School Drama Classic is a co-mentoring teacher professional learning programme developed through a partnership between Sydney Theatre Company and the University of Sydney’s School of Education and Social Work. Developed in 2009, this teacher professional learning programme aims to enable primary teachers to develop the expertise and confidence to use drama-rich pedagogy with quality children’s literature to enhance learners’ English and literacy skills. By 2021 it had reached more than 35,000 teachers and students across Australia and more recently in New Zealand. While a growing body of research has explored aspects of the School Drama programme, relatively little focus had centred on student outcomes. This article focuses on one of my doctoral research case studies (Saunders, 2019), a Year 5 class at Gungahlin Public School (pseudonym), a co-educational public school in Sydney’s inner west. A range of data collection methods was employed within this qualitative study, including teacher interview (before, during and after the intervention), student focus groups (during and after the intervention), benchmarking of student literacy (before and after the intervention) and a pre- and post-programme survey for students. Richardson’s (1997) concept of crystallisation was used to analyse the data. The findings suggested positive shifts in student English and literacy outcomes in the selected focus area (inferential comprehension) using drama-rich pedagogy with an episodic pre-text model.
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