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EdTA Names NEA Grant Educator-Artist Teams

Thespians singing on stage at the International Thespian Festival

The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) has selected 12 two-member teams of high school theatre educators and teaching artists who will create a standards-based curriculum framework and instructional units in targeted areas of theatre. The EdTA Model Curriculum Framework Project, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, is intended to serve as a key step toward the organization’s goal of providing high-quality professional development for its members and the field of theatre education.

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More than 100 theatre educators and artists vied for the unique opportunity to play a leading role in shaping the future of the field. The chosen teams hail from across the country, Oregon to Georgia and California to Connecticut. (See complete list.)

According to James Palmarini, EdTA director of educational policy, to help prepare the teams to create the curriculum framework and instructional units, they will receive web-based training in standards-based teaching and assessment strategies reflected in the 2014 National Core Theatre Standards. The teams will also convene in Cincinnati July 12-15.

Participating teachers are expected to put the instructional units and assessments “on their feet” during the first few months of the 2018-19 school year and gather videos and written reflections generated during student engagement with the instructional unit. A select number of adjudicated portfolios judged to be at or above the standards aligned to the individual instructional unit will be posted on the EdTA website in early 2020.

Palmarini said, “The goal is to expand instructional practice for both classroom educators and teaching artists. They both bring a lot to the table for this project — artistry, pedagogy, and a mutual desire to create the best possible learning opportunities for students engaged in theatre education.”

“Nearly 30 states have adopted new theatre standards in the past two years,” he continued. “To meet those standards, our teachers need a framework that articulates what is important to teach and learn in theatre. Along with creating and sharing quality examples of standards-based learning and teaching, the secondary goal of this project is to demonstrate how theatre educators — classroom teachers and teaching artists alike — can measure the effectiveness of their teaching and the learning of students.”

EdTA’s NEA Art Works matching grant, the first it has been awarded, is part of the more than $25 million in grants approved in 2018.  The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.



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