What people are saying about Try This…
A wonderfully rich and pragmatic guide
“The whole concept, including the metaphor of keys, is brilliant. It is like reading your favourite recipe book, with simple instructions that anyone can follow and return to time and again. I love the layout, illustrations and the easy to read yet eloquent writing style. The variety of examples offer a wealth of inspiration for creating our own meaningful and effective learning experiences. ‘Try this’ is a wonderfully rich and pragmatic guide for all kaiako (teachers) who want to explore using Dramatic Inquiry in their akomanga (classroom).”
Whakarongo Tauranga, Associate Principal, Knighton Normal School, Hamilton, Aotearoa New Zealand
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The keys are incredibly versatile
“We have been fortunate to try some of these keys with our staff and students. The title of the book gives a fantastic representation of what lies within. This book is an invitation to provide thought-provoking, meaningful and creative learning opportunities for students and teachers. The keys are incredibly versatile while still providing clear direction, empowering those new on the journey of Dramatic Inquiry and giving those more accomplished in Dramatic Inquiry a strong framework to unleash their own creative ideas. Ultimately we have seen teachers and students invested in their learning in a more profound way as a result of using these keys.”
Andy Peart, Deputy Principal, Hillcrest Normal School, Hamilton, Aotearoa New Zealand
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What a stunning book this is! Will breathe life into children’s learning and joy into your teaching.
“A goldmine of a handbook that opens the door into using imagination and Dramatic Inquiry in the classroom in a readable and accessible way. It contains a wealth of practical and enticing ideas with suggested contexts for busy teachers to dip into, which link to different aspects of the curriculum. The ideas will intrigue children and help them ponder and consider different points of view in a way that will breathe life into their learning and joy into your teaching. Just what I’ve been looking for to encourage others to dip their toe into the joy that is using Dramatic Inquiry in the classroom.”
Nicole Winter, St Nicholas C of E Primary School, Wantage, UK
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An absolute game changer.
“Teachers, if you would like a classroom full of highly invested, engaged learners busily immersed in a context and eager to learn more, then have a little dabble with Try This. You don’t even need to read the whole book … but I bet you do! An absolute game changer.”
Julia Baker, Deputy Head Teacher, Bradshaw Primary School, Halifax, UK
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A great book … based on a real learning experience with children in their classrooms.
“This is a great book not only because it combines theory and practice in one context, but because it’s based on a real learning experience that took place with children in their classrooms, in multiple contexts. From practical experience and reflection, we are in front of learning units that teachers can learn, borrow, inspire, negotiate, and create their own dialogues within sharing experience approach with students. It is a dialogue between the two, Tim and Viv. In their continuous dialogic knowledge we are on front of Drama and Curriculum which combined with all its forms; ideas with its facts and metaphors operates in one multiple approach of cultural, historical, social contextual learning. A book worth reading and experimenting with children.”
Wasim Kurdi, Director at Qattan Programme for Educational Research, and Development Drama in Education Practitioner, Palestine
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Every staffroom should have this drama manual of manuals.
“We all love a great story. Tim and Viv’s book will take you and your children into the centre of a whole host of tales: quickly, seamlessly and with simplicity. Every staffroom should have this drama manual of manuals.”
Richard Kieran, Head Teacher, Woodrow First School, Redditch, England
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These ‘keys’ can not only motivate and engage learners, but give them experiences that equip them for life.
“One of the things that mark human beings out as distinct is our ability to imagine. We can use our imaginations to create a better future – and then work to achieve it. What a power to harness. Tim and Viv’s book helps us do just that, in meaningful and practical ways. It provides an accessible framework for using our imaginations to ‘unlock’ contexts where learning actually happens – and sticks! Working alongside Tim, as a class teacher and school leader, I have seen how these ‘keys’, if used wisely, can not only motivate and engage learners, but give them experiences that equip them for life. Read this … Try this … See for yourself.”
Richard Restall, Head Teacher of St Bartholomew’s C of E Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne
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“Like a dramatic recipe book – really easy to use, with easily adapted ideas for a wealth of dramatic contexts. Try This is fantastic, with its simple but highly effective format. Like a dramatic recipe book – really easy to use, with easily adapted ideas for a wealth of dramatic contexts. I love the simple steps into the dramatic exploration, which can be followed to the letter or developed and tailored to whatever context you wish to explore. This book is the key to an incredible world of dramatic learning, whether you are a novice taking a first peak through the dramatic crack in the door, or a more experienced drama practitioner, plunging headfirst through the portal to another world! I would recommend all teachers to have this book to ignite dramatic learning in any classroom.”
Helen Chapman, Head Teacher, Morda Primary School, Shropshire
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I didn’t even know I was waiting for this, but it’s going to revolutionise the drama practice in our school!
