‘Drama for Learning and
                 Creativity’
  [September 2005 – July 2006]




An evaluation for National Drama, ...
Foreword


‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ has been a learning journey for all the
teachers and consultants involved. ...
Research methodology


•   The research methodology that underpins the school-based action
    research enables teachers a...
•   ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ influences head-teachers as well
    as teachers. This suggests that the schools i...
answer. They experience standing in another person’s shoes and the
       exploration of other viewpoints than their own.
...
As with the three phase evaluations, the writing of this report is actively
encouraged and supported by Lorraine Harrison,...
Contents
                                                     Page


Foreword                                             ...
Tables and Appendices


Tables


Table One    The original research questions


Table Two    The subject areas where Drama...
Appendix 4 Are more schools now using Drama?


Appendix 5 Teacher confidence and Drama teaching


Appendix 6 What impact i...
1. Introduction - ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’


Introduction


‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is initiated by...
Committee of National Drama, the principal subject organisation for Drama
in the United Kingdom.


The funding allows for ...
leading members of the Drama subject community. As each phase of the
fieldwork finishes, the project evaluator reports on ...
The management team’s view of Drama is in sympathy with ‘All Our
Futures,’ the 1999 government report into the Arts. This ...
The five “types of behaviour” are to be exemplified by the processes and
outcomes of the research schools’ projects [Bid D...
2. Evaluation Methodology


‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ seeks to explore how whole class Drama
enriches teaching a...
by the entry questionnaire (for example, the time allocated to Drama within
the school). This is because one purpose is to...
individual, informed consent from pupils to use what they say or write in the
documents written by the teachers is implici...
Research Methodology of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’


The principal methodology of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativ...
Three issues in the evaluation of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’


In addition to debates about permission and confid...
they plan, carry out and review their drama teaching. To evaluate a project
like ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity,’ with...
evaluate a project with action research as the chosen methodology is to place
an evaluator in the position of having to re...
3. Results from ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’


Introduction


This section reports on how the success criteria are ...
as catalysts for change and comment on how the consultants’ expertise feeds
into the research teachers in their schools. F...
there are two clearly defined levels of participation. The support allotted to
the research schools, and that available to...
perpetual cycle that is at the heart of action research (“The work we have
done this year provides some answers to these q...
questions. Because their questions evolve as the project continues, teachers
own their research questions and feel able to...
(Appendix 4.3) shows that for 2004/5 drama is part of 67.5% of primary
school development plans. Following the project, 92...
is anticipated that from this date, 80% of such schools will have a teacher with
an explicit remit for Drama.


Some of th...
they “wished had been part of their (teacher) training.” “We need courses like
this all the time” is how another teacher w...
teachers involved as either research schools or as part of the project’s outer
layer report an increase in their confidenc...
objectives and more belief in the role of Drama to generate an imaginative,
broader curriculum.


The project gives the te...
that their learning is to be different in Drama (“It’s a fun way to learn”). They
enjoy Drama (“It’s wicked”), find that i...
Data from one school provides an insight into the inclusive nature of Drama.
When asked if Drama “is important to do in sc...
realise.”). The evidence gathered for this section of the evaluation suggests
that pupils think that Drama is equally sign...
with Dance in over half the schools in the exit survey. When this is added to
the P.E. figure in the same survey, it sugge...
areas where Drama occurs is matched by an increase in the time allocated to
Drama on a regular basis. Over a third of scho...
Hot seating and 35.4% more than the next dramatic activity, Freeze framing.
At the start of the project, the data indicate...
contrast only 20% of the responses describe teaching in which the pupils
make narratives, from either non-fiction or ficti...
partnered by a variety of Drama conventions like Teacher in role and Mantle
of the expert.


While two Drama strategies, A...
and smells”). In the second form, when in role as Professor X, the teacher
controls access to the forest. ‘Rainforest’ and...
start of a change. Freeze framing is in all four of the combinations that score
above 10% with Teacher in role in three of...
they do between speaking and listening and writing. When this finding is
taken further it shows that over four-fifths of t...
network that brings together imagination, meaning-making and collaborative
cross- curricula thinking.


Entry Questionnair...
purpose of Drama. The diagram below shows the items common to both the
Entry and Exit Questionnaires.


                  ...
Just over 10% of respondents have the following two groupings of four
purposes:
       Develop communication and expressiv...
much again as the next grouping of engagements. Collaboration, forming
their own questions and generating ideas are chosen...
The first project is Planet Perfecton. Mathematical thinking is integral to a
whole class Drama which is set on an imagine...
In her diary the teacher records how one pupil comments, “This is amazing.
It’s like we’re inside its mind.” In Heathcote’...
The issue of listening helps her decide to have labelled pebbles in jars, with
each group having one jar. Whoever’s pebble...
across the curriculum and valuing the potency of this cross
         curricula approach. Drama was serving as a link betwe...
build an internalised alternative text as a basis for writing in role. The Drama
centres on speculative thinking: the chil...
each others’ thoughts.” The inter-change of ideas is how they test their
hypotheses. This leads into:
         “… electing...
In Lessons One and Two, the pupils’ collaborative talk is part of a transition
from Drama to scribed writing. In the first...
“’IWonMIMUMNoM IWonMuM Rire. Ples’
        He read it back in role as ‘I want my mum. I want my mum.
        Really. Pleas...
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
D4LC first external valuation - 2005
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

D4LC first external valuation - 2005

1,490 views

Published on

This initial evaluation of D4LC was of Phase 1 of D4LC (Drama for Learning and Creativity) and was carried out by Dr David Simpson of Brighton University in 2005. Since then the methods of evaluation have changed, Please visit the website to read more www.d4lc.org

