Investigations in learning and teaching through metacognition and critical and creative thinking practices in secondary Drama Education

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Masters of Arts (Performing Arts)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Renee Newman

Second Advisor

Dr Lyndall Adams


Historically, there has been an achievement gap between the performance and written exams in the Year 12 ATAR Drama course in Western Australia, which is illustrated by the disparity in Drama ATAR results since 2010. The aim of the study was to improve students’ written marks in Year 12 ATAR Drama and to explore the development of metacognitive skills through a variety of performance and writing approaches for secondary Drama. The research explored the use of theatrical techniques and workshops to express and articulate ideas in written and verbal responses, which required students to be conscious of their cognitive processes.

The research utilised an iterative action research cycle to present a case study, which drew upon performance and written tasks, exercises and simulated exam conditions to provide a reproducible teaching platform for secondary Drama teachers. The research methods included observation and participant observation, reflection and video documentation through field notes, video and photographic capture, interviews, focus groups, and inclass and examination assessments. The findings confirmed that students’ written marks had, to varying degrees, improved in the course, especially through an increased awareness of their metacognition skills. The research offers a reproducible teaching methodology for secondary Drama teachers and provides evidence in support of the development of students’ metacognition skills for lifelong learning.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is embargoed until 4 November 2024. At the expiration of the embargo period, access to the thesis will be restricted to current ECU staff and students. Email queries to library@ecu.edu.au

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Paper Location