Confirming identity using drama pedagogy: English teachers' creative response to high-stakes literacy testing

Janet Dutton, Kathy Rushton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    English teachers often feel blamed for low results on high-stakes standardised literacy tests such as Australia's National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). Faced with pressure for their students to produce high scores, teachers can react by making changes to both content and strategies which result in a narrowing of curriculum and teacher pedagogy. The 'Identity Texts Professional Learning Project' began when a group of Australian secondary English teachers sought to eschew this propensity to narrow curriculum and practice and instead developed a creative, syllabus aligned way through which to improve the literacy and engagement predominantly for students with Language Backgrounds other than English (LBOTE) or for whom English is an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D). The resulting approach involved the use of drama-based pedagogy to craft identity texts (Cummins, 2000) that incorporated students' cultures and linguistic resources, including first languages. Teachers in this professional learning project have described gains in student literacy and engagement, and strengthened links with community. This article will report on the ways these teachers came to value the role of drama pedagogy to strengthen student literacy and respond to the demands made by testing regimes that are currently used to assess students and their teachers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to) 5-14
    Number of pages10
    JournalEnglish in Australia
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018


    • English
    • English as an additional language
    • literacy
    • drama pedagogy
    • secondary English teachers
    • creative pedagogy
    • NAPLAN
    • high-stakes testing


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