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

D4LC first external valuation - 2005

  1. 1. ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ [September 2005 – July 2006] An evaluation for National Drama, NESTA and Norfolk County Council Dr. D A Simpson (University of Brighton, School of Education)
  2. 2. Foreword ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ has been a learning journey for all the teachers and consultants involved. The success of the project is due to their individual and collective energy. There is a passionate commitment to whole class Drama as a teaching and learning medium throughout the three phases of the fieldwork period. Without exception, there is a determination to move children’s learning forward. The participants recognise that the project also represents a way to improve their own and others’ understanding of what it is to be a teacher in the early part of the twenty-first century. ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is successful in meeting the criteria set out in the Bid Document. The findings to support this judgement are presented in the following groups of bullet points. The management of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ • The management and structure of the action research ensures there is a clearly identified, evidence-oriented and manageable core for each of the schools’ projects. It is a very strong feature of the project. Use of funding • The use made of the funds available is entirely appropriate to the demands and needs of a research project. • There is evidence of careful forward planning for the dissemination of the project’s findings. 2
  3. 3. Research methodology • The research methodology that underpins the school-based action research enables teachers and consultants to collaborate in sustained, thoughtful ways. It sees the teachers assume responsibility for the direction of their fieldwork. There is consistent evidence that this responsibility has a profound effect on the teachers’ thinking about whole class Drama teaching, and its practice in the classroom. • Two related parts of the school-based action research are highly effective. The seminars to bring together teachers and consultants help both parties to realise their roles. They are a major contribution to the excellent working relationships between teachers and consultants. Second, the precise allocation of consultants makes sure that expertise is matched with schools. This deepens the first two school-based phases of the fieldwork. • The teachers’ initial research questions are adapted, discussed with consultants and developed in ways which add depth to the action research. The evidence available shows that one outcome of such deliberation is whole class teaching which stimulates and engages pupils of all ages and abilities. The impact of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ • The entry and exit questionnaires are evidence that an increasing number of schools now use Drama regularly as a methodology. Over 90% of schools surveyed state that Drama is influencing their development plans. Drama is now a significant priority for over half the schools in the survey, an increase of over 15%. • The exit questionnaire shows that all schools in the survey (100%) now have Drama in their improvement plans. 3
  4. 4. • ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ influences head-teachers as well as teachers. This suggests that the schools in the survey are developing both the policy and practice of whole class Drama teaching, with over 80% of the primary and middle schools surveyed now having a teacher responsible for Drama. • Over 90% of the teachers surveyed report an increase in their confidence to teach Drama. • The data points to a connection between confidence, knowledge and skill that has implications for the future of Drama teaching, especially at Key Stages One and Two. • The teachers’ journals show that pupils respond positively to what whole class Drama offers them as learners. There is consistent evidence that pupils think that it provides them with opportunities for affective and cognitive engagement with their learning. • By the time of the end of the project over 95% of the teachers surveyed are working with Drama in an increasing number of subjects. • There are equally firm quantitative indicators that the increase in the curriculum areas which feature Drama is matched by a rise in the time allocated on a regular basis to Drama. Over a third of schools now allocate more than an hour a week to Drama. • Teachers now work in the classroom with a significantly increased range of Drama conventions. Teacher in role, Hot seating and Thought tracking are far more evident in teacher’s work. As a result there is a different Drama ‘diet’ emerging which has the potential to broaden significantly children’s learning opportunities. • Drama is now viewed to be a means to develop pupils’ thinking. Teachers associate it with creative thinking, communication and expressive skills. Examples from three projects show that pupils take part in speculation, hypothesis making and testing, searching for reasons and making justifications rather than looking for the ‘right’ 4
  5. 5. answer. They experience standing in another person’s shoes and the exploration of other viewpoints than their own. Publications • The project is meeting its targets of producing high-quality publications directed at a range of audiences. For example, there has been print media coverage in the Times Educational Supplement, a web site became operational in January 2006 and an academic paper is to be presented at a major European conference on creativity. A CD ROM, which has accompanying materials, has been completed. Communication with the management group of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ during the period September 2005 – July 2006 The ease of communication with the project management group means there is no difficulty with gaining access to any material necessary for the three phase evaluations. One result is the availability of a substantial body of data for this report. There are, therefore, quotations from teachers and pupils as well as references from teachers and consultants’ writing in the main body of the report. Regular contact with the project management team not only makes writing the fieldwork’s three phase evaluations easier but it also enables me to act more as a critical friend to the project. This gives me an opportunity to undertake a learning journey too. It encourages me to think about how I see the role and shape of Drama teaching, especially in the light of government proposals for initial teacher education, and the school curriculum more generally. 5
  6. 6. As with the three phase evaluations, the writing of this report is actively encouraged and supported by Lorraine Harrison, Head of the School of Education. D A Simpson University of Brighton, School of Education, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9PH ds116@bton.ac.uk 01273 643376 October 2006 6
  7. 7. Contents Page Foreword 2 Contents 7 Tables and Appendices 8 Introduction - ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ 10 Evaluation Methodology 15 Results from ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ 22 Moving On 63 Bibliography 69 Appendices 71 7
  8. 8. Tables and Appendices Tables Table One The original research questions Table Two The subject areas where Drama is in use by the end of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ Table Three The combinations in teachers’ choices of the five purposes of Drama Table Four Drama conventions in the classroom Table Five Combinations in the teachers’ choices of the five purposes of Drama Table Six Planet Perfecton Table Seven Owl Babies Table Eight Rainforest Appendices Appendix 1 Funding for ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ Appendix 2 Success criteria Appendix 3 Evaluation schedule 8
  9. 9. Appendix 4 Are more schools now using Drama? Appendix 5 Teacher confidence and Drama teaching Appendix 6 What impact is Drama having on learning and creative outcomes? Appendix 7 Extracts from a research teacher’s diary Appendix 8 Extract from a research teacher’s log 9
  10. 10. 1. Introduction - ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ Introduction ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is initiated by Norfolk LEA. NESTA provides a major source of financial support. There is assistance on a much smaller scale from the University of Brighton School of Education who fund release from teaching for its evaluation and dissemination. The project investigates the capacity of whole class Drama to initiate, sustain and enhance children’s creativity and learning. It involves 60 schools in Norfolk LEA during the academic year 2005/6, with evaluation and dissemination running from June 2006 to May 2007. At its centre there are 14 schools which are designated as research schools. In these primary, middle and secondary schools, teachers work with consultants on a variety of whole class, teacher-initiated and managed projects. They are designed to stimulate creativity through Drama-based teaching and learning. The project’s structure and organisation ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is a collaborative venture. Teachers and consultants concentrate on how Drama can develop children’s creative capabilities. There is a management group of three, all of whom act as consultants to the schools in the project. It is led by Patrice Baldwin, Advisor for the Arts (Norfolk LEA) and Chair of National Drama, with two consultants, Pam Bowell (Kingston University and a former Chair of National Drama) and Kate Fleming (Drama Consultant and Vice Chair of National Drama). All three are experienced, highly-regarded Drama teachers with substantial classroom backgrounds. All have taken part in small-scale Drama and Arts projects before and are published widely in this field. Advice and support for the project management team comes from the Executive 10
  11. 11. Committee of National Drama, the principal subject organisation for Drama in the United Kingdom. The funding allows for two levels of involvement, an inner group of 14 chosen research schools and an outer looser grouping of over 50 schools (fuller details of the funding and expenditure are in Appendix 1). The inner group is made up of schools from Key Stages One to Four, with pupils from Reception to Year 10 taking part. Both the inner and outer levels of involvement work on investigations into Drama teaching and learning. The first seminar for the inner group of research schools (November 2005) emphasises the collaborative nature of the project. Teachers from the research schools work with the consultants to shape the wording and form of their project. Following the seminar the consultants spend half a day in each school on the research school’s chosen investigation. This takes several patterns. For example, in some schools a consultant leads a teaching session whilst in others the teaching is shared or the consultant joins the Drama in an agreed role. In the period from January to May 2006 the consultants make a second visit to their delegated schools, and both teachers and consultants meet for a further twilight seminar. Throughout the fieldwork teachers and consultants are in regular contact via email, phone and the exchange of longer documents. The outer group, which comprises over 50 more schools, are also visited twice between November 2005 and May 2006. Visits are made by either Patrice Baldwin, a Drama consultant or a local authority advanced skills teacher. Like the inner group, the outer group have two visits and are offered help and advice. However, they do not work to an agreed research question. The project management team meets on a number of occasions. It also meets with the executive of National Drama which enables reports on work in progress, as well as questions about the fieldwork, to be discussed fully with 11
  12. 12. leading members of the Drama subject community. As each phase of the fieldwork finishes, the project evaluator reports on how far and to what extent the project is meeting its targets (see Appendix 2). This sets up a dialogue between the evaluator and project management team that lasts for the length of the fieldwork. Background to ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ The project is the first in depth, classroom based Drama research project initiated by a national drama subject association – National Drama – in partnership with a local education authority. The project focuses on the relationships between whole class Drama teaching, creativity and learning. It comes from the project management group’s belief in Drama as something which is highly engaging to pupils. In their view Drama: • Develops pupils’ inter-thinking and learning; • Stimulates creativity through role play and sustained imaginative experience; • Enables visual, auditory and kinaesthetic access, understanding and expression; • Focuses on engaging empathically in ways that combine the cognitive and affective. [Bid Document, Section B4] Drama is seen as an inclusive, multi-faceted agency for the holistic development of children as learners. For the project management team, it is a learning medium that utilises a range of intelligences. They believe these engage all learners in ways which often go beyond the prescribed methods and formal teaching that dominate the current curriculum [Bid Document, Section B4]. 12
