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Drama with a difference: Little Red Riding Hood

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By Julie Smartfreelance education writer

Julie Smart shows how an infant school in Walsall used drama to raise standards in literacy

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Using innovative dramatic techniques, teachers have sparked a fresh enthusiasm for learning in children and adults at Blue Coat CE Infant School in Walsall, helping them to achieve better results. Working with the Play House theatre-in-education company, they have been using drama to explore stories.

‘Our key focus in school is to improve writing’, explains literacy coordinator Jon Rawson, ‘and we wanted to see if introducing drama linked to a story would help children with their literacy skills.’

Blue Coat Infants is part of Walsall Action Research Network (WARN), a group of nine schools that are running action research projects to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Teachers use Anderson’s Taxonomy, a way of classifying skills, to plan lessons. ‘We thought that drama offered the potential for higher order questioning and thinking, such as analysing and evaluating, so we approached the theatre’, says Jon. ‘They were keen to work with us and learn about Anderson’s Taxonomy. Gillian Twaite, a teacher and actor, came into school to run the drama workshops, but the planning was all done jointly, so it was a collaborative process.’

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