Drama for Schools

Drama for Schools logo with DFS letters in circlesDrama for Schools (DFS) is a collaborative professional development program model in drama-based instruction, in association with the Department of Theatre and Dance. Led by a cadre of leaders in their fields, this nationally heralded program:

  • Creates intentional partnerships between the university and interested communities/school districts;
  • Collaborates with K-12 teachers and curriculum specialists interested in exploring the potential of drama-based instruction to increase teacher efficacy and student engagement across the curriculum;
  • Facilitates full day, half day and after-school trainings for teachers, administrators and community members interested in the application of drama-based instructional strategies (role play, improvisation, active learning techniques) across the curriculum;
  • Provides partnering school districts ongoing data on projected outcomes;
  • Shares program outcomes with community stakeholders and at related state and national conferences.

From our hometown of Austin to Texas' Rio Grande Valley to a small village in Alaska, Drama for Schools has partnered with schools and communities across the country for over 15 years.

How Drama for Schools Works:

  • Initial district and/or community needs and assets inventory
  • One to three year commitment agreement
  • Selection of cadre of academic teachers and community partners
  • First year initial training sessions to drama-based instructional strategies
  • Summer Institute for optional graduate-level credit
  • Ongoing support and mentorship by university graduate students and faculty
  • Membership to the Drama-Based Instruction (DBI) Network website
  • Optional second and third year training as co-researchers and peer leaders

Through the DFS training program, teachers learn a range of tools that can be adapted to a variety of content areas and contexts, instead of one strategy for a specific lesson plan. In addition, these techniques support a variety of learning styles that keep students actively engaged in the learning process.

With group trainings and one-on-one mentorship, teachers learn drama-based teaching techniques with the eventual goal of becoming peer mentors to other teachers in their school. Teachers use DFS strategies to help meet both the academic and socio-emotional needs of students. These issues may include violence, racial tension, developing identity and community involvement. This dynamic process demands higher-order thinking skills and increases emotional intelligence. These effects have the potential to carry outside the life of the classroom and into community and social experiences for students.

Meet our staff