  13. 13. The management team’s view of Drama is in sympathy with ‘All Our Futures,’ the 1999 government report into the Arts. This report provides a definition of creativity which they support and use in their bid application. Creativity [NACCE 1999: 12] is: “Imaginative activity fashioned so as to produce outcomes that are both original and of value.” The management group adopt this definition for two reasons. The local authority’s schools work within a curriculum framework that endorses this report. The ‘Every Child Matters’ policy [DfES 2005] draws on ‘All Our Futures’ and shares its commitment to a creative curriculum in which imaginative enquiry are part of all pupils’ entitlement. ‘All Our Futures’ itself refers to its description of creativity as a democratic one. This is in keeping with two key, related areas of the project, what happens in the classroom and the sharing of ideas between teachers and consultants. The interplay between classroom and discussion - which is led by ideas rather than by either teachers or consultants - is a sharing, supportive one that is part of the approach to the Arts championed by ‘All Our Futures.’ It relies upon equal voices in and out of the classroom. ‘All Our Futures’ goes on to state that creative thinking and behaviour is always imaginative, purposeful, original and valuable. The management group take this further in order to identify what they consider to be the ”features” of drama within a context of creativity and learning [Bid Document, Section B5]. They choose five features of creative thinking and behaviour from the QCA document ’Creativity: Find it, Promote it’ [QCA 2005]. These are: • Questioning and challenging; • Exploring ideas, keeping options open; • Making connections and seeing relationships; • Envisaging what might be; • Reflecting critically on ideas, actions and outcomes. 13
  14. 14. The five “types of behaviour” are to be exemplified by the processes and outcomes of the research schools’ projects [Bid Document, Section B5]. The success criteria for ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ The success criteria come from the Bid Document. They are arranged under three headings, Classroom Centred, Drama Subject Community and Influence on Government Curriculum Policy (Appendix 2). The QCA Creativity Criteria [QCA 2005] are referred to extensively in Section 3.6. This Section is where the impact of Drama on learning and creative outcomes is analysed in detail. The QCA criteria are assumed to be part of the success criteria. The production of high quality publications is seen as an important contribution to debates about Drama and learning at the start of the twenty- first century, and a way to influence government curriculum policy. The management team feel that whole class Drama does not have the profile which it deserves within education. They believe there is a need to raise the profile of Drama overall, both as a subject and an area for research. Consequently they attach importance to the quality of the written outcomes, as well as recognising that there are a number of audiences who may well require different publications. 14
  15. 15. 2. Evaluation Methodology ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ seeks to explore how whole class Drama enriches teaching and learning. At the same time it aims to raise the educational profile of drama. The evaluation of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is scheduled to run from September 2005 until May 2007. The school-based action research, which is the fieldwork part of the project, takes up the academic year 2005/6. This length of time, coupled with the diversity of activities that take place during the fieldwork, leads to a two-stage evaluation. In stage one, each phase of the school-based action research – evaluative, formative, and summative - is evaluated immediately it finishes. The phase evaluations focus on how the work proceeds, as well as providing information for the funding agencies. They also show the management group how much has been achieved (Appendix 3 is an overview of the evaluation schedule). The second stage of the evaluation is based on data analysis. There are two sources of data; replies and responses from questionnaires and teachers’ writing undertaken as part of the action research. An entry questionnaire is completed at the start of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ in September 2005 and an exit one at the finish of the classroom-centred action research in the summer of 2006. The entry questionnaire is a snap-shot of drama teaching with separate questionnaires for head-teachers and teachers. The head-teacher questionnaire concentrates on the overall presence and organisation of Drama in the school and its wider curriculum. 45 replies are received by the end of October 2005. The teacher questionnaire looks at the classroom and use of Drama by teachers. 76 replies are received in the same period. The exit questionnaire has a number of different questions. It follows up issues raised 15
  16. 16. by the entry questionnaire (for example, the time allocated to Drama within the school). This is because one purpose is to give comparative data to enable ‘before’ and ‘after’ to be included in this evaluation. But it is also designed to be a response to both the on-going action research in schools and the entry questionnaire. A number of ideas from the second and third phases of the fieldwork do feed into the action research. They provide information that helps to re-formulate a number of the exit questionnaire’s items, in particular those which ask for written replies of one or two sentences or longer. 43 head- teachers and 45 teachers reply to this questionnaire. The second source of data is an extensive sample of written materials collected from the research school teachers and consultants. The qualitative data from the teacher logs and diaries is coded and categorised using standard research approaches [for example Mason 1996; Riley 1992]. An identical method is used with the teachers’ replies to the open ended responses from both questionnaires. It ensures that all prose is analysed in the same way and makes it more likely that the final writing is accurate and reliable. All the categorised data is then read against the quantitative data for comparative purposes. The qualitative and quantitative data are brought together in the evaluation. The intention is to present a rounded analysis that captures a sense of the daily life of contemporary whole class Drama teaching. It is also a way to work with data whereby the voice of teachers and pupils can be heard. This is necessary if the evaluation is to capture the flavour of how the project meets its stipulated criteria. The technique brings with it matters of permission and confidentiality. Participating teachers and head-teachers are expected to return the questionnaires, and – as far as possible – are guaranteed confidentiality. A similar assurance is given for the teachers’ logs and diaries. However, 16
  17. 17. individual, informed consent from pupils to use what they say or write in the documents written by the teachers is implicit and assumed to be included within the explicit teacher permission. An assumption is made about permission to quote from the pupil work that is submitted by a teacher as part of their action research. Questions about such assumptions are ethical issues that confront any writer who wants to portray the lived experience of a school [Hammersley and Atkinson 1995]. Mason [1996: 31] warns against using the “least stringent set of moral criteria” in order to justify a duplicitous action. For Hammersley and Atkinson [1995] what is appropriate and inappropriate depends on the context. A writer has to decide if there are necessary and sufficient grounds for believing that he has, in good faith, permission to print quotations from children’s written and spoken words. There is also uncertainty about confidentiality. Although teachers and pupils are not identified in the evaluation, there are indications of the location of schools and teachers within the data. For example, a school’s project may be known to the parents and possibly, via the school’s web site, to a literally universal audience. For this reason the extracts from the teachers’ logs and diaries which are to be found in the Appendices are edited to remove as much identification as possible. It is the reason why the pupils’ comments are excluded from the Appendices. Therefore, direct references to pupils and teachers are kept to a minimum to avoid invalidating the evaluation or breaching the moral code expected of a writer who deals with material that is confidential. It would be easy to refer to the quantitative data alone, and so avoid some of the features of the debates about permission and confidentiality. To do so would present an incomplete as well as false picture of what the project sets out to achieve. It is hoped that readers of the evaluation bear these issues in mind, and understand the reasons for the limited presence of supporting extracts from teachers’ logs and diaries. 17
  18. 18. Research Methodology of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ The principal methodology of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is classroom-based action research. Data collection and interpretation are carried out by teachers and consultants who work together on whole class teaching and the reflection that stems from this teaching. Action research is a group of research methodologies that simultaneously pursue action (or change) and research (or understanding) [http://www.scu.edu.au/schools]. They are methodologies based upon a Plan-Act-Observe-Reflect cycle or “spiral process which alternates between action and critical reflection.” Action research: “….tries to work towards effective action through good processes and appropriate participation. It tries also to collect adequate data, and interpret it well. At its best, action research is done so that the action and the research enhance each other.” [Dick: http: //www.scu.edu.au/schools] Action research is a continual interplay between action and reflection [Searle 2004]. McNiff refers to this inter-relationship as a form of self reflective practice [http://www.jeanmcniff.com/booklet1]. As those working on an action research project begin to effect change, so the data collection methods, the data itself and earlier interpretations are reviewed and revised [Cohen and Mannion 2002] ‘in the light of understandings developed in the earlier cycles of the process’ [http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/]. The collaboration between teachers and consultants in this project relies on action research to inter-relate action and reflection; teachers and consultants, action and reflection all guide and shape each other in a mutually responsive as well as dynamic manner. The active and the reflective are central, equal elements of a collaborative research process that underpins the project. 18
  19. 19. Three issues in the evaluation of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ In addition to debates about permission and confidentiality, a further issue for an evaluator of an action research project is whether it is possible to remain an outsider during the period of data collection. In any project where data gathering and reflection are combined, the direction the work takes may well be determined by a combination of “accident and happenstance” as well as planning [Von Mannen 1988:2]. McKeganey and Barnard [1996: 15] write about a comparable situation: “Looking back at this period of field research it is apparent that a good deal of what was achieved was arrived at through a process of trial and error. There was no blueprint for us to follow….The mix of research methods was largely a response to the particularities of gathering information in the context of street prostitution.” McKeganey and Barnard’s discussions about the data collection resonate with the action research cycle for ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity.’ The planned combination of the active and the reflective may initiate changes to the individual school’s research question, methods of data collection and thus their eventual analysis. Like any research project, the action research that forms a central part of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ can be influenced by everyday circumstances (for example, unexpected time constraints in school) as well as things like potential changes in patterns of teacher co- operation (for instance, creating times to meet a consultant or attend the twilight seminars). The “happenstance” factors in any research project have the potential to affect the scope, content and outcomes of the drama teaching at the heart of the project, and, as a result, influence the substance of some of the reflection of the teachers and consultants. To have access to the inside of this part of the fieldwork process is, therefore, an important part of an evaluation. It helps an evaluator to gain a fuller insight into the thinking behind the decisions, thoughts and feelings of the teachers and consultants as 19
