An investigation of writing in a primary class using drama
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To allow me time to arrange publication of my research
The thesis explores issues in the writing development of primary school children where drama was used as a teaching and learning pedagogy. It is based on a case study carried out in 2005-2006 in a Greek primary school Y4 class in Cyprus where the author was teaching and investigates the nature and relationship of the two processes when used together. The project involved twenty drama sessions (over six months), each followed by a writing task that stemmed from the contents and children’s participation in drama. The overall aim was to describe ‘what happens when drama is integrated in a writing classroom’. Informed by the Vygotskian theory of learning, it sought to investigate the impact of using drama on children’s: (a) attitudes and views towards writing, (b). engagement with writing tasks and (c) quality of writing. A qualitative case study methodology and multi-method approach to the design of the study were adopted on the basis of what can best investigate the issues raised by the research questions. Questionnaires, interviews, observations, writing samples, video recordings and researcher’s log were used to collect data throughout the year, before (Sept-Dec) and after (Jan-Jun) drama integration in writing lessons. The collected data were analysed by quantitative and qualitative methods. Findings indicated positive changes in children’s attitudes and views towards writing following the introduction of drama and progressively positive improvements in most children’s engagement in writing. Additionally, analysis of writing samples provided indications of positive contribution of drama towards children’s writing and insights into the interaction between drama and writing content. On a theoretical level, this thesis suggests that the concept of mediation is central in interpreting the interactive relationship between drama and writing. It also indicates the impact of drama as a sociocultural setting on children’s agency in their development as writers and raises questions for further research.
PhD in Education