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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education

Last modified: Friday, March 8, 2013

Fostering creativity theme for fourth annual Theatre in Our Schools conference

March 8, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Educators and artists will meet at Indiana University again to explore the ways drama can help to teach. The fourth annual Theatre in our Schools mini-conference is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center on the IU Bloomington campus.

The conference is sponsored by the IU School of Education, the IU Department of Theatre and Drama and the American Alliance for Theater and Education.

TIOS 2012 workshop

A workshop at the 2012 Theatre in Our Schools mini-conference

Print-Quality Photo

The theme of the conference is "Fostering a Culture of Creativity in Our Schools." An array of teachers, theater professionals, drama therapists and university faculty will present at the day-long workshop. Pre-registration is open through March 18. The workshop is $25 for students, $35 for members of AATE and $45 for non-members.

The All Things Story Playback Troupe from Chicago will give the keynote presentation.

"Playback is a form of drama therapy where the troupe plays back stories from the audience," said Michelle Davenport, lifelong learning curriculum developer and trainer at Bloomington's Stone Belt, a service provider for people with disabilities. Davenport chairs the committee for this year's Theatre in Our Schools conference and is a certified drama therapist.

"During the keynote time, there will be an opportunity for people to talk about their experiences of fostering creativity," Davenport said. "Then we'll get to see that played back and have a really in-depth conversation about that."

The conference is designed for anyone, from experienced hands with using drama in education to the novice. The range of sessions will cover considerable ground in the subject.

"We have a high school teacher who is talking about fostering creativity in the high school classroom," Davenport said. "We have a woman who is talking about creative writing in the arts and how that can help foster any kind of program. We have one man who is presenting about using puppets with preschool children and how that can help get into topics with them and help them explore ideas and social skills. We have one woman presenting about adapting theatre activities for adults with developmental disabilities in an educational program."

A full listing of the panels is available here.

Davenport said the conference will expose participants to valuable tools that can be used across the education spectrum, tools that recognize that most people don't learn simply by hearing.

"I think it's only 10 to 30 percent of people who are auditory learners, and this is how school is generally taught," she said. Most students learn visually or kinesthetically, by doing an activity. "Individuals with developmental disabilities are highly kinesthetic learners and children are highly kinesthetic learners. Why theater works so well is because you embody the concepts. We use theater in all forms of education, so in math, in science, in social studies, in reading and writing."

Outside a regular school classroom, drama can offer much to those who may have suffered trauma. "What drama does and what the other creative arts do is get into your body and your unconscious, so you can express it," Davenport said. "That's why it works for therapy and for education."

More about the Theatre in Our Schools mini conference is available on the conference web site.