  20. 20. they plan, carry out and review their drama teaching. To evaluate a project like ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity,’ with such a pronounced commitment to action research requires an evaluator to work from within the project. One way in which evaluation from the inside of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ manifests itself is through what can be called the evaluator’s stance. In this case, to adapt Schon’s term, the evaluator is a “critical friend” [Schon 1985: 27]. Such a role helps an evaluator avoid becoming too near to a project because to become so closely identified with the participants in a project can invalidate any findings [Silverman 1992]. Writing about ethnographic research, Hammersley and Atkinson [1995: 75] argue that rather than engage in “futile attempts to eliminate the effects of the researcher we should set about understanding them.” An evaluator can be part of a project but has to retain a sense of detachment to write a report which is based upon published criteria. This stance gives an evaluator the opportunity to meet the consultants during the action research. It allows the evaluator to put forward ideas about issues like data collection, teacher researcher diaries and how to record reflective discussions. For ’Drama for Learning and Creativity’ “critical friend” is more to do with the processes of data collection than content. It enables the evaluator to offer support over questions about the overall methodology of the action research. It is one way to help the project maintain sight of issues which have the potential to take it forward. An evaluator also has to respect the personal involvement of those doing the action research. McNiff [http://www.jeanmcniff.com/booklet1] argues that action researchers “enquire into their own lives” as an investigation such as that undertaken for ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is “an enquiry conducted by the self into the self.” The action researcher has to think about her/his own life, something that asks her/him to think about their own life, why they do the things they do and why they are the way they are. To 20
  21. 21. evaluate a project with action research as the chosen methodology is to place an evaluator in the position of having to recognise that professional judgements and decisions are personal ones as well. What teachers, consultants and an evaluator bring to the project is not just their expertise as teachers and lecturers but, to adapt McNiff’s phrase, their ‘selves’ as well. 21
  22. 22. 3. Results from ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ Introduction This section reports on how the success criteria are met (Appendix 2). The results are organised under seven headings. They are: 1. Use of funding and allocation of expenditure; 2. Appropriateness and effectiveness of the project’s action research methodology; 3. Are an increasing number of schools using Drama as a methodology? 4. Teacher confidence and Drama teaching; 5. Pupil attitudes towards Drama; 6. What impact is Drama having on learning and creative outcomes? 7. Publications 1. Use of funding and allocation of expenditure The use made of the funds available is appropriate to the demands and needs of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity.’ In particular the seminars and deployment of the consultants are thought by both teachers and head- teachers to be very effective. The seminars which bring together the teachers and consultants for sustained, focussed discussion and on-going review of the classroom projects help both parties to realise their roles. They are also a telling contribution to the excellent working relationships between the teachers and consultants. The match of consultant to school enables them to work in their specialist fields, something that adds weight to the fieldwork and the resultant writings by teachers and consultants. The visits to schools are seen as highlights and benefits of the project by teachers. A number of head-teachers see these visits 22
  23. 23. as catalysts for change and comment on how the consultants’ expertise feeds into the research teachers in their schools. For example, it allows a speedy, non-threatening cascading of ideas to colleagues previously reluctant to use Drama. The next phase of the project is a dissemination phase. Conferences and publications are planned as part of a concerted drive to publicise the project and demonstrate the effectiveness of Drama as a learning medium. Given the volume of research and teaching materials, ideas and approaches produced by teachers and consultants during the school-based action research, they are both necessary and important for project’s success. Furthermore, the preparation for the proposed conferences and meetings is careful and justifies the costs attached to them. 2. Appropriateness and effectiveness of the project’s action research methodology The choice of action research as the research paradigm is appropriate for three reasons. It matches the management team’s insistence on the creation and maintenance of collaborative relationships between teachers and consultants. Second, it makes it possible for the schools’ research questions to be kept under continual review and revised to meet any changes that arise during the fieldwork. Third, the use of this research paradigm with all 14 research schools makes certain that there is a clearly identified, evidence-oriented and manageable core for all the school-based work. It is the research school teachers who work with consultants on the questions identified at a research seminar held in November 2005 (Table 1). The further 40 schools who also take part in the project are supported differently. They are not asked to devise a research question but are entitled to visits from a consultant or local authority advanced skills teacher. From the beginning 23
  24. 24. there are two clearly defined levels of participation. The support allotted to the research schools, and that available to the outer layer of schools, is appropriate to their respective levels of participation in the project. The first seminar for the research schools generates revised questions that match up with the project’s criteria on creativity and learning. It also encourages the teachers to explore their question in ways they think are suited to their schools. The emphasis in the initial questions is writing, with 10 proposals referring explicitly to En 3 Writing in National Curriculum English (for example ‘Can the use of drama strategies impact on the quality of different genres of writing?) or the development of literacy skills (in the role play area, for instance). Although the project management group are uneasy at this tendency, discussion with the research teachers leads to an agreed decision to make the questions tentative. The consultants stress the need for the continual revision of priorities in the action research as it develops in school. There is evidence of the success of this approach in Appendix 7. A teacher writes: “So I changed my research question into “How does drama influence children’s creativity?” I felt this was much more manageable. But what is creativity? Is it just as complicated as writing? A product of a long process? The work we have done this year provides some answers to these questions but it also raises more questions.” For this teacher, an original question moves towards a broader issue, creativity, which she sees as a further question in itself (“But what is creativity?”) that makes her eventually reach a further, specific issue that joins creativity with writing (“Is it just as complicated as writing? A product of a long process?). By accepting the need for the continuous review of the question as a way to direct the action research this teacher recognises the 24
  25. 25. perpetual cycle that is at the heart of action research (“The work we have done this year provides some answers to these questions but it also raises more questions.”). This is an example of how reflection modifies the content and direction of action research. It confirms that the on-going review of the fieldwork has to be initiated by teachers for teachers. Other research questions show different emphases. For instance, one question brings together aspects of motivation and engagement with features of successful learning (“Can drama empower children to become self motivated learners (cross curricula drama)?”). It is directed to the whole curriculum, unlike the questions that focus on English and literacy. Another question (“Does drama extend children’s ability to solve problems and articulate their methods and reasoning in maths?) concentrates on the connections between the pedagogy of problem solving and whole class Drama in mathematics teaching. The questions reflect a diversity of interests and concerns, with an understandable focus on writing which is, in one teacher’s words in the entry questionnaire, “at the forefront of our minds.” There are broader questions that aim to investigate Drama’s potential for the curriculum and its capacity to engage children fully in their learning. To support the research school teachers, funding is used to secure teacher- release, two visits from a consultant and finance for further research seminars in Spring and Summer 2006. It is a level of support that extends as well as deepens the teachers’ contact with their consultant. The consultants work within the action research framework, offering encouragement, help and guidance where they are wanted and needed. One result is the development of learning partnerships which the teachers believe are a valuable contribution to their action research. The use of action research is both appropriate and effective. It gives the teachers a dynamic and reflective way to devise and develop their initial 25
  26. 26. questions. Because their questions evolve as the project continues, teachers own their research questions and feel able to adapt them as they see fit. One of the project’s strengths is that there is no single question which the teachers feel obliged to answer. They can, and do, direct their energies, enthusiasms and skills towards something they believe is important for their school. In this respect, the consultants are seen as part of the action research methodology and not an addition to it. The relationship between teacher and consultant is based on equality and a shared desire to develop Drama teaching within the context of each individual school’s needs. It is another strong feature of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity,’ as well as an appropriate, effective research methodology. 3. Are an increasing number of schools using Drama as a methodology? Appendix 4.1 shows that 22.1% of primary schools taught Drama as a timetabled lesson in 2004/5. Over three quarters of schools choose not to use Drama in this way, preferring to use it in Literacy, as well as part of a curriculum “carousel” or in cross curricula work (Appendix 4.2). More broadly, schools also see its role in terms of public events like assemblies or seasonal presentations (for example, Nativity plays or pantomimes). It indicates that Drama is considered to be a learning medium whose role and value relates to the teaching of Literacy and, more broadly, to the curriculum as a whole, including the corporate life of the school. Furthermore, Drama is more likely to be envisaged as cross-curricula rather than to be thought of as a separate, defined subject. At the start of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ qualitative and quantitative data shows that Drama is present as a classroom- centred learning medium which has an active part in the corporate life of schools. Rather than repeat this question in the exit questionnaire, head-teachers are asked for their views about the extent Drama influences their development plans for 2006/7, the year following the project. The entry questionnaire 26
