Resources for Theatre in Education

Teaching, Theory and Studies

The following is a ongoing list of resources we find useful as educators ranging from articles to textbooks and beyond.  Where possible, we have included a few sentences in review.  Titles in gray are items we have not read yet but believe they may be useful resources as we continue to develop this important pedagogy for teachers in ece.

On-Stage: Theatre Games and Activities for Kids.
Bany-Winters, Lisa. Chicago Review Press. 1997.
For grades 1-6.
This book has a clear, concise, easy-to-read design that offers teachers the chance to flip to a pageâ and go for it.  SerahRose worked with Ms. Bany-Winters while living in Chicago.  Her education style is truthfully displayed on the page.

Symbolic Play: The development of social understanding. Bretherton, Inge. Academic Press.  1984.

The Dramatic Difference: Drama in the Preschool and Kindergarten Classroom.
Brown, Victoria and Sarah Pleydell. Heineman Drama. 1999.
For ages 3-6.
The Dramatic Difference approaches theatre as an informal process for emotional exploration. The focus is planned and unplanned participatory story-telling. And, although well-written and researched, is not designed for typical early childhood educators because it is designed for those who are already extremely comfortable with the use of theatre arts and improvisation.

Opening the World of Literature to Children through Interactive Drama Experiences. presented at The Association for Childhood Education International Annual Conference. April 12, 1997.
For preschool through second grade.
An introduction to what we now call process-oriented theatre and why it benefits young children. She also appears to include examples from a precursor to Readers Theate.

Take a Bow! Lesson Plans for Preschool Drama.
Czitron, Nina. Smith & Kraus. 2004.
For ages 3-6.
Take a Bow! is a series of 25 stories, broken into sections, proceeded by five very basic dramatic warm-ups. There is very little technique, theory, or tips. Teachers are, presumably, expected to read each story aloud and direct children through acting out the story. Take A Bow! emphasizes the production, following the pre-set conditions of each story, and making people laugh.  This book is readily available as a reference but we recommend against its use as a primary source of information or inspiration.

Why Our Schools Need the Arts. Davis, Jessica Hoffmann. Teachers College Press. 2008.
For all ages.
Davis explores the use of arts in education, why it’s important and where its advocates have come short. Unfortunately, the evidence of ‘why’ seems to be somewhat lacking and she leaves us wondering what exactly we should do, as concerned citizens, to advocate for arts inclusion.

Art as Experience. Dewey, John.  The Berkeley Publishing Company. 1980 [1934].

The Arts and the Creation of the Mind Eisner, Elliot W. Yale University Press. 2002.  SerahRose is currently reading this book (as of January 2011).  It’s slow going; she’ll keep you posted.

theory/theatre: an introduction, second ed. Fortier, Mark. Routledge.  2002.

“Drama: A Rehearsal for Life!” Curriculum: Art, Music, Movement. Gabriel, Julia. Exchange Press. 2006.
For Preschool
A very brief article introducing the teachers role and quick ways to get started with drama in the classroom.

Drama…as a way of knowing Heller, Paul G. The Galef Institute. 1995.

Theatre, Education and the Making of Meanings. Jackson, Anthony. Manchester University Press.  2007.

The Critique of Judgement. Kant, Immanuel, J.C. Meredith (trans), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1952.

Teaching Drama to Young Children. Fox, Mem. Heinemann. 1987.
For ages 3-6.
A good beginning for teachers, Fox uses clearly examples and moves beyond “acting out a story” in to exploring collaborative story-making.  However, we should note that the language used and the displayed understanding of child developmental processes is dated.

Drama Play: Bringing Books to Life through Drama for 4-7 year olds.
Hiatt, Kay. David Fulton Publishers. 2005.

Supporting Drama and Imaginative Play in the Early Years.
Hendy, Lesley & Lucy Toon. Open University Press. 2001.

Theatre, Education and the Making of Meanings Jackson, Anthony. Manchester University Press. 2007.

Creative Arts for Young Children Johnson, Jennifer. Thomson Delmar Learning. 2006.

“Helping Teachers Become Comfortable With Creative Dramatics” Curriculum: Art, Music, Movement. Leithold, Naomi. Exchange Press.  2006.
Interesting points and ideas for unsure teachers including some brief beginning steps.  Very useful and a super quick read.

Creative Drama in the Classroom and Beyond.
McCaslin, Nellie. Pearson Education, Inc. 2006.
For grade 1 through adults.
This is primarily a text book, set up to be of interest to a student or used as a reference book. The topics covered are very broad. This book is for older children but may be useful as a reference for adaptable activities and stories.

Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts. McCarthy, Kevin F., Elizabeth H. Ondaatje, Laura Zakaras, Arthur Brooks.  Commissioned by The Wallace Foundation.
For all ages.
An exemplary look at the studies and research about arts inclusion and the benefits in education.  They have broken the points into Intrinsic Benefits and Instrumental Benefits. This is a must-read for all arts educators and administrators.

Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood. Piaget, J.  New York: Norton Library.  1962

Pragmatic Aesthetics: Living Beauty, Rethinking Art, 2nd Edition, Langham, MD: Rowmand & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002.

Children’s Voices Through Dramatic Play. Sierra, Zayda. Presented at the Annual Qaulitative Analysis Conference.  August 8, 1997.
For ages 8 – adolescent.
Documenting a program with a group of Columbian children.

Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook.
Spolin, Viola. Northwestern University Press. 1986.
For ages five and over.
Written by one of the great theatrical artists of our time, this book can certainly be used as a reference for activity ideas and curriculum creation for extended drama classes. However, the intended audience is primarily educators with prior theatrical experience.

ArtWorks: Definition, Meaning, Value. Stecker, Robert.  University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.

Drama and Traditional Story for the Early Years Toye, Nigel and Francis Prendiville. RoutledgeFalmer. 2000.

Hooked on Drama: The Theory and Practice of Drama in Early Childhood Warren, Kathleen. Macuarie University Institute of Early Childhood. 1992.

“Drama in Education: from Theory to ‘Study Cases'” Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol X, Issue 2. Urian, Dan.  Harwood Academic Publishers.  2000.
Academic Professionals for all ages
An interesting albeit confusing short read.  I can’t give full review until I’ve read it ten more times because it seems to be written for a group of people who have some inside information I have yet to discover.

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