Investigating drama as a teaching and learning pedagogy

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Ratchford, Sally
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Applied Practice
Unitec Institute of Technology
Mane, Jo
Reinders, Hayo
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
primary students
primary education
drama in education
student engagement
Ratchford, S. (2019). Investigating drama as a teaching and learning pedagogy. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Practice). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: 1. What are student experiences of drama in their learning? 2. What are teacher perceptions of how drama can be used in teaching? 3. How can dramatic approaches be used in my teaching to improve learning? 4. In what ways can my school enhance learning using dramatic approaches? ABSTRACT: Mā te whiritahi, ka whakatutuki ai ngā pūmanawa ā tāngata Together weaving the realisation of potential (Māori Proverb) This study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of drama as a teaching tool in a primary school environment. The curriculum areas involved in the study were mathematics (measurement) and Ecology of Learning (teaching students about the stages or levels of particular competencies including collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, citizenship, and character). A review is made of previous studies looking at the history of drama in education, the impact of drama on learning particular curriculum areas, and the theories of learning that support the inclusion of drama as a teaching tool. The findings of the study support the use of drama in some elements of education. Interruptions to the program may have contributed to the assessed outcomes of the mathematical elements of the program, however interruptions are an accepted part of a teaching program and as such a program’s robustness in the face of interruptions has to be taken into consideration when considering its effectiveness. The outcomes of the Ecology of Learning section of the study showed higher levels of engagement and the perception of a greater depth of understanding of the material presented. Students were also able to successfully evaluate and apply information gained from their own exploration and presentation to those of other groups. This suggests that while drama does not provide an effective tool across all areas of the curriculum (such as when set formulae need to be remembered), it does offer solutions for subjects where information needs to be considered from different angles and points of view.
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