  27. 27. (Appendix 4.3) shows that for 2004/5 drama is part of 67.5% of primary school development plans. Following the project, 92.3% of primary schools state that Drama is influencing their development plans (Appendix 4.4) and become a significant priority for over half the schools in the survey (Appendix 4.5). As Appendix 4.5 shows further that all schools in the survey see Drama as part of their improvement plans, there is evidence that Drama is now part of the curriculum in all the authority’s primary schools and that, therefore, the project meets this criteria. Nearly half of the replies to open-ended questions in both the entry and exit questionnaires refer to the same two things. They are the expertise and knowledge to teach Drama and confidence. In the entry questionnaire, head- teachers and teachers alike express worries about their professional abilities in Drama. Comments like “I’m not very good at Drama” and “I’m not confident because I don’t have the same knowledge that I have in Maths or R.E” indicate their concerns. At the same time, the entry questionnaire reveals that there are already a number of teachers who have strong backgrounds in Drama (“I’ve always been involved with Drama both in and out of school”), believe in its potential (“Drama is a way to unlock children’s learning”) and want to use it more in the classroom (“It has potential for everything we teach”). There is a duality of worry about and commitment to Drama which is an expression of a tension in teachers’ views about their capabilities to teach Drama. One factor here may be that, prior to the start of the project, only a third of the primary and middle schools have a teacher with school-wide responsibility for Drama. Appendices 4.6 and 4.7 indicate one way in which primary and middle schools are addressing the combined issues of expertise, knowledge and confidence. Appendix 4.7, which comes from the exit questionnaire, shows that from September 2006 the number of primary and middle schools with a named teacher responsible for Drama will have more than doubled. It 27
  28. 28. is anticipated that from this date, 80% of such schools will have a teacher with an explicit remit for Drama. Some of the increase in the number of teachers who are willing to take on a responsibility for Drama may stem directly from the project. In an email sent to a consultant after the teacher-led action research in his school one primary head-teacher writes: “We’re really excited and enthusiastic about drama – thanks to you and the project – if only we had received good quality drama education during teacher training and at school I’m sure it would have been an integral part of my teaching – but I’ll make sure it is from now on. Who said ‘you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?’ rubbish !!!!” The comment indicates that part of the success of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ lies with its commitment to a combination of increasing teacher knowledge and expertise and raising confidence, together with the project’s action research methodology. Personal contact between consultant, head- teacher and teacher which is established through action research (“you and the project”) is seen to be a powerful influence by an experienced teacher (“Who said ‘you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?’ rubbish !!!!”). At the same time the head-teacher’s statement is further evidence that action research is an appropriate methodology for the project. The quotation also echoes a criticism from teachers and head-teachers which occurs throughout the entry and exit questionnaires. Appendix 4.8 shows that although two-thirds of teachers receive Drama as part of their initial teacher education, one third does not have Drama in their course. Two recently qualified teachers write in the entry questionnaire how Drama is “one afternoon” of their course and how it is “something that was added on more or less at the end.” A number of other teachers, who attend short and year- long local authority Drama courses, write of the “inspirational courses” which 28
  29. 29. they “wished had been part of their (teacher) training.” “We need courses like this all the time” is how another teacher writes in the exit questionnaire to summarise her/his need for continuous professional development in Drama. The evidence in this Section confirms that ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is meeting its criteria about ensuring an increasing number of schools use Drama as a methodology. There are also indications that it is influencing head-teachers as well as teachers. Increasingly, Drama is part of school development plans. To accompany the change, over four fifths of the primary and middle schools in the survey are putting in place a post of responsibility for Drama. 4. Teacher confidence and Drama teaching The entry questionnaire provides limited evidence about teacher’s confidence to teach Drama. The question has a ‘middle’ reply which indicates that just over half of the teachers (55.6%) are confident to teach their own class some aspects of Drama (see Appendix 5.1). The 9.7% of teachers who are confident to lead Drama confirms the previous Section’s view of the existence of a core of teachers with the capacity to lead Drama in their school. When the percentage of teachers who indicate they are confident only with play-scripts is added to those who say they have no confidence to teach Drama, a total of more than 12% of teachers express a lack of confidence in their ability to teach Drama. It supports further the idea of a duality between worry and commitment that is reported in the previous Section. What is more, there are, at the start of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity,’ more teachers who are concerned about having to teach Drama than those who think they have the skills and confidence to lead their colleagues in Drama teaching. The influence of the project on teacher confidence can be gauged by data collected from three items in the exit questionnaire. In total over 90% of the 29
  30. 30. teachers involved as either research schools or as part of the project’s outer layer report an increase in their confidence to teach Drama (Appendix 5.2). There are no negative returns for this question. When asked about their confidence to teach classes other than their own, over 60% of the teachers believe that they can. If this is placed alongside the indication that 88.7% of teachers believe they have a range of new Drama teaching ideas and approaches (Appendix 5.3), it suggests that the development of confidence is allied with the acquisition of knowledge and skill. One primary school teacher writes: “It’s much more rewarding working with the whole class in the hall than I expected. I’m becoming more confident each time.” Working in the way that Drama demands can surprise teachers and take them aback (“It’s much more rewarding working with the whole class in the hall than I expected”). With her newly acquired knowledge and skills this teacher is “becoming more confident each time” she teaches Drama. Writing about the duality of worry and enthusiasm another teacher writes: “I am covering more along with excitement, fun and developing imagination. I am feeling less and less anxious each time. I am feeling more successful each time.” With confidence comes a sense of relaxation (“I am feeling less and less anxious each time”) that creates a potent learning context for children that brings together “excitement, fun and developing imagination.” With the continuous use of Drama this teacher is “feeling more successful each time.” Again there is reference to how long it takes to acquire confidence. It is seen as a gradual process. But as she continues to use whole class Drama, and her confidence to do so grows, this teacher thinks Drama enables her to exceed the prescribed curriculum (“I am covering more “). Some of the rewards for working more frequently with whole class Drama teachers include increased feelings of confidence and success. There is less concern with covering 30
  31. 31. objectives and more belief in the role of Drama to generate an imaginative, broader curriculum. The project gives the teachers who take part the confidence to work effectively with whole class Drama. Although there remain a number of anxieties for teachers, the data contains clear indications that the enjoyment experienced by teachers and pupils can outweigh the worries that accompany teaching Drama. 5. Pupil attitudes towards Drama The teachers’ journals from two of the research schools have the following pupil comments about Drama. “When is our next History lesson? (because we do drama)” “When I read it I don’t get it, but when I do it, it sticks.” “I love it when you pretend to be someone else, Miss.” “Can we do drama, today?” “I think Drama is important because it grabs people’s attention. It’s a fun way to learn.” Another teacher writes: “The children like drama….a lot. It’s nice to be stopped in the corridor nearly every day and have conversations like this – Pupil: When’s our next drama lesson? Teacher: Thursday Pupil: Cool Teacher: Do you like Drama? Pupil: It’s wicked” The data in the fieldwork journals read for the preparation of this evaluation all show that pupils like Drama. They respond positively to al that it offers them as learners. There is a sense of anticipation (“Can we do drama, today?”) 31
  32. 32. that their learning is to be different in Drama (“It’s a fun way to learn”). They enjoy Drama (“It’s wicked”), find that it makes the retention of what is being learned more accessible and long-lasting (“When I read it I don’t get it, but when I do it, it sticks”) and see their teacher as someone who does more than set them work to do (“I love it when you pretend to be someone else, Miss.”). The data also shows that pupils see Drama as a positive influence on the way they retain ideas. For example, one teacher asks her/his class to think of a lesson “where drama was used and where you really learnt something.” Pupil replies include: “The rainforest…now I know that the rainforest got destroyed…and we learnt that there are animals dying and losing their homes.” “Literacy. Often it is used when we are writing a story and I don’t understand it.” “Yes, during History we have done drama and it helps stick in my memory because of the fun actions.” “In History because we are learning about the Black Death and I can remember a lot of information because we did it in drama not in books.” The comments suggest a certainty and security of the knowledge learned through Drama (“now I know that the rainforest got destroyed”) along with a number of the inter-connections that lie within that knowledge (“there are animals dying and losing their homes.”). Drama also helps with the clarification that is part of the meaning making which is integral to writing (“Often it is used when we are writing a story and I don’t understand it.”). For a content-heavy topic like the Black Death it helps pupils to recall a volume of ideas (“I can remember a lot of information”) as well as the details (“it helps stick it in my memory”). From the pupils’ point of view Drama has the potential to develop the knowledge retention and application that they think is necessary for successful learning in content-heavy subjects. 32
  33. 33. Data from one school provides an insight into the inclusive nature of Drama. When asked if Drama “is important to do in schools” a pupil responds with: “Yes, it is because the children will teach the children to come out of the dark and into the light.” When asked to explain what this means the pupil adds: “When I first did drama I was really nervous but now I really like it. It helps you express yourself and not hide away.” Pupil gain the confidence to find their voice through Drama (“It helps you express yourself and not hide away.”) and the encouragement to express as well as share ideas and opinions with his/her peers. Another pupil in the same school thinks one of the benefits of Drama is that “you get to mix with other people and share their ideas.” Drama has both cognitive and affective roles in learning. The pupils’ views indicate that cognitive-led knowledge acquisition is enhanced and made more enjoyable because it is bound up with an affective engagement with what is being studied. Drama blends the cognitive and affective domains successfully and, by doing so, makes pupils more responsive to the knowledge they have to learn. One pupil’s reply to the question whether Drama is an important thing to do is: “Yes, I think it is because I think I learn more. The reason why is because I get into it more, but when we are doing it I do not think I am learning but when we have finished then I realise.” Pupil attitudes towards Drama are positive. There is evidence that pupils think they “learn more” because of a depth of engagement (“I get into it more”) in which they are not aware they are learning (“when we are doing it I do not think I am learning”). It is afterwards that pupils begin to grasp they have been learning throughout the Drama (“when we have finished then I 33
  34. 34. realise.”). The evidence gathered for this section of the evaluation suggests that pupils think that Drama is equally significant for the processes of learning as it is for the outcome. Their enjoyment of learning is clear, and indicates that the project is doing much more than just meeting its criteria. Pupils have positive attitudes towards Drama. They think that Drama helps them to learn information and be able to retain knowledge securely within their working memory. They believe it also helps them with the volume of material they have to learn. In addition, pupils are aware of how Drama encourages all to contribute, no matter how much they lack self- belief and self- confidence. 6. What impact is Drama having on learning and creative outcomes? Appendix 6.1 confirms the extent Drama is found in one subject, English. The figure of just over a third of schools having Drama lessons is higher in this table than Appendix 4.1, but this may be because 4.1 refers to “lesson” whilst the question in Appendix 6.1 is directed more towards the wider curriculum, including clubs and school plays. A comparison between Appendices 6.2 and 6.3 indicates that teachers, particularly those in Reception, Key Stage One and Two and Year 7 classes in middle schools, now work with Drama in an increasing range of subjects. Table 2 shows the curriculum areas where Drama gains substantially. It also shows that there are gains across the primary and Year 7 curriculum. The nearly 50% gain for Citizenship may also reflect the broad scope of recent government materials, some of which include Drama, as well as local authority curriculum initiatives. However, the figures for P.E. and I.C.T. may be distorted. The difference between Appendix 6.2 and 6.3 shows P.E. to gain just over 1.0%. National Curriculum P.E. Key Stages One and Two [DfEE 1999: 128 – 133] has Dance as part of P.E. Appendix 6.3 has Drama connected 34
