Rebecca Pizzey

Editorial assistant

MTDES – Meet the speaker: Keith Burt

5:18, 10th February 2016

What’s your background and experience in drama teaching?

I’ve always wanted to be a drama teacher – ever since my own school experiences. After A levels I was lucky enough to read drama and education at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama before starting teaching in a school in Slough fifteen years ago. While in Slough I quickly became head of drama and created a very successful department. Having explained to my students that drama is a good career choice I decided to put my money where my mouth is and set up my own theatre company called Lemon Cake Theatre. Working as a professional theatre practitioner still inspires my teaching today, as I find a real symbiosis between teaching, practising and experimenting. When I returned to teaching I continued this style of work, developing new practices and methodologies of teaching drama. Initially this was through undertaking a Masters’ degree in Drama and Education with Middlesex University and I continue this through my blog, Burt’s Drama.


Why were you keen to be part of the MTDES programme?

I am passionate about sharing and discovering new and progressive pedagogies that I think will help both further the subject of drama and make the drama teacher’s life easier and more successful. We’ve all got a mountain to climb with the changes in the education system, be they for the better or worse, and anything that helps must be a good thing!


What are you going to be talking about to delegates at the MTDES?

I’m going to be talking about a relatively new pedagogy which has come out of America called Flipped Learning. I’ll be taking the audience through the research and exploration I’ve completed. Flipped learning had been successfully used in other contexts but at the time of my research had never been used in Drama teaching. In my practice I found it very effective when communicating the theory of practitioners, theatre history and exam centred content, allowing me more time to spend with the students to prepare for the method of assessment and help them achieve higher grades. As the pressure is going to build with the new GCSE and A level specifications, pedagogies like this are really going to be the way forward to deliver more content without taking away from practical preparation for assessment.


What is Flipped Learning?

Flipped Learning is essentially turning the traditional concept of teaching on its head. Instead of delivering a lecture at the start of the lesson, the teacher records it and gives it to the student to watch or listen to before the lesson as homework. The lesson itself then becomes about the application of that knowledge and the assessment of that application. Time is made thereby to ensure the knowledge is fully understood, applied and embedded ready for assessment.


How did you first encounter Flipped Learning yourself?

I first encounted it during research for my Masters when exploring the Kahn academy. This is a huge online library of instructional videos used by teachers in the US. I realised a huge number of teachers had already made the leap to Flipped teaching and with great academic success.


What are you most looking forward to being able to share with other teachers?

There are lots of things that could be taken from my seminar, ranging from a full blown pedagogy that can change your teaching practice to some extremely useful take away bitesize pieces. I am most looking forward to encouraging teachers to reflect and try new ways of delivering or assessing, even if it’s just little things.


And finally, what other session would you most like to attend if you were to be at the MTDES for both days of the conference programme, and why?

Anthony Kerr-Dineen’s session on the role of character education in the development of young people looks really exciting. I’ve always been passionate that at the centre of teaching drama should be the process of making theatrical experiences. I think there are tremendous opportunities within that to develop strong useful character traits such as grit, self-control and optimism.

The programme for the MTDES as announced so far can be found at www.musiceducationexpo.co.uk/Musical-Theatre-Drama-Education-Show-Conference-Programme

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