Identifying and Building Drama Pedagogical Practices in Singapore

Project Number
OER 22/09 PEW

Project Duration
May 2010 - February 2012

Status
Completed

Abstract
The Singapore Government's commitment to provide students with a broad-based and holistic education that promotes inquiry-based and experiential learning, as indicated by the C2015 and PERI reports, has resulted in a rising interest in drama education. Drama is taught at 'O' (8 schools) and 'A' (4 JCs) Level by a few drama specialists but much of the drama taught in Singapore is supplied by outside providers (usually by artists with little pedagogical knowledge) for CCAs. However in recent months the Visual and Performing Arts Group has received an exponential number of requests from principals and teachers for curriculum assistance and professional development to build a drama skills base that will assist them to apply drama as a vehicle for learning in a range of other subject areas. We have noticed that although many teachers and schools wish to work with drama, there is a widespread lack of understanding and knowledge of drama content and form, as well as skills and experience in drama pedagogies. Research into the power of drama for a range of learning contexts - oracy and literacies, soft skills, cross and inter cultural learning, intra and inter personal skills, team work and collaboration, to name a few - has resulted in myths of drama as a panacea. Consequently, this has lead to misunderstandings and confusion by some schools and teachers who have approached us seeking to weave drama in a wide range of ways as a magic potion rather than use it effectively by focusing on clear and specific educational goals or aims. In seeking to examine the pedagogical content knowledge and skills, the future needs and requirements for the effective use of drama pedagogies we propose to carry out this project in two ways. Firstly, we intend to conduct a nationwide survey to identify the state of play of drama education and to characterise the applications and trends of drama pedagogies in Singapore schools. From this we intend to build a base-line database that will assist us in gaining a picture of the professional development needs of Singapore teachers using/seeking to use drama in their schools. Secondly, we aim to track and mentor a group of teachers who will have just undergone two in-service drama pedagogy courses we are conducting for the MOE and TLLM Ignite teachers in order to assess the learning outcomes of the participating teachers. TE21 reminds us of the need to infuse our courses with reality and context. We therefore seek to gain a clearer picture of the professional development outcomes of the teachers by tracking and mentoring the group's application of drama in their own classroom contexts. Through observations, mentoring, and interviews we aim to gain a better understanding of these teachers' perspectives and their needs for the effective application of drama pedagogy strategies. In turn, stemming from our findings from these two research foci, we intend to refine, build and extend out drama pedagogical repertoire at NIE as indicated in NIE's TE21 report (p.76-79).

Research Themes
Music & Arts

Funding Source
NIE

Related Links
ReEd Vol 13: Drama in the Classroom

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