  35. 35. with Dance in over half the schools in the exit survey. When this is added to the P.E. figure in the same survey, it suggests that over three-quarters of the schools (77.1%) join P.E., Dance and Drama. Even if there is an overlap between P.E and Dance in the figures, it appears likely that Drama is perceived to have a marked curriculum connection with National Curriculum P.E. If this is accurate, then the gains of over 20% in the subject areas studying Drama at the end of the school-based action research are Citizenship, Geography, Visual Arts and P.E., all of which can be associated more with ‘Arts’ than ‘Sciences.’ This is confirmed by Appendix 6.3. It shows Literacy, Citizenship, History, Dance/P.E and Geography to be the curriculum areas where Drama is used by more than 50% of the schools surveyed. Appendix 6.6, also from the exit questionnaire, supports this finding as it shows that 64.3% and 61.0% of teachers think Drama is of either “some importance” or no importance for children’s learning in Science and Maths respectively. The scores imply that almost two thirds of teachers do not, at present, make curriculum connections between Drama and mathematical or scientific thinking. The entry and exit questionnaire returns for I.C.T. in Appendix 6.3, 6.4 and 6.6 also have significance for Drama. At the start of the action research only 1% of respondents reply that they use I.C.T. with Drama. Although this rises by nearly 15% it still means that four fifths of teachers do not associate Drama with I.C.T. Appendix 6.6 shows that 70.0% of teachers think that Drama has only some or no importance for children’s learning in I.C.T. By the end of the fieldwork a maximum of only one-third of teachers are working with Drama in I.C.T. Appendix 6.4 is evidence that by the time of the exit survey over 95% of the teachers work with Drama in an increasing number of subjects. A comparison between Appendices 6.7 and 6.8 shows that the increase in those curriculum 35
  36. 36. areas where Drama occurs is matched by an increase in the time allocated to Drama on a regular basis. Over a third of schools surveyed now commit more than one hour a week to Drama, either within English/Literacy or across the curriculum. This is in contrast with less than 5% at the start of the project. The rise is over 25%. The number of schools who expect to work with Drama for between 30 minutes and one hour a week increases by a similar percentage to 60%. Drama now occupies a much more secure as well as prominent place in the whole primary curriculum. The range of subjects where drama is used and the amount of time allocated to it on a weekly basis are both part of a larger picture in which Drama is increasingly a priority for the primary and middle school curriculum. Over half the schools see it as a priority and four fifths of all the schools surveyed want to have a teacher responsible for it. The exit questionnaire findings in Appendix 6.6 show that Drama is thought to be very important or important for children’s learning in English, Citizenship, History, R.E. and possibly P.E/ Dance by over four fifths of the primary and middle school teachers in the survey. For Geography and Music, Drama is very important or important for 60% of schools, with half the teachers seeing Drama as having a similar role in Art and Design. The areas with least exposure to Drama are Mathematics, Science and I.C.T. Even with the figures for these last three subjects, whole class Drama now features regularly in two thirds of the curriculum and is likely to make up over one hour a week of a child’s learning. There is, therefore, far greater cross curricula use of whole class Drama than at the start of the fieldwork. Further evidence of the project’s impact on learning and creative outcomes comes from data on the teaching activities found in whole class Drama. Table 3.1 is from the entry questionnaire. It shows that at the beginning of the project over a fifth of teachers use Hot seating, Role play and Enacting (which includes ‘Acting out’ and ‘Act out’). When the scores for Role play and Enacting are added together they make up 42%, which is twice the figure for 36
  37. 37. Hot seating and 35.4% more than the next dramatic activity, Freeze framing. At the start of the project, the data indicates that teachers connect Drama strongly with Role play and Enacting but far less with conventions like Hot seating and Thought tracking. The extent that Enacting and Role play are prominent in whole class Drama at the opening of the fieldwork is found in examples in the entry questionnaire. For instance “Acting out the Fire of London” is to “help improve descriptive writing especially extending vocabulary”; “Acting out the story of Rama and Sita” is “to enter into and relate to another religious story” and “to promote questions.” In a History activity called ‘Wifey wifey’ the children are “in role as Henry VIII’s wives” and “have to defend their case” to “improve questioning skills, empathy and improvisation.” An example from Numeracy has children “playing the role of the greedy shop keeper” so that they learn to “increase prices by (the) set amount” and “total amounts.” The same teacher has an example from Literacy in which “children take on a character from a traditional tale” “to generate words that describe their character, their looks, movements and behaviour.” Although these examples come from across the curriculum, over 22% are from History, 18% from PHSE, 15.2% from R.E. and 20% from Literacy. Enacting and Role play are most likely to be found in primarily four curriculum areas when the project begins. Table 3.2 has a different slant. The same entry questionnaire data as before is divided into ‘illustrative’ and ‘narrative.’ There is a distinction between Drama teaching to illustrate ideas or points and Drama as a means to make a narrative. 80% of the Drama teaching appears to be geared to showing, for instance, how language works (“help improve descriptive writing especially extending vocabulary”), how to reason and question (“improve questioning skills, empathy and improvisation”) and how to calculate (“increase prices by (the) set amount” and “total amounts.”). In these examples, Role play and Acting out illustrate procedures associated with a body of knowledge. By 37
  38. 38. contrast only 20% of the responses describe teaching in which the pupils make narratives, from either non-fiction or fiction. The finding about the illustrative use of Drama can be matched up with the uses of dramatic conventions like Mantle of the expert, Hot seating and Freeze framing. In an example from Geography teaching, Mantle of the expert aims to help the pupils to “find relevant information and present it to others.” In a History Role play, Freeze framing and Hot seating combine with the aim of ensuring pupils “understand situation and emotions of different people during the 1930s.” When ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ begins, conventions like Hot seating, as well as Acting out and Role play, are all connected more with the illustration of ideas, concepts and moments than with the construction of a narrative. Table 3.3 points to a change between the start and end of the fieldwork part of the project. Although it is not possible to make a direct comparison between Tables 4.1 and 4.3, it is clear that by the end of the fieldwork teachers are working more consistently with a broader array of drama conventions. For example, the replies show Acting out, Freeze frame and Teacher in role have become part of all the teachers’ work at some point in the fieldwork (Table 3.3). Conventions like Hot seating and Build an environment have a more than 90% chance of being used in this period. This is different from the beginning of the project in which there is a reliance on a narrow range and infrequent use of Drama strategies (Table 3.1). At that time Hot seating is in 21.3% of the examples, Freeze framing in less than 5% and Conscience alley in just over 2%. By the end of the fieldwork, four more Drama conventions (Build an environment, Conscience Alley, Mantle of the expert and Teacher in role) are regular teaching strategies for over 50% of the teachers. The previous reliance on Acting out and Role play is in the process of being replaced. The diet of activity has extended so that Enacting and Role play are now 38
  39. 39. partnered by a variety of Drama conventions like Teacher in role and Mantle of the expert. While two Drama strategies, Acting out and Freeze framing, continue to be prominent, the pronounced emergence of Teacher in role is a significant alteration to the landscape of whole class Drama teaching. Unlike other dramatic conventions, Teacher in role places the teacher as a character within the dramatic context. It works through representation [Ackroyd 2004] as the teacher becomes part of what is to unfold. A teacher mediates the “teaching purpose” through her/his involvement in the drama [Neelands 1990: 32]. As the Drama continues, “teachers in role are also writing as they go, because they have to respond to the moment” [Ackroyd 2004: 161]. It is a strategy, amongst other things, to provoke thoughts and feelings, direct the course of the narrative, create possibilities as well as uncertainties, question pupils’ stereotypical thinking and stimulate their involvement. The entry questionnaire records that 2.2% of the teachers’ examples use this strategy. However, the exit survey shows that just over half of the teachers say they use it all or most of the time, and 48.8% some of the time. During the course of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ over nine-tenths of the teachers in the survey experience working with Teacher in role in whole class Drama, which is an increase of more than 90%. The nature of the change is evident in two of the case studies submitted by teachers. For example ‘Owl Babies’ (Table 7) has shared reading and talk groups framed by a sequence of five Drama conventions. The teacher is in role as a baby owl and is questioned (hot seated) by the pupils. The questions and answers are integral to the pupils’ creation of an alternative, speculative text. Teacher in role takes two forms which are integral to a non-fiction based whole class Drama, Rainforest (Table 8). In the first form, Teacher in role is a guide who creates the rainforest through the visual and tactile (“we took the class on an expedition into the rainforest….to explore and feedback on sights 39
  40. 40. and smells”). In the second form, when in role as Professor X, the teacher controls access to the forest. ‘Rainforest’ and ‘Owl Babies’ have teachers in roles which are powerful or dominant (as a Professor), equal (a guide to the rain forest) and weak or sub-ordinate (one of the baby owls). A teacher who steps into teacher in role moves from spectator to participant in imaginative work that is narrative or illustrative. They become part of the Drama as characters (baby owls or a professor, for instance), as writers (replying to questions when being hot seated) and as narrators (being a guide). Teacher in role is a way to verbalise the thinking and feeling that lie inside all narrative and non-fiction writing. This has implications for the teaching of writing, and thus the raising of standards in schools. The evidence from the end of the fieldwork suggests that when teachers work as Teacher in role their interactions with the pupils are verbal models of the cognitive and affective thought processes that generate the ideas that are at the heart of successful writing. Teacher in role is part of the gradual expansion of the conventions that make up whole class Drama teaching. By the end of the classroom-based action research, there is evidence that Hot seating, Mantle of the expert and Thought tracking are an increasing part of teachers’ work in Drama. This perceptible change is found in the teachers’ combinations of Drama conventions (Table 4). The two most frequently used pairs of Drama activities (Table 4.1) are: Acting Out and Freeze and Acting out and Build an environment. As a combination, Acting Out and Freeze is in two fifths of all Drama work, which is nearly 9% more than Acting out and Build an environment. Teacher in role appears in three out of the succeeding six combinations. When it is put together with Hot seating, Mantle of the expert and Thought tracking, Teacher in role is now found in over 15% of whole class Drama teaching. Table 4.2, which details the combinations of three Drama strategies, shows the 40
