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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Activating Student Engagement Through Drama-Based Instruction

  • Author(s): Cawthon, Stephanie W;
  • Dawson, Katie;
  • Ihorn, Shasta
  • et al.

Drama for Schools (DFS) is an arts integration professional development program that trains teachers to use drama-based instruction techniques. The DFS strategies aim to connect student learning to their lived experiences in a manner consistent with authentic instruction principles. The focus of this mixed-methods study was on the relationship between increase in authentic instruction, level of student engagement, and articulation by teachers regarding the participation of their middle school students in classroom activities. Pre-post measures indicate that student engagement increased as a result of drama-based instruction strategies. These lesson plan measures also demonstrated how teachers changed their articulation of student engagement. Discussion focuses on how the relationship between the DFS program structure, participants’ pedagogy, and student outcomes fit into, and challenge, the overall critical pedagogical framework of the program.

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