Arguing the case for drama in the school curriculum: The educational and artistic argument for its inclusion, retention and development in schools with suggested paths of advocacy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 08:07AM
Comments: 6

If Drama is to expand in education systems around the world, and retain its position in those countries which currently acknowledge it as part of students’ curriculum entitlement, leading Drama figures have to make the case for Drama.

It is also necessary for the classroom teacher to understand and use the arguments for Drama’s curriculum inclusion. This is of particular importance in the UK where Drama needs to fight for its right to be a vital part of children’s learning experience.

The presentation, compiled in early 2013, is designed as a ready-to-use tool to make the case for Drama in the curriculum. It can be adapted to fit particular needs – for example, by deleting those slides which are not useful in a given context or the addition of slides which give the presentation local relevance.

I would be grateful for any feedback on its use.

John Somers

Download the PowerPoint presentation here.

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  1. I have been teaching Drama as a Head of Drama for twenty years and I have seen countless times in inset training where drama techniques and strategies have been adopted in mainstream teaching, things people thought they had invented but were already in the Drama framework.
    In the last several years I have been asked to think about pathways for careers in the field and I have successfully taken several students into the profession. One went to Goldsmiths College to study Stage Management and is now working full time in the Westend. I have had several students go into the acting profession, one of which is a soap actor, the other a performer as a dancer singer in the Westend. He had the lead role as Maralyn in Taboo. Presently I have a student who is studying technical theatre at RADA with another on the way to follow him.
    These may only sound like a few but the way Drama influences young people is emense. Those studying now are learning more about themselves, about their own expression and creativity, as well as preparing them to face a public when they go out to work. It helps those who are less able to succeed as they may be better actors than be able to write an essay.
    Children can aid their literacy and numeracy without realising it and there are so many companies now going into early years teaching to build all these things in children at an earlier age. Drama should be a part of the primary stage but is not always included because of the 3 Rs.
    Without some form of Drama we would all be wooden lifeless people, unable to fully communicate, express ourselves and show empathy. Learning through experience and the freedom to do it is paramount.
    I worked with Dorothy Heathcote once and she told me that children will lead better if only guided. If they have ownership of what they do and feel as if they can achieve it they will thrive. Children live practical experience, they play and they think more when situations are presented to them they have to solve. If they do it in a practical way where they have to physically react they will be able to handle life with more confidence.
    I have used her methods and seen children come up with creative solutions, that I would never have thought of. I have seen them teach themselves and isn't teaching today meant to include that very way of working, where they are self motivated and leading.
    I could go on forever arguing the cause but I wil say if Drama dies it will be like taking the Bees away. One thing will lead to another and that part of children's imaginations will be lost. Isn't that happening enough with the invention of technology.
    As a moderator I have seen so many schools whose Drama departments are the SMALL PEOPLE in the buisness framework, they are not given anywhere near as much reverance as other subjects and often the budgets are low but the expectations very high. I have seen a few teachers in my area being made redundant because Drama has been either removed, or absorbed into other curriculum areas. Diveristy is needed for an outstanding school to thrive and an outstanding school has a supported Drama Department. I have struggled to keep my department afloat and have had to fight to keep it, but luckily my Head sees its worth to keep it but not to make it a priority. This is how it is in most schools, but one day I hope to see it becaome bigger and more appreciated as should all Drama areas in schools. One day it will happen when its realised just how IMPORTANT it really is.

    Written on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 13:31hrs by Sarah Lewis

  2. Realistically, the people who we want to get through to in order change their minds are not going to give the time to read or listen to this presentation. Direct action, rather than dry power points are the thing. You have addressed this in your latter slides but I am not sure how many will keep going to the end?

    We need to get into the social media, local news and get some famous names involved in order to really put these issues into the public eye.

    Our profession is already presented as a bunch of whingeing lefties, and the public are encouraged to think teachers lazy and grasping. Our children are our best advocates, lets get them on the streets, squares and greens this summer. Let them perform and have their voices heard. Go out there and grab publicity, with their parents, the community and the media. The only way to change things is to demand attention and prove what we are saying with some quality examples of what drama can do to change and improve lives.

    I have just said goodbye to one of my year 11 classes. There were three students in that group who will have drastically better lives because they were in my studio for three lessons a week for the last 2 years. Of the rest, all of them will approach life, the universe and everything with more confidence, verve and apprectiation having looked at the world through drama eyes.

    Written on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 14:38hrs by I A Morgan

  3. Children and young adults NEED the teachings of Drama to grow and develop in today's stressful and technological world
    The absence of drama in teaching is akin to expecting flowers to grow without water, children to walk without legs, write without imagination, visualise without a brain.
    Drama as a teaching medium is essential to ensure innovation and invention.
    Britain would not be Great Britain without Shakespeare
    How can anyone with a brain suggest that drama should not be in the National Curruculum?

    Written on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 21:57hrs by Barbara Wood

  4. I am not suggesting that this presentation can be the complete answer to the need for Drama advocacy. There are many other ways in which the case can be made and I am fully in support of diverse means – I suggest a few of them in the presentation. I have also said that the presentation can be shortened and adapted to specific contexts, with case studies from your own work inserted and the biographies of your students who have gone on from GCSE, A Level or HE Drama to make careers in and outside the arts. It is planned as a considered, reasoned case for Drama’s inclusion in the curriculum, to be used with governors, other teachers, parents and anyone else you think needs to know. It begs to be used within a wider campaign.

    Written on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 9:22hrs by John Somers

  5. Wonderful -this seems to say something important about what is needed in the curriculum more generally - an authentic, social dimension that genuinely engages students by getting them physically and emotionally involved, where they can feel the relevance of the subject - and the themes that link all subjects.

    Written on Friday, November 29, 2013 at 19:40hrs by julie cozens

  6. a good idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:0

    Written on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 8:40hrs by muskan