  41. 41. start of a change. Freeze framing is in all four of the combinations that score above 10% with Teacher in role in three of the same combinations and Hot seating in two. Acting out does not appear in these combinations. This adds weight to the view that the teaching sequences in whole class Drama teaching now use a greater variety of activities than at the start of the project. In particular, Teacher in role is combined with opportunities for pupils to engage with their learning as questioners and respondents (Hot seating) and experts (Mantle of the expert) whose points of view as thinkers are valued as well as respected (Thought tracking). The emphasis on Drama as making through activities like Acting out and Role play starts to be challenged by Drama conventions that allow for the internal elaboration of ideas and conscious reflection. Table 4.3 shows that a combination of Acting out, Freeze, Movement and Teacher in role is found in a fifth of whole class Drama. The blend of physical movement, stillness and making is still prominent, therefore, in whole class Drama teaching. But the presence of Teacher in role and Conscience Alley in tandem with Acting Out is a further indication of a movement in how teachers work in the classroom. With over 10% of Drama teaching now bringing together making, elaboration and reflection there is more support for the view that its overall shape is changing. The role of pupil thinking is coming more to the forefront of whole class Drama teaching. The idea that teachers may be attaching significance to connections between whole class Drama and thinking is both denied and confirmed by the initial focus of the research schools’ projects. Almost two thirds of the research schools’ projects begin by focussing on writing (Table 1). Appendix 6.5 reveals that over 97% of the teachers think Drama is either central or important to the development of Listening and Speaking (En1) and Writing (En3). The same items for Reading (En2) give 53.3%, which indicates that teachers make much less of a connection between reading and Drama than 41
  42. 42. they do between speaking and listening and writing. When this finding is taken further it shows that over four-fifths of the teachers think Drama is central to the development of Listening and Speaking, whilst the same reply for Reading is 15.6% and 37.7% for Writing. Thus the data implies that Drama is not considered to be significant for the development of reading by over 85% of the teachers in the survey. For them, Drama is more closely associated with the English listening and speaking programmes of study. It can be argued that this denies a connection between En1, Drama and thinking. For example there is only one reference to problem-solving as a “key skill” [DfEE 1999: 8]. The “Group discussion and interaction” for Key Stage 2 has in its “purposes” investigating, editing, sorting; planning, predicting, exploring; explaining, reporting and evaluating. They all seem to be present in Drama conventions like Teacher in role and Conscience Alley. There is firmer evidence for the view that teachers are making a connection between whole class Drama and the development of thinking. It comes from data collected for questions that cover teachers’ ideas about the purposes of Drama. Appendices 6.10 to 6.13 show consistently high scores for “Creative and thinking skills.” This may be caused partly by teachers knowing that the project’s title of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ carries with it notions of creativity, learning and thinking. All three are terms found in the title and publicity. If allowance is made for this, then the data suggest that teachers may value Drama because it promotes a cluster of verbal, thinking and collaborative skills. In the following diagram the Entry Questionnaire returns have ‘Creative and thinking skills’ as over 15% more than the following two purposes, ‘Enhance learning in other subjects’ and ‘Communication and expressive skills.’ With ‘Working co-operatively’ less than 3% behind them it implies that - at the start of ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ - teachers see Drama in terms of a 42
  43. 43. network that brings together imagination, meaning-making and collaborative cross- curricula thinking. Entry Questionnaire – %age Exit Questionnaire – Leading %age Leading Five Purposes of Five Purposes of Drama Drama Creative and thinking skills 76.3 Communication and 67.2 expressive skills Enhance learning in other 60.5 Creative and thinking skills 63.6 subjects Communication and 60.5 Allow pupils to contribute 45.6 expressive skills positively and co-operatively Working co-operatively 57.9 Enhance learning in other 42.0 subjects Enjoyment 52.6 Enjoyment 36.3 Confidence building 47.4 Non-academic route to 36.3 learning Although number of the items change in the Exit Questionnaire, there is still sound evidence to suggest that by the end of the fieldwork teachers see Drama’s purposes to be concerned most strongly with the development of thinking, expression and ways of working together purposefully across the curriculum. This finding can be explored in three ways. The single purpose of Drama chosen by most teachers in the Entry and Exit Questionnaires is ‘Creative and thinking skills’ (Appendices 6.13 and 6.14). In both questionnaires it scores substantially more than the second choices, ‘Enhance learning in other subjects’ and ‘Non-academic route to learning’, by 8.6% and over 16.0% respectively. Allowing for the presence of learning and creativity in the project’s title, and the possible distortion this causes, it is more evidence that Drama is valued because of a capacity to stimulate and develop children’s intellectual capabilities. And that this role is a cross curricula one. A second way to explore the findings is to refer to the purposes which either score lowly (less than 5.0%) or not at all in the choice of the most important 43
  44. 44. purpose of Drama. The diagram below shows the items common to both the Entry and Exit Questionnaires. Entry Exit Develop Drama skills 4.3 2.1 Create social inclusion 2.1 0.0 Confidence building 2.1 4.2 Enhance class as a community 0.0 0.0 Motivation to attend school 0.0 0.0 Develop Drama knowledge 0.0 0.0 (‘Enhance risk taking’ becomes ‘Allow pupils to experience safe risk-taking’ in the Exit Questionnaire: the two scores are 0.0 and 2.1 respectively) Intrinsic drama skills and knowledge become considerably less important than Drama’s cross curricula potential. For teachers, the role of drama is not necessarily associated with P.H. S. E or inclusion but with its potential to enrich the curriculum. There is a difference here between teachers and pupils, with pupils making clear (pages 31 - 33) how Drama benefits all who take part. There is also a difference between the findings here about inclusion and confidence and the views earlier in the evaluation, which show that 70.8% of teachers think that Drama has a place in Citizenship. A third way to investigate the extent teachers believe Drama is important for the development of thinking is to look for combinations within the teachers’ choices of the five purposes of Drama. Table 5.1 shows that an eighth of the respondents have a grouping of four purposes: Develop creative thinking skills Enhance learning in other subjects Enjoyment Non academic route to learning. 44
  45. 45. Just over 10% of respondents have the following two groupings of four purposes: Develop communication and expressive skills Develop creative thinking skills Enjoyment Non academic route to learning and: Allow pupils to contribute positively and co-operatively Develop communication and expressive skills Develop creative thinking skills Non academic route to learning These three groupings are a cluster of thinking, communication and expressive skills dominate teachers’ views of the principal purposes for Drama. Two items, ‘Develop creative thinking skills’ and ‘Develop communication and expressive skills’ appear in three quarters of the groupings of three purposes of Drama (Table 5.3). The quantitative data indicates that, for teachers, a combination of creative thinking, communication and expressive skills are now the most important purposes of Drama. How far teachers believe Drama is associated with thinking is clarified further in Appendices 6.14 and 6.15. These rank the teachers’ choices of the most important engagements in a Drama activity. Appendix 6.14 shows the five choices of engagements. The first five in rank order bring together purposeful thinking, forming their own questions and generating ideas. The presence of these as a cluster, together with the choice of purposeful thinking as the most important engagement, is an example of the extent teachers value Drama because of its potential to help children become thinkers. Purposeful thinking is the highest scoring individual engagement (Appendix 6.15); it is chosen by nearly a quarter of the respondents, with empathy as the second choice and scoring 19.5%, or nearly a fifth. These two engagements score nearly half as 45
  46. 46. much again as the next grouping of engagements. Collaboration, forming their own questions and generating ideas are chosen by only just over a tenth of the respondents. Three school based projects illustrate the impact of whole class Drama on learning and creative outcomes. They are another perspective on the quantitative findings about teachers’ ideas about the connections between whole class Drama and thinking. The projects show teachers making relationships between the development of thinking, expression and ways of collaborative working. There is extended use of whole class Drama as a cross curricula means to stimulate and develop children’s intellectual capabilities. Pupils participate in teaching and learning that fosters purposeful thinking, empathy, collaboration and the generation and formation of ideas. At the same time, the projects are evidence of how differently three teachers work with the idea of purposeful thinking in whole class Drama. Each is distinctive: one shows how mathematical thinking within Drama benefit each other; a second looks at speculation and hypotheses making in a Reception class and a third generates affective response to non fiction. All three are matched against the QCA Creativity Criteria (see Tables 6, 7 and 8) to show that ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ meets these criteria as stipulated in the Bid Specification and the ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ Success Criteria (Appendix 2). The projects also demonstrate the significance of a developed, imagined context for whole class Drama. In each project the sense of setting is integral to the Drama: place is realised as part of the thinking, expression and working together that propel the whole class activities. To adapt Heathcote’s terms, [1980] the foreground of the intellectual and emotional engagement that is the whole class Drama has a realised sense of life background without which pupil engagement fails. 46
  47. 47. The first project is Planet Perfecton. Mathematical thinking is integral to a whole class Drama which is set on an imagined planet. Table 6 shows pupils and their teacher as they move in role between the five QCA Creativity Criteria. Episodes 1 and 2 encourage pupils to continually refocus and refine their ideas before the mathematical thinking introduces a detailed discussion of the planet’s ecology. The four episodes show that, in this project, the Creativity Criteria are not a sequence or hierarchy. The process of creativity is a flux: in role work sees children continuously revise their ideas as they share and recognise different opinions in structured, collaborative group work. The pupils’ thinking collects and questions ideas. They gather and marshal thoughts to connect what is emerging with what is known. The internal sorting and manipulation is an example of purposeful thinking in which pupils search for explanations, reasons and justifications as opposed to a single answer. It is thinking that helps them begin to gain access to the underlying principles of their arguments. In a second sequence of lessons from Planet Perfecton (Table 6, Lesson 2) mathematical thinking enables children to visualise one of the planet’s creatures. After seeing some footprints, “taking photos, swabs and samples in role” and feeding back to the class – all done in role – the children receive information in the form of a ratio. This gives them a way to assess the animal’s height. Staying in role, they return to measure the footprints and then report back with their calculations. Once the measuring is done, an out of role discussion leads into an extended sequence of language-based movement. This creates a whole class sculpture of the wounded animal. The teacher comments how repetition of: “weak, weak, weak acted as a pulse…. cold sounded like chattering teeth…anxious was a shusshing sound like blood pumping and … agony formed a moan.” 47
