Helpful articles and insight into our agency.

What I Learned From Six Year Olds & A Rainforest

The 1998 primary arts publication I worked on, which brought together a number of cross-curricular arts project for primary schools, is pictured on the right. As the resource was commissioned by five arts education associations, it was my role as chair of the joint committee to oversee the collection of exemplars of arts projects in dance, drama, media, music and the visual arts which showed how they might help teachers assess different aspects of their literacy programmes. In my preface to the book I described a term-long (12 week) drama and literacy project, which I ran for two hours a week with twenty-five Year One …

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The Arts Are Basic

What do you think is meant by ‘doing the basics’?   A debate rages around what constitutes essential knowledge and skills at every level of schooling – from early years to higher education. I want to propose that the arts sector has the ability to shift the debate by showing how there is no knowledge, skill or process more fundamentally basic to teaching & learning than the elements that form the performing and visual arts. They are the building blocks of making meaning: they transform ‘sensory input’ into language through gestures & movement, visuals, sounds and texts to express our experiences, feelings, values and beliefs.  …

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School campus

Creative Use Of Technology

The size of data, the ‘knowledge economy’ and just about anything we can imagine in a Web 2.0 age feels overwhelming. This is why it’s useful to view case studies of what others are doing in applying technologies creatively, to see what is possible and how you stand it relation to the fast evolving scene. I recommend reading the case studies in Drama Education with Digital Technology (2009) . They are quite inspirational and, as Julie Dunn and John O’Toole explain in their chapter on using ‘process drama’ in the classroom, viewing the relationship between ‘the actual, the dramatic and the virtual’ does not mean cutting out the liveliness …

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FLS capabilities images - the mind

Thinking Taxonomies

I want to consider what it means to do ‘high-order thinking’ in arts education. The terms ‘high’ and ‘low order’ is commonly associated with Bloom’s Taxonomy, the basis of many marking keys for courses and exams in primary, secondary and tertiary education since the 1950s. In the past, I believe that its hierarchy of six levels exposes how ‘a little knowledge’ can be a ‘dangerous thing’ since I’m pretty sure that  Bloom and his associates had no intention of putting forward the model as I’ve often seen it used as ‘the six easy steps to getting the right answer’. The Solo Model In more recent …

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Connecting Thinking & Doing

I find the categorisation of people into ‘thinkers’ and ‘doers’ rubbish: depending on the context, you can be damned or praised for being either. More significantly, the separation diverts us from dealing with a more important question of how thoughts and actions are inevitably, even if inexplicably, related. According to cognitive linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Philosophy in the Flesh, to live as a human being is to live as an ’embodied mind’. Given that the subtitle of their book is The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought, they vociferously argue that … there is no Cartesian dualistic person, with a mind separate from and …

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Teaching Vocabulary

There would be little disagreement on the importance of drama and literacy, including broadening and deepening the vocabulary of young people. In the preface to Teaching effective vocabulary , the 2008 Chief Adviser on School Standards in the UK, Sue Hackman, compares having a good vocabulary to ‘an artist’s palette of colours’. Vocabulary is more than a list of words, and although the size of one’s vocabulary matters, it’s knowing how to use it which matters most. The best comparison is to an artist’s palette of colours which can be mixed and applied to create powerful effects. Why then isn’t drama the centre of literacy programs in our …

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All That A School Story Can Be!

School Story Experience is an educational service for school leaders and their school communities. This article highlights how, at its core, it helps manage the complexities of communicating a schools’ vision and mission through 21st-century digital communication strategies and tools. Most importantly, it sets out how we view the service as a pedagogy-based one, rather than marketing or public relations. Ironically, though, the approach shows that the best advertising for any school are the affirmations which it receives from its own students, staff and parents.

2018 Reflections On Learning About Parliament

In 2018, I had the privilege of interviewing three teachers about their work with Year 2 students. They reflected on how early it’s possible for children to view themselves as active citizens in Australian democracy, built on the belief that their voices have power and agency. The discussion began with Mary Boutros pointing out the commonality between how parents and teachers deal with a child’s developmental milestones.