The ‘To be or not to be well – Drama and Theatre in Education’ project ran between 2019 and 2022. It was about using Drama and TIE to collaborate with teachers in ways that supported their wellbeing and that of the students, especially the ones who are at risk of exclusion. Big Brum TiE from the UK, The Lužánky Leisure Time Activity Centre from the Czech Republic, Nyitott Kör Association from Hungary and Association of Drama Practitioners STOP-KLATKA from Warsaw collaborated to create new resources, which are shared on this page. All partners had long lasting experience in Drama and Theatre in Education.
Partners collaborated in the creation of a new model and framework of collaboration with schools through a set of events, in order to better engage all students.
The partnership collected data via focus group sessions, structured questionnaires & interviews with teachers. Altogether 70 teachers and education support workers were asked in the four countries. Teachers reported that they were not equipped enough to deal with marginalised children, pupils with behavioral issues or learning difficulties, for whom the regular classroom and lessons, based on formal outcomes, seemed to be not fitting to their learning needs. Teachers felt that they didn’t have enough opportunities for skills development and training. Our findings highlighted that teachers face pressure and many times are viewed as service providers by the maintainer and also by the parents. The need for closer collaborative work in order to maximise both professional/personal benefits for them and resultant benefits for children and young people arose in all the four countries.
The New Model of Cooperation described in the Well-being Curricula and connected Resources is based on a Pilot process: Partners collaborated with schools and devised a set of events, which were gradually built on each other. These were workshops, seminars, planning and follow-up meetings with teachers, educators, school managers and support staff, and Drama and Theatre in Education events with students, observed by the participating teachers. Altogether 68 education workers and 781 students were involved in the Pilot phase. In the final stage of the project partners organized 4 conferences and 19 workshop series across Europe to share Resources and learning of the project.
Our results in numbers:
From the 4 partner organisations 40 colleagues collaborated in creating 10 publications and 22 videos about Drama - Well-being - Education, in which 560 TEACHERS/educators/school supporting staff and 826 STUDENTS were directly participating from the local communities, and 200 international professionals contributed to evaluation, advising, and dissemination, for impacting positively at least 18'000 students’ well-being and that of their schools’, out of which 6000 pupils could be struggling among formal expectations, or may be at risk of ESL, of becoming disengaged or marginalized.We estimate to have reached at least 80'000 individuals from different organizations across 42 countries who care about quality education world-wide.
The final results of the project include a Well-being Curricula, which consists of four document packages, one from each partner, based on the local context’s characteristics, and needs of the schools. We offer this as a scheme for other European practitioners, who would like to work on the well-being of their schools, involving Drama.
The ‘To Be – A Living Question: Guidebook for Drama & Education practitioners’ narrates the story of the project and the story of the encounters we had with teachers, students, and in the European partnership. Through the Guidebook we share the key principles that guided our work, and make visible how we took decisions when planning and facilitating. We also share feedback and responses from the participants. We offer this as an inspiration for other practitioners who would like to use the Well-Being Curricula, and who would like to improve the well-being of their school through a project.
We considered it important to research the impact of the process. Partners from the Czech Republic, from Hungary and from the UK created research reports, which we share through the ‘To Be – Researching connections between Drama, Well-being and Education’ Studybook.
We expect that these resources enhance teachers’ communities and their skills in order to better engage students who are (socially) disconnected from the school, at risk of exclusion, or struggle among formal school expectations. We wanted to respond creatively to the need to consider the well-being of the schools (and the individuals present in the schools) crucial for learning.
“I was pleasantly surprised that the well being of students and teachers is the center topic of this project, so much needed in these troubled times. There are so many original and vivid concepts introduced that broaden our perception of the subject , drama-theatre education and education as a whole.”/ Sanja Krsmanović Tasić, Theatre director, choreographer, actress, drama and dance teacher, IDEA president, Centre for Drama in Education and Art president, artistic director of Hleb teatar
“I think that more important than any details, is the model for working so openly from the international steering group level to the actions taking place in schools, giving time for ideas and thinking in the start, and choices to reflect and ask in between and at last – the way to act is the way to be!”/ Pirjo Vaittinen,Tampere University, PhD, University Lecturer (emer.), Theatre Critic and Researcher, Drama and Theatre Educator
“Primarily they are a starting point for professionals to begin to identify what Being is and how this is in crisis, then to use it as stimuli to begin to create material, schemes of work to prioritize well being and address sustained engagement. There is a lot of potential to adapt the core themes to specific contexts. The concept of being socially distant - connected is critical.”/ Chris Cooper, Playwright, Director, Facilitator
“[Through the materials] I witnessed the exploration of deep feelings being safely held through drama methodologies developed over decades for precisely this purpose. I felt inspired, as I considered the breadth and depth of these materials, to encourage learners of all ages to find some agency in times of restriction and trauma. This is a fantastic contribution to the case for arts in education and drama in particular.”/ Dr. Gill Brigg, Freelancer, arts-based educationalist
The project is co-funded by the Erasmus Plus programme of the European Commission of the European Union. Project number: 2019-1-HU01-KA201-06127.
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