Three years into the profession, Nerang State High School dance and drama teacher, Taryn Allen has gone from performing in front of theatre audiences to helping school students perform better in all aspects of their schooling. A passionate advocate of the Arts, she modified a Year 7 drama unit to develop the students’ writing and build their confidence. Drawing on elements of the Dimensions of Learning (DOL) framework, she applied elements from it to the lesson plans and placed a focus on developing students’ growth mindset skills.
“I created introductory activities that would allow students to inform me of how they are feeling emotionally, then I would alter my lesson to suit their needs. I shared these with the Year 7 Dean and worked closely with her to ensure this class would have a positive learning experience in the drama classroom.” Taryn says. Taryn graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), has over twelve years of dance studio training and has worked in various theatre productions. This experience is brought to bear in her teaching of the subject and leading troupes that are regularly place getters or winners in various dance eisteddfods. She directed two performances for the Gold Coast Secondary Schools Dramafest and choreographed a school musical. She led a team of students two years in a row in the Kokoda Youth Challenge: Brisbane, a year-long commitment that concludes walking a 48km track along some of the city’s toughest terrain. She has built reciprocal relationships between local community clubs and the school community. These include the local Rotary club by running the Interact Club (for youth to make a difference in their community) and the Returned and Services League (RSL) Nerang Club by filming a video for their ANZAC Day Dawn Service. The video captured a performance featuring Drama students and school leaders from the school directed by Taryn. To build her professional knowledge and skills, Taryn is currently studying a Master of Education at QUT. Ever since her first year of teaching she has attended both the Gold Coast Dance Teachers Professional Development Day and Drama Queensland Conference every year, along with other professional development activities. She has worked closely with her mentor teacher to build her skills and overcome challenges. Congratulations Taryn on your nomination.