Trish Wells and Susan Sandretto: A fresh look at literacy learning

Displacement is a global phenomenon, with relevance for all New Zealand classrooms. We explored the question ‘What does it mean to be displaced’ through a process drama featuring in a recently produced research-based professional learning resource locating process drama pedagogy in the literacy programme.

Displacement is a global phenomenon, with relevance for all New Zealand classrooms. We explored the question ‘What does it mean to be displaced’ through a process drama featuring in a recently produced research-based professional learning resource locating process drama pedagogy in the literacy programme. The resource consists of videoed classroom lessons, interviews and supporting written materials. The resource fills a gap in the professional learning landscape identified in New Zealand research that illustrated how teachers need additional support to move beyond traditional understandings of drama as a performance to fully realising the affordances of process drama for literacy learning. This paper presents survey responses from initial teacher education students prior to, and post viewing and engaging with the resource. The findings illustrate their understandings of the affordances of process drama as a powerful pedagogy for inquiry and learning in the literacy programme and underscore future directions for teacher educators.

“We don’t have to tick those boxes anymore […] which means we can be more creative without being as anxious about where children are sitting on the scale.”

Trish Wells has a background in professional theatre where she has worked as an actor and director. She is currently a teacher educator at the University of Otago. Her research interests include drama in education, an applied theatre approach to pedagogy, and locating drama in the literacy programme. She is particularly interested in the power and depth of learning that occurs when drama is the vehicle used to hook children in to learning and keep them engaged.

Susan Sandretto began work at the University of Otago as a research assistant and then completed her doctorate on teacher education and social justice. Her research interest in critical literacy and critical multiliteracies grew out of a social justice focus, and has now extended to the use of process drama as a pedagogy for the literacy programme. She has been a teacher educator since 2004.

Laura Dean (Associate Director)
Laura is a keen advocate for the Arts in Education. A graduate of the Comparative and International Education MA program at Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA, USA), Laura’s research interests revolve around how Arts subjects, and Theatre in particular, can play a crucial role to the development of a student’s social and emotional well-being, whilst bolstering their academic attainment. Having lived in numerous places around the world, and worked to support international students in a university setting, Laura is interested in supporting global Education policy. With an avid interest in Theatre & Performance, she is delighted to be bringing her two passions together to lead on Dialogue’s Community Performance for Education work.