Queen's University

Drama instructors embrace activist learning model

A learning model promoted by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is helping drama instructors Jenn Stephenson and Grahame Renyk rethink how they teach, assess and prepare students for challenges after university.

“We see the ideas, connections and extensions (ICE) model as an ‘activist’ approach to learning. Trying to make extensions makes us ask, ‘how do we take something out of this course, out of academia, into the world? It encourages students to take ownership of their learning,” explains Dr. Stephenson, the current undergraduate chair in the drama department.

The principle behind ICE is that learning moves through three different stages. Students become familiar with new ideas and concepts, begin to see relationships and connections between bodies of knowledge, and then create knowledge by drawing conclusions and formulating new explanations.

Sue Fostaty Young and emeritus professor Robert Wilson from the Faculty of Education developed the ICE learning model and, in 2000, published Assessment and Learning: The ICE Approach. Over the years, the model has been introduced to many faculty members who have attended workshops at the CTL.

Last year Dr. Stephenson and Dr. Renyk co-taught DRAM100 using the ICE approach. They found it allowed them to create engaging assignments for their first-year students, helped TAs adapt to their new roles with confidence, and made learning a proactive activity. They published on their experiences in a special issue of Canadian Theatre Review.

To see Dr. Young discussing the ICE learning model, visit the CTL’s video page.

Related Content

Dr. Jenn Stephenson

I am an Associate Professor in the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen's University. My principal areas of research interest are in contemporary Canadian drama, metatheatricality, "theatre of the real," autobiographical performance, and performativity in fictional worlds-within.