Home.About Us.E-Publications.Free Stuff.Contact.Courses.SFE Books.Videos.

© 2011 Sue Phillips

Created by M.Stillman

What is Theatre of Learning ?

Theatre of learning is an active, experiential  method of teaching which I developed slowly over a number of years in response to pupil disaffection and poor examination results.


My attempt to make my lessons more engaging, easier to understand and remember for an examination,  resulted , I discovered,   in pupils’ becoming engaged emotionally in the experiences I was creating in the classroom..


I realised as I read their work and listened to what they said that these methods were  developing their own spirituality and enabling them to empathise with people very different from themselves, whether it be members of another tradition,  or  people who were suffering in some way.


Pupil behaviour and motivation was transformed, along with their examination results  as they enjoyed, remembered and understood lessons where they saw and  touched artefacts , ate  special food  to recall  festivals and celebrations and experienced powerful emotions, often enhanced by music, as they listened to stories and  visualisations   within multi sensory sets,  representing the religious tradition  or moral issue they were studying .


These activities are now supported by a  five  point learning model which I  use with trainees and teachers to show how  experiential learning can be used to improve the quality and depth of written work and consequently improved examination results


After an article about it was published in the TES. In June 2000, “Centre stage in the Theatre of learning “ ,I began to receive requests to demonstrate this way of teaching to other teachers .


In reflecting about what I was doing and why it was so effective, I developed a  pedagogy  of what are now seven basic techniques which can be applied to any  age range and any programme of study.


After writing five teacher resource files of “lesson recipes” to cover each of the major world religions. I began to apply the techniques to Citizenship and Values education . “Teaching Tolerance “ and “Teaching Human Rights “ were written with my husband Neil, a lecturer in philosophy. We have also worked on material to promote and encourage  democracy and political awareness in young people and in particular  to encourage a  positive response to the role of the European Union. We are currently working  on an active, experiential approach to philosophy and ethics designed to provide the  academic background  for  non specialists  and practical lesson ideas to be used with pupils.


Free stuff

This website offers “free stuff”. This consists of papers and articles I have written which are a useful introduction to the techniques  for research students and student  teachers .  They contain many references  to stories and ideas   which  should be enough to get you started in the classroom. There are many lesson ideas for PSE and citizenship.  


“Becoming a PSE facilitator for the first time”  and  “The PSE tool kit “ will help you get started on circle work, deal with saboteurs and build  the   relationships with your classes which are so essential for  a positive  learning environment , where children need to feel safe enough to really think about issues  and feel safe enough  take part in discussion. Relationships  are  especially   important  when using  experiential work


Articles can be found in “RE Today “ “The International Journal of Children’s Spirituality” and in book two of the “International Handbook of the Religious , Moral and Spiritual Dimensions of Education” published by Springer in 2006. This a useful handbook for anyone researching aspects of Religious and moral education and is a collection of articles from scholars interested n the spiritual dimensions of RE.


You can also download a list of the  basic techniques  and  suggestions for music. You could also look up “In the mood” an article by me on the use of music published by the TES some years ago. Possibly 2003. There are suggestions for  active techniques for AFL.


E books

There are currently three books which are available from me by e mail. At £10 each.  £3 of which goes to charity £5.50  with reclaimed tax. They deal with  poverty, refugees and moral issues. Click on that section for details and to receive samples.



Calendar of courses


I put on courses  regularly in  Bognor Regis. I also present at venues around the country in response to invitations, especially to PGCE students . It may be possible for you to attend one of these at a University near you .Contact me for details.