Articles & Papers: (Click on title for abstract and download)

Oreck, B (2017) Making Another World: Relationships in Playwriting A Study of High School Playwriting Students. International Journal of Education & the Arts


A study of former participants in high and middle school playwriting programs investigated students’ perceptions of their experiences. After 20+ years of partnerships in a wide range of schools, Washington D.C.’s Young Playwrights’ Theater examined how and why playwriting works and for whom. How does the form and process of writing plays motivate students, including some who don’t like to write or struggle in English class? The results offer intriguing insights about the nature of playwriting and the impact of relationships with mentors, peers, and audiences to influence students’ skills, motivation and self-perceptions as writers.

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Oreck, Owen & Baum, (2003). Validity, Reliability, and Equity Issues in an Observational Talent Assessment Process in the Performing Arts. Journal for the Education of the Gifted. Vol. 27, No. 1, 2003, pp. 62–94.


The lack of valid, research-based methods to identify potential artistic talent hampers the inclusion of the arts in programs for the gifted and talented. The Talent Assessment Process in Dance, Music, and Theater (D/M/T TAP) was designed to identify potential performing arts talent in diverse populations, including bilingual and special education students and students who have had no prior formal arts instruction. Research results over 13 years in elementary schools in New York and Ohio provide evidence that creative and artistic potential can be assessed validly and equitably and that such assessments can offer a reliable prediction of success in rigorous arts instruction.

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Oreck, B (2014) Looking for Artistry by Barry Oreck in Organic Creativity in the Classroom (2014), edited by Jane Piirto, published by Prufrock Press.

ABSTRACT: A reflection on a career of searching for the roots of artistry in performance, learning and teaching

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Oreck, B. and McAndrews, D. "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below":The challenge of assessing student learning in the Shakespeare classroom. A paper presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Meeting March 25, 2008, New York City.

ABSTRACT: How does acting in a Shakespeare play differ from reading it? What theatrical approaches will be effective in reaching students who have never read a Shakespeare play before? For theater companies working in schools, the answers to these questions are critical to understanding and demonstrating the value of their work as part of the language arts, classics, and drama curricula. Over the last eight years the Shakespeare Theatre Company has studied those basic questions through the development of a new student assessment process to better understand what students are learning through its Text Alive! program. This paper presents the results of the initial testing and research conducted between 2005 and 2008.

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Oreck, B. (2006). Artistic choices: A study of teachers who use the arts in the classroom. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 7(8).

ABSTRACT: In recent years the arts have been introduced into many pre-service and in-service professional development programs for general education teachers. At the same time, pressure for immediate test-score improvement and standardization of curriculum has limited the creativity and autonomy of teachers. This study, the qualitative part of a mixed-methods investigation of teachers across the U.S., involved six New York City elementary school teachers who found ways to use the arts in their classrooms on a regular basis despite the pressures they faced. The study investigated the personal characteristics and the factors that supported or constrained arts use in teaching. The results suggest that general creative and artistic attitudes rather than specific skills as a maker of art are key to arts use. A willingness to push boundaries and take risks defined this group of teachers. They recognized obstacles and challenges to arts use, but made choices that helped them maintain a sense of independence and creativity in teaching. The strongest motivation to use the arts use was their awareness of the diversity of learning styles and needs among their students. The teachers articulated a variety of ways in which arts-based professional development experiences encouraged them to bring their creativity into the classroom, expand their teaching repertoire, and find effective ways to incorporate the arts in the academic curriculum.

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Oreck, B. (2005). A powerful conversation: Teachers and artists collaborate in performance-based assessment. Teaching Artist Journal, 3 (4), 220-227.

Introducing a field-tested approach to identify artistic ability and accurately assess student learning.

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Oreck, B., Baum, S., & Owen, S. (2004). Assessment of potential theatere arts talent in young people: The development of a new research-based assessment process, Youth Theatre Journal, (18).

We report on the results of a new process for identifying potential talent in a diverse population of untrained elementary school students.

Oreck, B., & Piirto, J. (2014). Through the eyes of an artist: Engaging teaching artists in educational assessment. In M.E. Anderson and D. Risner (Eds.), Hybrid lives of teaching artists in dance and theater arts. pp 231-251. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press.

Now a chapter in Hybrid Lives of Teaching Artists in Dance and Theatre Arts: A Critical Reader, Edited by Mary Elizabeth Anderson and Doug Risner 2014, Cambria Press

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Oreck, B. (2004). The Role of Classroom Teachers in Identifying and Nurturing Students' Artistic Abilities. Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

Report from a Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented students grant

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Oreck, B. (2004). The Artistic and Professional Development of Teachers: A study of teachers' attitudes toward and use of the arts in teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 55 (1), 55-69.
Oreck, B. (2004). Project Start ID: Statewide Arts Talent Identification and Development: Assessment and Identification Results. Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

A report on a Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students grant

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Oreck, B. (2004). Enhancing Self-Regulatory Behaviors in the Classroom Through Arts-Infused Curriculum Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.

A quantitative study of student self-regulation during arts-infused lessons.

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Oreck, B. (2001). The Talent assessment process in dance, music and theater (D/M/T TAP): New research on the assessment and identification of talent in young people

ABSTRACT: A follow up study on the D/M/T TAP

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Oreck, B. (2001). The arts in teaching: An investigation of factors influencing teachers' use of the arts in the classroom (Doctoral dissertation, University of Connecticut, 2000). ProQuest cat. #9999695.

A study of general education teachers’ use of the arts in the classroom.

Oreck, B., Baum, S. & McCartney, H. (2000). Artistic talent development for urban youth: The promise and the challenge. Research Monograph for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

A study of students who had been involved in ArtsConnection’s Young Talent Program

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Oreck, B., Baum, S. & McCartney, H. (1999). Artistic talent development for urban youth: The promise and the challenge. Champions of Change: The impact of the arts on learning. The Arts Education Partnership, Washington, D.C.1999.

ABSTRACT: A summary of the Artistic Talent Development monograph published in the research compendium Champions of Change.

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ArtsConnection. (1998). The Talent Assessment Process in Dance, Music and Theater. Brochure for D/M/T TAP.

A brochure and description of the Talent Assessment Process

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Baum, S., Owen, S., & Oreck, B. (1997). Transferring individual self-regulation processes from arts to academics, Arts Education Policy Review, 98 (4), 32-39.
Dance Dialogues

Abstract Coming Soon

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Nicoll, J and Oreck, B (2013). Can the “Best Practice” Trend Leave Room for the Unknown? Journal of Dance Education, 13: 92–98.

ABSTRACT As teachers of the arts we are committed to nurturing the creative potential of all our students. We value process and want to inspire young artists to find their unique voices. But do we? Habitual models of teaching, along with external pressures in the settings in which we teach—including pursuing models and language of “best practice” borrowed from the business world—can lead us away from those cen- tral values and toward a more teacher-centered, outcome-directed approach that might unintentionally limit our students’ agency in making art. Learner autonomy in the arts—qualities of which include confidence in navigating the unknown, the ability to look at one’s work more deeply, and the capacity to independently sustain one’s artistic creation through often unpredictable progressions—is an overarching goal for us. Our challenge is to pursue that goal, and share our processes with others with similar goals, remaining cognizant of the risks of adopting “best practice” concepts and jargon.

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