Brian Edmiston

Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning

Program Areas:

  • Literature for Children and Young Adults
  • Adolescent, Post-Secondary, and Community Literacies
  • Rethinking Early Childhood and Elementary Education
  • Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education

(614) 292-7841

Personal Website


Brian Edmiston is Professor of Drama in Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning. His scholarship focuses on drama in language, literacy, and literature teaching, dramatic inquiry as a P-12 cross-curricular pedagogy, and drama as ethical education.

A former elementary and secondary classroom teacher, he regularly teaches and has conducted funded research in P-12 classrooms in central Ohio, England, and Northern Ireland. He has authored more than 40 publications including three books. Professor Edmiston directs the professional development of teachers at Ohio State in the Stand Up For Shakespeare program, part of the partnership between the Royal Shakespeare Company and the university.

In the Department of Teaching and Learning he teaches courses in the MA and PhD programs and runs the pre-service multiage MEd licensure program in drama education. In the doctoral program he is a core faculty member in two areas of study: Rethinking Early Childhood & Elementary Education and Adolescent, Post-Secondary and Community Literacies and is an affiliate faculty member in Multicultural Education & Equity Studies and Literature for Children & Young Adults.

In 2009, he received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. He was twice elected chair of Education & Human Ecology College Council, 2004-06. A former co-editor of Drama Matters and co-director of the Martha King Center for Language & Literacies, he has organized two international events at Ohio State: the 2000 International Drama in Education Research Institute, and the Dorothy Heathcote Seminar in 2007. He regularly presents and has been an invited keynote speaker at local, national, and international conferences.

Brian identifies as a British-Irish-American: he was born and grew up in Ireland, was a lawyer and then a teacher in England, and moved to the United States in the mid-1980’s. He studied for his master’s degree with Dorothy Heathcote, the legendary teacher and scholar of drama in education, and for his doctorate with Cecily O’Neill, the leading expert in process drama as an art form. After receiving his Ph.D. he was a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for five years before returning to Columbus to join the faculty in the Department of Teaching and Learning in 1996. He is married with two children, plays the fiddle, likes to bicycle and sing, and is a Quaker.


  • 1991 Ph.D. The Ohio State University
  • 1984 M.Ed. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England
  • 1973 LL.B. University of Bristol, England

Research Interests


  • 2009-present Directs the professional development of teachers at Ohio State in the Stand Up For Shakespeare program, part of the partnership between the Royal Shakespeare Company and the university
  • 2010 Ohio representative, Education Leaders Institute of the National Endowment for the Arts, Chicago IL
  • 2008-2011 Member, Standing Committee on Research, National Council of Teachers of English
  • 2004-2006 Chair, Education & Human Ecology College Council, Ohio State University
  • 2003-present Coordinator, K-12 Licensure M.Ed. Program in Drama Education
  • 2001-2008 Co-director, Martha King Center for Language & Literacies, Ohio State University
  • 2001-present Editorial Board, The Journal for Drama in Education
  • 2001-2009 International Editorial Board, Research in Drama Education
  • 2004-present Reviewer, Research in the Teaching of English; Reading Research Quarterly; Language Arts; Disabilities Studies Quarterly
  • 1999-2000 Co-editor, Drama Matters


  • EDUTL 633: Teaching and Learning with Drama: Introduction
  • EDUTL 644: Dramatizing Texts
  • EDUTL 777: Teaching and Learning Social Studies with Imagination
  • EDUTL 888: Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning with Drama


  • 2009 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Selected Publications

  • Edmiston, B. (2011). Teaching for transformation: drama and language arts education. In Lapp, D. & Fisher, D. (Eds). The Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts. New York: Erlbaum/Taylor & Francis. 224-230.
  • Edmiston, B. & McKibben, A. (2011). Shakespeare, rehearsal approaches, and dramatic inquiry: Literacy education for life. English in Education, 45 (1), 91-106.
  • Enciso, P., Cushman, C., Edmiston, B., Post, R., & Berring, D. (2011). ‘Is that what you really want?’: a case study of intracultural ensemble-building within the paradoxes of 'urbanicity’. Research in Drama Education: the Journal for Applied Theatre and Performance, 16 (2), 215-234
  • Edmiston, B. (2011). ‘We are hunters and gatherers of values’: Dramatic play, early childhood pedagogy, and the formation of ethical identities. In Rogers, S. (Ed.). Rethinking Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education: Concepts, Contexts, and Cultures. London & New York: Routledge. 48-59
  • Edmiston, B. & Taylor, T. (2010). Using power on the playground. In Brooker, E. & Edwards, S. (Eds.). Engaging Play. Open University Press. 166-181.
  • Edmiston, B. (2010). Playing with children, answering with our lives: a Bakhtinian approach to coauthoring ethical identities in early childhood. British Journal of Educational Studies. 58 (1) 197-211.
  • Beach, R., Campano, G., Edmiston, B., & Borgman, M. (2010). Literacy Tools in the Classroom: Teaching through Critical Inquiry, Grades 5-12. New York: Teachers College Press
  • Edmiston, B. (2010). To be wise before we are old: Teaching as creating spaces for learning wisdom. Talking About Teaching 2009. Academy of Teaching at The Ohio State University, 34-41.
  • Edmiston, B. (2008). Forming ethical identities in early childhood play. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Edmiston, B. (2008). Mountains, ships, and time-machines: making space for creativity and learning with dramatic inquiry in a primary classroom. Durham: Creative Partnerships.
  • Edmiston, B. (2007). Mission to Mars: using drama to make a classroom more inclusive for literacy learning. Language Arts,84 (4), 337-346.
  • Edmiston, B. (2005). Coming home to research. In Diaz Soto, L. & Swadener, B.B. Power and Voice in Research with Children. Peter Lang Publishers.
  • Edmiston, B. (2003). What’s my position? Role, frame, and positioning when using process drama. Research in Drama Education. 8 (2), 221-229.
  • Edmiston, B., & Enciso, P. (2002). Reflections and refractions of meaning: dialogic approaches to classroom drama and reading. In Flood, J., Lapp, D., Squire, J., & Jensen, J. (Eds.) The Handbook of Research on Teaching and the English Language Arts. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan. 868-880.
  • Edmiston, B. (2000). Drama as ethical education. Research in Drama Education. 5 (1), 63-84.
  • Wilhelm, J. & Edmiston, B. (1998). Imagining to Learn: Inquiry, Ethics, and Integration Through Drama. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.