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I was a secondary school history teacher for 22 years, working in comprehensive schools in Cambridgeshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire, when I began to turn tedious or challenging topics into factually accurate scripted dramas. I was stunned at the way this active learning technique transformed understanding, engagement and exam performance. The impact on GCSE and A Level classes was so marked, that in 2009, I set up Act the Facts, the educational script writing company and began to write full time.
For more details on the impact of scripted drama, read our featured article: ‘The best way for students to remember history is to experience it’, by Helen Snelson, Ruth Lingard and Kate Brennan, published in the Historical Association magazine, Teaching History, or Helen Darlington’s: ‘Teaching secondary school science through drama’ in the School Science Review.
There is substantial evidence that teaching science through creative methods increases pupils’ motivation and their enjoyment of science. This has been found to be particularly true for those pupils who are not always self-motivated and who find learning easier when less formal techniques are used. Drama is an excellent method of bringing creativity into the classroom. The activities mentioned here, ranging from large ongoing projects to smaller five-minute mimes, can easily be adapted for the delivery of a variety of science topics to a wide range of pupils.
Whose idea was it to run a workshop at the Schools History Project Conference in July this year? I blame Helen Snelson, Head of History at The Mount School in York, whose infectious enthusiasm has embroiled me in some heart-stopping situations over the years. This was one such situation that lead to a major endorsement for Act the Facts.
‘The best way for students to understand history is to experience it!’ Transforming historical understanding through scripted drama by Helen Snelson, Ruth Lingard and Kate Brennan, featured in the Historical Association’s Teaching History magazine September 2012
Headlines and deadlines were the order of the day for pupils as they became cub reporters for the Hull Daily Mail. More than 200 youngsters from 18 primary schools were at the University of Hull as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Act the Facts supplied the scripts. Read the Hull Daily Mail article here.
Politicians, Presidents and Communist Dictators descended upon Year 10 to bring the Cold War to life. Acting out the period around 1945, the carve-up of Eastern Europe and the increasingly hostile relations between the East and the West, Year 10 pupils tackled a complicated period of history with the aid of Act the Facts, an education script writing company based in North Ferriby.