Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Supervisor

Professor Caroline Barratt-Pugh

Second Supervisor

Dr Lennie Barblett


New educational directives have an effect on the practice of teachers in schools. This study is propelled by the introduction of a national Australian Curriculum and subsequent changes to the Arts curriculum. As one of the five arts subjects, drama has been included in the primary school curriculum in Western Australia since 1997, however, its inclusion and the teaching of drama has not been consistently realised.

Teacher perspectives and beliefs about specific Learning Areas influence their planning and practice; often this is related to past experiences. This study aims to determine Year 1 teachers’ perspectives of, and practices in, drama. In addition, knowledge of the new Australian Curriculum in the Arts and the level of support required during the implementation process are sought. The study focuses on the Year 1 level, as this particular year marks a significant transition in a young child’s life from a Pre‐primary setting to the Year 1 classroom; considering the playful quality inherent in drama experiences, it is a time when drama pedagogy could be explored fully.

Data collection instruments were generated based on previous research and state curriculum documents. Participants in the study were asked to complete a questionnaire. The data provided an insight into Year 1 teacher perspectives and practice and the new Arts curriculum. The subsequent semi‐structured interviews were conducted to augment the questionnaire data.

The study found that Year 1 teachers extolled the positive benefits of using drama; however, experiences in drama, both as teacher and participant, affected their willingness to implement it. Teachers were using drama, yet analysis of semi‐structured interviews revealed a common practice of implementing incidental and unplanned drama experiences. A foundation for the implementation of drama in the new Arts curriculum with recommendations for possible professional development and support for drama practice are provided.