Brian Edmiston on "Play" and "Assessment"

This video shows Brian Edmiston at a teacher training event for the Mantle Network in 2011. Brian looks at the questions, “What is play? What is role? How does using them to make a difference in learning and teaching?”

On the video, we see Brian using different drama activities to explore the idea of “play” with teachers at the event. Then, Brian leads a session with a group of 4-year olds from the school on the story of Humpty Dumpty.

The children are in role as hospital staff, tending to Humpty after his fall. This leads to a task to make medical records for him and other “patients.”


The children also look at a dramatized reconstruction of the accident, and try to work out why it happened. They offer advice to Humpty on how to avoid accidents like this in future; and also plan how the wall could be rebuilt to make it safe.

“Authentic” and “inauthentic” assessment

In this video, Brian looks at “authentic” and “inauthentic” assessment.


He is really talking about giving teachers back ownership over assessment, so they see it as a useful and necessary tool, to monitor what children are learning and what their needs are – rather than seeing it simply as something inflicted on teachers and children alike by the powers-that-be. 

Brian looks at different forms of assessment from the “informal” (e.g., something as simple as a “thumbs-up”) to more “formal” methods (e.g. setting criteria). The film ends with some practical activities to bring a text like Macbeth alive in the classroom.

The films are a record of an event at Woodrow First School, Redditch.

Brian Edmiston is Professor of Drama as Education at The Ohio State University.

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