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Professional Development Intensives



The Educational Theatre Association’s Professional Development Intensives (PDIs) programs consist of one- or two-day interactive, hands-on opportunities for theatre educators to develop their arsenal of professional skills on a specific topic. Topics range from directing a musical to curriculum development to stage lighting.

EdTA's PDI seminars also allows attendees to advance a graduate degree or earn credit required for continuing education.

The PDI program is typically run in conjunction with other Association events, such as the Thespian Festival or the National Conference. Attendees can minimize their time out of the classroom, maximize their budget for professional development, and allow for wider networking opportunities.

If you are interested in teaching a PDI at one of our events, please fill out a proposal.


Confirmed PDIs

2015 EdTA National Conference

Thursday, October 1, 2015
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


A guidebook for the high school director, Bruce Miller
This PDI will provide teachers with a useful approach to mounting a high school production that focuses on what student actors should be doing on stage. The day’s work will focus on directing essentials such as script analysis and synthesis, blocking, character development, and telling the story through action. We will discuss how to examine and craft plays, scenes, beats, and moments. Teachers will explore ways to communicate with their students clearly and effectively in the spirit of collaboration.

Improv: It’s not just for comedy anymore
, Missy Whitis
Many think of improv as unscripted comedy, but it can apply to any form of spontaneous theatre. Improv teaches creativity, innovation, communication, teamwork, and leadership. This six hour intensive on improv has five sections: 
  1. Pedagogy (a.k.a. Jokers belong with Batman)—We will discuss why and how to teach improv.
  2. Storytelling and playtime: Bringing order to chaos—We will explore classroom methods that demonstrate how to incorporate improv all year long as we strengthen theatre games using motivation and collaborative and connective learning.
  3. The boy band way—We will discuss different types of improvisers and how to find each student’s unique gift.
  4. It’s not about being funny—We will tackle exercises to spark immediate engagement from students.
  5. Bringing it all together—We will discuss how teaching the rules of improv and continued application will change your critical assessment and conception of how your students “do” improv. Your students will thank you for raising the bar!

Diving deep: Matching your lesson to the National Theatre Standards, Leslie Van Leishout
In this session, participants will begin by examining the new National Arts Standards so that they can easily align their lesson plans and units. Each educator will develop a standards-based lesson plan by making small changes to align an existing lesson with the Standards and by using the correct letter and number designation. This session will help you demonstrate to your colleagues how and why the new National Theatre Standards are important and rigorous.

Sunday, October 4
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The National Theatre Standards are up and running!
, Mary Schuttler
This workshop will guide both the novice and veteran teachers through the process of applying the new National Theatre Standards to their current curriculum and will assist participants in creating a crosswalk with their state standards. Teachers will also develop Model Cornerstone Assessments that reflect the learning outcomes of specific lessons and explore advocacy efforts for educating administrators and community members about the value of standards-based theatre education.