Innovative IGS literacy and drama techniques go global

IGS Principal Shauna Colnan has congratulated two staff members on being invited to present virtually to the Deeper Learning Conference in China in December and again in 2021.

IGS Deputy Head of Junior School Josie Nardella and Primary School Head of Teacher Accreditation and Development Michelle Weir have been invited to share Literacy through drama workshop to a global audience to a global audience later this year and again next year.

“It’s wonderful to know that the level of expertise and experience that Michelle and Josie bring to IGS will now be shared with educators around the world,” said Principal Shauna Colnan.

Michelle Weir and Josie Nardella at the Deeper Learning Conference in San Diego

The experienced IGS teachers and leaders were part of the Deeper Learning Team in 2019 in San Diego and their proposal was approved for presentation earlier this year.

“Unfortunately, this was cancelled but another opportunity arose, when the organiser of the Deeper Learning Conference – China contacted us as he really wanted us to be part of his team to present virtually, at the Deeper Learning Conference in China in December,” Josie said.

“It has been a wonderful collaborative journey for us and an invaluable professional learning opportunity. We have also been contacted to present virtually at the 2021 Deeper Learning Conference.”

Michelle and Josie are thrilled to be part of the global Deeper Learning Community.

“In San Diego, we were inspired by the teaching and learning happening in other schools who were part of the Deeper learning Community around the world,” Josie said.

“It was a great time to make new connections and have our thinking challenged. It was also a chance to have our mission affirmed, to use our collective capacity to build and strengthen vibrant learning communities for adults and students alike.

“The IGS Deeper Learning team came back to IGS and had the opportunity to run a one-day conference in July 2019 for the rest of the IGS staff. During this day Michelle and I (and all the team who went to San Diego) presented individual workshops as well as one together.”

This year the pair will present a worldwide workshop on Books alive, literacy through drama.

“And we’ve been contacted by the organisers in San Diego and asked if we would present our workshop online in 2021.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the teaching and learning that takes place in our primary school.

“We are grateful that IGS has given us opportunities to participate in fantastic professional learning over the past five years, supported by IGS Principal Shauna Colnan.

“Michelle and I have both completed an online course through Harvard on Visible Thinking Routines as well as School Drama through the Sydney Theatre Company. Most of the primary teachers have also completed these courses.

“Michelle and I wanted to showcase the depth of learning and teaching that takes place in our Primary School.

“To be able to do that at a global level is amazing.

“We have loved collaborating together and learning new skills along the way! We have demonstrated in our workshop how we can combine the use of thinking routines and drama strategies to deepen students’ understanding.

“We feel so lucky to be part of the IGS community. The Primary staff are a talented, dedicated, and passionate group of teachers. We are excited to share our ideas globally and look forward to greater collaboration in our teams.

Aspects of their workshop

Issues and challenges are explored from multiple perspectives using drama, and a range of possible outcomes are explored.

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”

Josie and Michelle have found the benefits of using these routines and strategies to include:

  • increased student academic achievement in literacy and English
  • improved student confidence
  • increased student engagement
  • significant improvements in class cohesion.

“Drama gives students opportunities to be involved in collaborative and cooperative activities.

“It enables students to imagine, explore, communicate, reflect and understand themselves and the world around them.

“The students really enjoy the process and are always wanting to do more drama!”