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Lynn A. Richards
"Pictures in Our Minds" A Narrative Study of the Incorporation of Creative Dramatics as Pedagogy in Elementary Classroom Content Areas.

Biosketch:

Lynn A. Richards is an elementary educator in the Mars Area School District where she is currently teaching in a primary classroom setting. Her areas of educational interest include narrative inquiry, multi-age programs, aesthetic education, and the study of informal drama activities in the context of curricular learning. Lynn received her Ed D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1996. Her dissertation is entitled, "Pictures in Our Minds" A Narrative Study of the Incorporation of Creative Dramatics as Pedagogy in Elementary Classroom Content Areas.

Lynn has presented active learning workshops in Bosnia-Herzegovina (in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh and UNICEF), at National Council of English Teachers (NCTE) conferences, at the University of Pittsburgh Greensburg Children's Literature Conference, and at American Educational Research (AERA) conferences. She has also been a team member of the Bosnian Children's Artwork 'Obnova' Project and has taught graduate courses in creative dramatics at the University of Pittsburgh as well as for a local Intermediate Unit.

Dr. Richards' writings have been published in: Active Learning Modules for Primary Educators in Bosnia Herzegovina, (co-authored with Stephen Koziol, Jr.), Stage of the Art (AATE) magazine, The Qualitative Dissertation Guide (Pianatanida and Garman), and The School Performance Network's Using Study Groups to Enhance Educators' Professional Development: A Regional Conversation. She is currently writing a book chapter on ontological authority with the Dissertation Writing Study Group as well as continuing to study her active classroom of primary school children as they engage in on-going informal drama activities throughout the elementary curriculum.

Dissertation Abstract:

"PICTURES IN OUR MINDS"
A NARRATIVE STUDY OF CREATIVE DRAMATICS AS PEDAGOGY IN ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM CONTENT AREAS
Lynn Altman Richards, Doctor of Education
University of Pittsburgh, 1996
Advisor: Stephen M. Koziol, Jr.
UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertation #AAT 9637875
This narrative study represents one elementary educator's search for pedagogical insight. I begin by describing my initial professional orienta-tions toward the field of creative dramatics and my interest in how an elemen-tary classroom could be infused with drama activities across the curriculum. Throughout the study, I connect my personal experiences with the thoughts of other researchers, drama theorists, parents, teachers, and especially with the voices of my own students.

Over a span of six months, I document my second grade classroom prac-tices through the multiple lenses of Teacher Journal, lesson plans, and au-dio/video tapes. The children's voices are represented by: Learning Logs, es-say writings, journals, taped interviews/discussions and drama debriefing field notes. Through narrative vignettes, I ex-plore the implicit contradic-tions in the varied roles and generic responsibilities of the elementary class-room teacher, especially in how the boundaries of Teacher and Student be-come blurred as drama activities are incorporated into each content area. My exami-nation of the on-going drama activities and de-briefings are further guided by two questions: "What are my Intentions as Teacher?" and "What are the Chil-dren's Percep-tions?"

Within this instructional context, I portray how my pedagogic philoso-phies, the connections between Home and School Life, and daily classroom events col-lide with, meld into and transform the prescribed language arts, so-cial stud-ies, mathematics, and science curriculum. I then synthesize these por-tray-als into broader pedagogic contexts by construing drama as four analogies: "Drama as Knowing", "Drama as Discourse", "Drama as Narrative", and "Drama as Synec-tics". I describe these categories through classroom examples of: the chil-dren's diverse ways of making meaning, extended student-to-student dis-cus-sions, contextualization of drama experiences through shared narrative dis-course, Teacher-Student sharing of role and life stage synergy, and how cre-ative drama is embedded within the teaching-learning process. I conclude this study with some broad observations for other elementary educators who are committed to incorporating drama as pedagogy within their own classroom life.


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