“My key word for this book would have to be ‘accessible’, masterfully so. There is enough explanation of the techniques behind the keys and how to use them, to give a ‘green’ teacher some context but doesn’t drown out the essence of this being an easy-to-use, pick-up-and-put-down guide to quality drama practice in the classroom. As an experienced practitioner this books effortlessly enables me to expand my repertoire of drama tools, making it easy to step outside my comfort zone and be more conscious in my selection, using a wider variety in the classroom. The concrete examples for each ‘key’ are invaluable especially to newer or more hesitant practitioners. As the pedagogical leader in my school, this book excites me as a practical, tenable drama guide that my staff, of varied experience and enthusiasm, will all be able to use to raise the bar of drama practice and Dramatic Inquiry in our infant and primary classrooms.
Tamara-Ann Borge, pedagogical leader, Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, Switzerland
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Brilliant. A genuinely useable resource.
“Firstly and most importantly the book is brilliant. The idea of providing numerous starter points for teachers who want to try something different but aren’t sure how to get an idea moving is a really important one. All the ideas are of a manageable length and the wide links to the external sources make it a genuinely useable resource. I think at the moment when everything seems to be focused solely on reaching end points, time for being creative and curious is at a real premium so a wealth of ideas that allow for children to be so is a bit of a gift! I also think that where there is still a bit of fear around using drama in the classroom, these ideas which include what to say and how to say it plus what to do and what to show would remind teachers of the possibilities in using the techniques and the fact that it isn’t so scary after all.”
Ian Gorman, class teacher, St John’s Primary School, Newcastle
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The book I wish I had when I was a class teacher! Extremely practical, and with each key there are clear examples
“This is the book that I wish I had when I was a class teacher! It’s extremely practical and with each key there are clear examples on how to use the strategy suggested. You can dip in and out, but using the keys will always help the busy teacher with ways to develop a child’s learning in different subjects. I really liked that the examples often link to children’s literature and provide ways of exploring a text with the children. Children need to be given opportunities to make an emotional connection with their learning, and this book provides the busy teacher with keys to unlock ways of doing this.”
Dot Patton, Head Teacher, Saint Michael’s C of E Infant School, Aldershot, UK
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Incredibly inviting! Brings learning to life.
“Try This is incredibly inviting! Tim and Viv don’t just unlock learning with their keys, they really bring learning to life with their imaginative examples, clear language and immediate applicability. They prove that Dramatic Inquiry is a feasible approach for every teacher. It is amazing how they manage to introduce dramatic conventions and strategies in an accessible and quick way, without sacrificing any of their intrinsic quality.”
Bob Selderslaghs, teaching artist and postdoctoral researcher in the arts, Antwerp, Belgium
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What a difference this amazing book will make!
“I can think of hundreds of teachers who will take this amazing book as a guide and scaffold in travelling with their pupils on learning journeys they’d never imagined before! I consider Try This to be the ‘master key’ to unlocking so much potential in classrooms wherever in the world that learning may be! Enabling, challenging and motivating pupils to be active participants in their own learning, in episodes that will make complete and utter sense to them. All pupils deserve to be able to build a narrative of where they want their imagination to take them, to work together on building the story and stepping into it, who knows where their adventure may lead! Thank you Tim and Viv – what a difference this amazing book will make to so many of us!”
Lynsey McCrohon, Head Teacher and curriculum adviser, Priory Church in Wales School, Brecon, Wales
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Provides great support to teachers new to Dramatic Inquiry, and a wealth of rich material for the more experienced.
“Viv Aitken and Tim Taylor, two experienced practitioners and writers in the use of Dramatic Inquiry, reveal, in this book, their understanding of the culture of contemporary schooling, and the busy lives of teachers.
This is a book I wish I had had when I was a teacher new to using Dramatic Inquiry. It is the teacher that would have helped me see the possibilities, and the friend who would have guided me.
The work in the book is drawn from Dorothy Heathcote’s pedagogy, and made accessible here, without any watering down of sound theories of excellent practice.
It is a very practical book providing great support to teachers new to Dramatic Inquiry, and a wealth of rich material for those who are more experienced. It is practical but intersected with theoretical principles, which underpin the examples as they are shared. There is great clarity and coherence in the book, which uses the notion of three teacher voices and their intention.
What I really like is the clarity of its teaching where, for example, it explicitly teaches the elements of dramatic imagination and illustrates it in practice, and how it impacts on, for example, children’s writing. It also illustrates clearly excellent models of language use in practice, which draw on the elements of theatre. There is no mystique surrounding it, but great clarity.
I love the way the book addresses the readers /practitioners, who are invited in, to unlock the doors of possibilities, and use their agency in the way they trial the work. The examples are grown from practice from different contexts and cultures, with examples of structures seen through the lens of two different cultures. What a great way of demonstrating this awareness of the children’s unique culture in practice.
This is the go-to book for any teacher wishing to start or continue to use Dramatic Inquiry. It’s the teacher they need to guide them in planning, and the friend who encourages them to have a go and, as the book suggests, ‘try this’.”
Iona Towler-Evans, teacher-trainer and visiting lecturer at Newman University