To Whom it May Concern,
Throughout Terms 1 and 2 this year we were asked to work alongside Maria Simpson (from Bilby Productions) in Stage Three learning spaces. The purpose of this collaboration was to explore possibilities for deepening students' reading comprehension through drama experiences. Prior to Maria's involvement, we were already engaged in leading professional learning in reading comprehension for classroom teachers, so this opportunity was intended to see how drama could further support student learning.
During the trial of working collaboratively with Maria a number of benefits were identified that supported students' deepening their reading comprehension. Firstly it was a wonderful opportunity for the classroom teachers to have various drama techniques modelled to them in their own classroom context, embedded within their current literacy program. Over time the teachers then engaged more in a team teaching role with Maria and were able to transfer these strategies to other curriculum areas. Maria was always willing to provide time to meet with teachers in order to up-skill and debrief with them as well as involving them in the planning of future sessions. The model was most successful when teachers and Maria worked collaboratively together, exploring how drama techniques could help students apply the comprehension strategies that children need to learn.
Maria was always flexible and would adapt to student and teacher needs in order to achieve the best learning outcomes for all involved. For example, during this trial it became clear that in our context a 5 -10 week program per class group was the ideal duration. In this time teachers were able to gradually take on more of the ownership of the drama teaching, so that by the end of the program teachers were able to continue the drama focus independently. The most exciting part of this partnership was the response from students. The high level of engagement and motivation displayed by the students was beyond expectations. Students who
traditionally did not appear to have a deep understanding of texts, were able to demonstrate significant levels of insight into the deeper meanings of text through drama. Their ability to express their understandings in this form highlighted for teachers the need to incorporate creative opportunities in order to enable improved learning outcomes for all students.