Dramatic gains for children with theatrical teachers

3 June 2010

A program that places professional actors as mentors to teachers in primary classrooms has tripled in size after an impressive pilot year.

Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts at the Faculty of Education and Social Work Robyn Ewing launched the program last year, partnering actors from Sydney Theatre Company (STC) with teaching staff at five inner-city schools.

Children whose teachers were involved showed improved confidence and narrative writing while teachers felt empowered to incorporate more drama in everyday classroom activities.

"The program was intended to redress the feeling of many teachers that they were not well-equipped to embed drama in what was an already overcrowded curriculum," Professor Ewing said.

"Sadly the arts have been incredibly undervalued and underused in curriculum, particularly primary school curriculum, despite unequivocal evidence that the arts enhance all the key learning areas, and the STC is addressing that."

Professor Ewing said she hoped the program would offer a means of using the creative arts, especially drama, to enhance children's reading, writing and oral skills, taking them ''beyond the literal text'' to greater understanding and meaning.

The program's results have been so impressive and its feedback so positive that the number of participating schools has increased to 16.

Contact: Professor Robyn Ewing

Phone: 02 9351 3846

Email: 173b5323016c17222118040e1f2a1e2f3001662d0e001b570d