There was great celebration around the launch of Dramawise Reimagined during the DQ state conference NEXT. But what can teachers expect from this new book? John and Brad noted that when Dramawise was first published in 1987, drama in schools was so very different from now. Then the aspirations for drama as a school subject were ambitious but untested so Dramawise set out to support the implementation of the subject by providing a body of stable and foundational content for drama – its elements. Consequently the book set them out in a clear pedagogic order where they could be explored and learned through dramatic action. The design of the drama activities also embraced the principles of good drama teaching, scaffolding experience, valuing co-creation and student control of the action and ensuring the aesthetic dimension of learning was privileged.
For its completely rewritten and reborn successor Dramawise Reimagined there are some similar but some different aspirations. Certainly Brad and John hope this new publication consolidates the presence of the broad Dramawise model, now embedded in effective drama teaching practice and the curriculum frameworks of many countries. While they intend for the book to support teachers new to drama, they feel sure it will serve as pertinent points of departure for more confident teachers and students. Once again the play texts and process dramas seek to do what all strong art does – they are both relevant and questioning.
The book also engages two of the major drivers shaping contemporary education. Firstly it asserts a presence for technology in the drama classroom and not just cluttering the classroom with Facebook posts but engaging with technological mind sets which are having a potent and disruptive effect on our art form. Finally we want to acknowledge too that by engaging in this drama framework and program, students will be deeply engaging with the 4Cs – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Espoused as a new core, these dynamics of social interaction which build mature levels of emotional and social intelligence are increasingly being recognised as fundamental to all our futures.
In a real sense being Dramawise is more than simply being wise with drama.