  48. 48. In her diary the teacher records how one pupil comments, “This is amazing. It’s like we’re inside its mind.” In Heathcote’s terms [1980], mathematical thinking provides background that enables the foreground of the planet to be sharpened in the children’s imagination. Ratio, calculation and measurement are necessary to the children’s envisioning of Perfecton. Numerical thinking intertwines with the verbal and physical to create a context in which thought and feeling are equal. The substance of the planet, and thus the children’s engagement, comes from all areas of human thinking and not solely the verbal. Planet Perfecton illustrates the potential of whole class Drama to produce creative outcomes through cognitive and affective learning which merges verbal with numerical thinking. In this example, purposeful thinking includes measurement, calculation, movement and the emotive response to and use of language. A realisation of the animal’s shape and size is how the children come to share the wounded animal’s perspective (“It’s like we’re inside its mind”). As the narrative continues, the children’s thinking addresses successive problems through a mixture of the physical and mental. They collaborate in different ways of thinking to generate ideas and feelings, including a sense of implications. The continuous re-shaping of their ideas and feelings develops the children as thinkers. They communicate in as well as out of role, expressing themselves across a spectrum of different medium in a way that allows extensive collaborative working. In Planet Perfecton, whole class Drama makes a narrative in which mathematical thinking is inseparable from the explanation, justification and prediction that underpin the work. It depends on a collaborative approach to learning. At one point in her diary the teacher writes: “…the class are, although well-behaved and essentially polite, very poor at listening to others. They all want to be heard (or most of them anyway).” 48
  49. 49. The issue of listening helps her decide to have labelled pebbles in jars, with each group having one jar. Whoever’s pebble is drawn leads the current “working party.” As well as making the pupils aware of “the convention of addressing the chair and canvassing opinion” which they need for the forthcoming School’s Council, the pebbles also give the children different status roles in the missions. They have to lead and be led. The teacher records: “’But we have no voice now.’ [When their leader was out of the room. There was a palpable sense of frustration at this but not a negative feeling, more one of (the) value of their leader when he/she returned.]” On a further occasion she notes: “Shall I speak for you?” - on spotting that group had lost their leader on a “mission” – another meeting leader sought the group’s opinions and was in a position to feed back.” The pebbles give pupils ways of working collaboratively in which they have to take on roles of different status. The roles see the pupils coming to understand deeper responsibilities of leadership (“another meeting leader sought the group’s opinions and was in a position to feed back”) as well as the effects of being led (“(“(the) value of their leader when he/she returned.]”). Whole class Drama allows children to identify, articulate and assess the implications as well as consequences of successful collaboration. Purposeful thinking includes children learning about how they learn collaboratively, which is an important but often unrecognised contribution to their knowledge of themselves as learners. A consultant writes in her journal about the impact on the teacher of action research in whole class Drama. The consultant describes what happens to the teacher’s thinking when she combines Maths and Drama: “Whereas the teacher had set out to explore how Maths and Drama could be brought together through the use of a problem-solving pedagogy, she found herself working 49
  50. 50. across the curriculum and valuing the potency of this cross curricula approach. Drama was serving as a link between literacy and numeracy, enriching both areas, and developing children’s thinking, social and communication skills.” The teacher allows learning to lead the action research. The original plan is to connect Maths and Drama through “a problem-solving pedagogy.” It initiates cross curricula work which blends literacy and numeracy in a way that deepens the children’s learning (“enriching both areas”). At the same time it extends children’s capacity as thinkers and increases their “social and communication skills.” The teacher’s view of Drama and Maths change as her action research continues (“she found herself working across the curriculum and valuing the potency of this cross curricula approach”). She begins to transform her ideas about subject boundaries as she works with Drama on action research that brings together two subjects, Drama and Maths, which are not often connected. It is an instance of how ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ research teachers work in an almost subconscious way with the QCA Creativity criteria. In this example, a teacher questions and explores (“found herself working across the curriculum”), makes connections and sees relationships (“explore how Maths and Drama could be brought together through the use of a problem-solving pedagogy”). The research seminars encourage critical reflection that challenge as well as extend their ideas about the curriculum. The action research undertaken for ‘Drama for Learning and Creativity’ is a scaffold for the teacher. It helps her to think how the combination of Drama with subjects like Mathematics takes much further her own interpretations of creativity. Owl Babies is a literacy-centred project in a Reception class. The shared reading of the book up to the point where Mummy Owl disappears is the start of their whole class Drama activities. Through the Drama, the pupils 50
  51. 51. build an internalised alternative text as a basis for writing in role. The Drama centres on speculative thinking: the children predict what might happen by looking back at what has happened. In talk groups their speculations and hypotheses are a framework for discussions about their own and others’ readings of Owl Babies. The teacher writes about another concern. She comments how she is not convinced that the class: “…had developed their speaking and listening skills to the extent where they could build on each others’ ideas creatively.” As with Planet Perfecton, collaboration is important. In this project collaboration is thought to be part of the children’s thinking and listening development, with the inter-change of imaginative ideas (“build on each others’ ideas creatively”) seen as essential for their progress as writers. Table 7 is the sequence for the Owl Babies work. In the Drama the focus is speculation about the fate of Mummy Owl. The pupils’ thinking is supported by extended work on the setting. There is whole class movement and stillness to establish an imagined place in which children can locate the characters with precision. Verbal language and movement combine to create a mental space for their hypotheses about what might be happening to Mummy Owl. At the start of Lessons One and Two the children freeze to “form the shape of a tree with one point of contact with the nearest person.” Next, the children hot seat the teachers, who are in role as the three baby owls Sarah, Percy and Bill. Physical whole class Drama creates a setting; Hot seating places them in role within the setting. The foreground of the search for Mummy Owl works with a background that the children experience and realise imaginatively through movement. The questioning, challenging and exploring of ideas about Mummy Owl keeps the book open and starts the pupils’ hypotheses making. Their talk groups then “gave more children a chance to give an opinion and to build on 51
  52. 52. each others’ thoughts.” The inter-change of ideas is how they test their hypotheses. This leads into: “… electing a group to walk through the wood. This will give the children the idea of the setting when it comes to searching the wood.” The children carry the setting in their minds as they take part in a Decision alley (an “Opinion Wood,” see Table 7 Lesson 2). In role they voice their hypotheses and listen to those of others. As trees, the children are “whispering what might have happened to Mummy Owl”; as police officers they are “listening to their ideas.” The Decision alley makes the children bring their hypotheses about Mummy Owl to a point. The teacher records how: “…by the time the children came to draw the wood they had been in it, saw it, described it and heard other children’s descriptions of it.” Later, when the children draw the wood, the teacher writes: “…the images are powerful and striking in that unusually for this age group they do not contain characters in the setting. T’s picture almost exactly matches ‘The tall trees were scary. They were like spiky monsters.’ The forest is alive for T. The purposeful thinking creates a foreground and background that enable him to visualise the setting verbally and in drawing. The forest is where, in role, he tests his hypotheses about what happens to Mummy Owl. Afterwards, out of role, collective talk encourages him to speculate in a reasoned way. He builds and shares possible alternatives that come out of what he knows, thinks he knows and would like to know about Mummy Owl. The speculative thinking that encourages his hypotheses testing and revision draws him further into the book world, where he pursues his ideas through movement, stillness, and being in role. When he writes and draws he is inside the forest and inside one of the baby owls. 52
  53. 53. In Lessons One and Two, the pupils’ collaborative talk is part of a transition from Drama to scribed writing. In the first lesson the pupils discuss what the baby owls would say to each other, make still pictures of them and then write speech bubbles of what they think Sarah, Percy and Bill say. The teacher records the impact on the children’s language of this prolonged work on the setting. They begin to show an understanding of how to express reasons: Pupil A “Bill’s important because he’s the baby and babies need looking after.” Pupil B “Sarah is important because she did the looking after, she’s the oldest next to Mum and was the biggest.” The speculations that pupils try out, elaborate and refine are formed gradually into hypotheses about Mummy Owl. Pupil A connects reasons; “because he’s the baby” and “babies need looking after”express cause and effect that bring together knowledge of the book with her/his knowledge of the world. Pupil B does the same but also elaborates their reasons. The first reason (“because she did the looking after”) connects with the second (“she’s the oldest next to Mum and was the biggest”). There is a chain of reasoning as the first and second reasons leads to the third (“and was the biggest”). The first reasons is supported by a second and then joined to the third (“was the biggest”) by a conjunction - “and”- that suggests that they have equality for the pupil. The making and testing of hypotheses enable Reception class pupils to produce language which contain purposeful thinking that shows an understanding of cause and effect and how to build up a chain of equal reasons. The writing the pupils produce leads this teacher to include the following from one pupil in her log: 53
  54. 54. “’IWonMIMUMNoM IWonMuM Rire. Ples’ He read it back in role as ‘I want my mum. I want my mum. Really. Please. This is the first piece of writing that he had done independently, both in the thinking and the writing. He was very keen to say what he thought and it was the first time that I have observed him settle on task at the same time as the other children.” The ‘Owl Babies’ classroom-based research indicates the potential for writing of whole class Drama. T’s exposure to Drama, which requires him to be in role in a setting he visualises, engages him intellectually and emotionally in the lives of the baby owls. In his imagination he carries a character within a place. When he writes he moves beyond making marks on the page to become a meaning maker who draws on the setting he sees and his feelings for the baby owls, verbally and in writing. The whole class Drama pushes forward this child’s intellectual capabilities through participation in purposeful thinking. His reasoned speculations embrace empathy, collaboration and the formation and generation of ideas. When he writes, T is a writer who thinks and feels as he experiences the need to communicate meaning. Table 8 and Appendix 7 are from a cross-curricula project called Rainforest. It integrates Geography with Drama and is an instance of how purposeful thinking generates an affective response to non-fiction. An introductory video leads into whole class Drama where the teachers create a setting. They take the children “on an expedition (through) the rainforest” in which they “explore and feedback on sights and smells etc.” Like Planet Perfecton and Owl Babies, a visualised, imaginary setting becomes more than a background for the Drama. There is a joining of the intellectual and emotional through a closely observed environment. The children have a reason to research information about rainforests: 54

×