Robin Pascoe and Peter Wright: Promises, Promises, Curriculum Promises: Implementing a national drama curriculum in Australia

The metaphor of a leaky boat has an apt poignancy for researchers following the publication of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts (Drama) and its adoption and adaption in Western Australia.

The metaphor of a leaky boat has an apt poignancy for researchers following the publication of the Australian Curriculum: The Arts (Drama) and its adoption and adaption in Western Australia. There are lessons to learn from the long history of drama curriculum development and implementation. There is a necessary alignment of purpose, valuing and practice. Markers of quality implementation include explicit aesthetic and artistic focus; personal, social and cultural identity; agency of both students and teachers; co-construction of learning; enactive, iconic and symbolic meaning; embodied learning; and, learning journeys of engagement, participation, expertise, enjoyment and expertise. This paper explores how these markers of quality are necessary for successfully implementing the promises of the drama curriculum and the dangerous times in doing so. The Burt Bacharach song lyric encourages us to sing: “promises, promises/This is where those promises, promises end” and change happens consistently in all drama classrooms.

Peter Wright is Associate Professor of Arts Education and Research Methods at Murdoch University. He works across the Arts committed to personal, social, cultural inquiry, agency, education, expression, health and wellbeing. Central to his work is socio-aesthetic pedagogy, social justice, and social inclusion mediated in and through the Arts an interest. He is recently published in Arts Education Policy Review and Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education.

Robin Pascoe is Senior Lecturer Arts and Drama Education, Murdoch University. He teaches Drama and the Curriculum, Teaching the Arts (Early Childhood /Primary), Engaging Communities through Drama. Robin’s research interests: arts and drama education, teacher education, curriculum implementation, assessment in drama. Robin is also President of IDEA, International Drama/Theatre and Education Association.

Tegan Arazny (Facilitator & Documenter)
Tegan is a strong advocate for the development of Theatre and the Arts in community settings and has been involved with numerous Applied Theatre programmes throughout her professional training and experience. Tegan graduated with a Master of Arts with Distinction in Applied Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has professional experience in Community Performance that engages young people in contemporary social issues. Tegan has also collaborated and performed with award-winning theatre company PuppetSoup to deliver puppetry workshops and tour their new bilingual show, ‘Arthur the Bear King’, to rural and socially deprived areas of Wales. Tegan is currently working with The Blue Datto Foundation as a Project Coordinator to expand and develop their interactive road safety education program to young people and communities throughout New South Wales, Australia.