Drama 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.