's the kind of learning we want across the primary curriculum."

The collaboration – which is funded entirely by Sydney Theatre Company patrons – has so far spread to 18 schools from an initial five schools three years ago. The ABC's national current affairs program "7.30" covered the program in October 2011. 7:30 along with Professor Ewing and STC co-directors Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett visited the classroom of Haberfield Public School teacher Katie McLennan, where actor Ben Wood has been involved in dramatising the English the curriculum.

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