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Science and Drama: Contemporary and Creative Approaches to Teaching and Learning.

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Currently in Australia, attention is turning to the challenge of declining numbers of students choosing to study post-secondary science. There is a strong need for new and more effective pedagogical approaches to engage school students in science learning and for switching them on to scientific ways of thinking and developing literacies appropriate for challenging futures. Deepening student learning and increasing student engagement in science can be achieved through interdisciplinary work with drama education. Drama as pedagogy is a form of critical thinking in action that can be a way of exploring science ideas as well as an effective way to communicate science issues and challenges. The use of science within drama education can complement student learning in their science classes, and provide a pathway for effective science communication. Additionally, science concepts, ideas and issues can provide exciting material for exploration and presentation as students learn about theatre and create performance in drama classes. As an art form, drama also provides opportunity to exercise creativity and imagination, important attributes to develop in addition to scientific thinking. Drama education draws upon and lives in real world issues and facilitates the exploration of complex lives and daily concerns. Science education leads to scientific literacy which is necessary to interpret the many issues of our times. Fusing the two through interdisciplinary education where learning happens in and through each discipline can amplify student engagement and facilitate a deeper learning. Scaffolding student engagement and learning through complex ideas and issues can be difficult at all levels of education, and diverse pedagogical approaches are required.

This is a book that speaks to both science and drama educators, provides examples of collaboration, and demonstrates how drama and science learnings can remain discrete yet in tandem contribute to a deeper, more engaged student learning outcomes. In pre- and in-service teacher education, there is a need for increased understanding of how to incorporate Drama education with Science education in meaningful ways. Interdisciplinary work in an education setting requires each discipline to contribute directly to learning and to reinforce learning from the other discipline, without one discipline simply being in the service of the other. There are currently no books that bring Science and Drama together in this way and we have been asked by STE[A]M[E] leaders in schools, ‘Where is the book on science and drama?’.  Well here it is!

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