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New perspectives and practices inspire teachers at NIDA Creative Ambassadors Initiative

Early career teachers took advantage of NIDA’s insights into creativity and education when they participated in the Creative Ambassadors Initiative last week.

Early career teachers took advantage of NIDA’s insights into creativity and education  when they participated in the Creative Ambassadors Initiative last week. From the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, 13 teachers from across Australia came to invest in their creative practice in the classroom.

They agreed unanimously that creativity is paramount in the classroom. ‘Without it, you fall back to the traditional ‘talk and chalk’ style of teaching and not all students learn that way,’ said Rebecca Curtin, from Eastern Goldfields College in the small mining town of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. ‘Some students can do well with that style of teaching, but some are kinesthetic learners who need creative engagement and movement. This program is extremely beneficial in the way that it encourages that.’

Simon Locke, currently teaching at Bowen State High School in Queensland in the Whitsunday Islands area, said that: ‘When you are teaching in a rural setting it’s quite hard to keep your finger on the pulse of the drama world as it is constantly evolving and changing. This program is a great opportunity for me to refresh my own skills, but also for my kids, as they don’t have the same exposure or opportunities that kids in a metropolitan setting do.’

The initiative is NIDA’s investment in the creative practice and artistry of early career teachers and features professional artists and academic staff from various disciplines leading workshops across a week-long intensive. The sessions included facilitation by John Bashford (Director of Acting), Shane Anthony (Director), Alison Bennett (Theatre Maker) and Dr Stephen Sewell (Head of Writing for Performance).

Photo: NIDA Creative Ambassadors take part in engagement activities at NIDA.

‘Connecting drama teachers from regional areas of Australia with new ideas, fellow teachers and artists was one of the many successful outcomes of the NIDA Open 2017 offering,’ said Schools Manager, Kate Sherman. This year, the program also inspired Science and Technology teacher Lina Ponto teaching K-6 primary Science and Technology at  Marie Bashir Public School in Strathfield, Sydney.

‘In Science and Technology there is an important aspect of design thinking, where students have to find a user and develop a product. The students need empathy and social skills and by giving them drama and arts based education they able learn those skills, understand the world around them and develop empathy for each other’s ideas,’ said Lina .

‘Collaboration is  key in Science and Technology. I can see a lot of drama skills like offering, accepting, negotiating and improvising that I can integrate into my teaching practice and KLAs (key learning areas). I can’t wait to go back into my classroom and start teaching and empowering my community and students.’

For more information about NIDA’s schools program

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