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Opinions from drama teachers wanted for MA research

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by natrich80, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. Hi there, I am hoping to get some help from fellow Drama teachers out there as I undertake a research project for my MA. I am researching whether Drama should be national curriculum and how students perceptions change according to whole school approaches to Drama. If you can offer me 10 minutes to complete a questionnaire please email me at nrichards04@msn.com with Drama questionnaire in the subject box. Thanks in adavnce. If not just post your opinion on whether Drama should be NC and why?

     
  2. Hi. If you search this forum the topic has been discussed at length several times. You might find some useful info there.
     
  3. Drama is on the national curriculum but as part of English. The question you should be asking is why isn't drama on the NC as a discrete subject. I can tell you why this state of affairs exists because I was teaching drama at an advisory level when the NC was introduced. There was a movement in the 70's away from 'theatre' or 'product' towards the idea that drama was not a discrete subject but a medium of learning about other subjects and 'issues' ie towards the idea that it is a 'process'. A movement spearheaded by the likes of Heathcote and Neelands and other fellow travellers. Some schools even began to look at the idea of teaching everything through the medium of drama. Which raises the following question - if the major proponents and exponents of educational drama were arguing that drama is not a subject but a medium/process; how could we expect the government to include it as a discrete subject on the NC? And sure enough they didn't. Nor for that matter did they include dance except as part of PE.
     
  4. I agree with (most of) what you say, Ralf.
    I remember, in the late 80s, when the NC was being set up, Drama was in pretty much the same position as cooking / domestic science (or whatever each school called it).
    Both were destined for the bin, basically.
    However, various lobby groups triumphed by re-branding the subject "Food Technology", thus becoming part of the core curriculum at a stroke.
    Pity no-one lobbied for Drama.
    However, until the late 90s, there was far less pressure on schools and most continued to teach Drama - timetabled Drama.
    In the last decade or so, the tickbox and targets mentality has dominated - among both bureaucrats and young teachers who have never known differently - and Drama has become marginalised in many establishments.(Except when the Head wants a showcase production each year).
    Exam boards do us no favours. "Acting" counts for 40% or less of the marks for GCSE Drama. The rest is process.
     
  5. Natrich80 perhaps the question shouldn't be 'whether Drama should be a national curriculum subject' but rather does it merit being included on a national curriculum. I am not certain it does. What exactly do drama teachers teach? What exactly do students learn in five years of secondary education? In may cases, not much. Do some research, scan a few school websites and take a look at their drama curriculum. The drama curriculum of many, but not all, schools appears to be a random hotch-potch put together without any obvious rhyme or reason other than the simple desire to do occupy students or get to good grades at GCSE. It appears to often boil down to an endless rehash of 'Blood Brothers' and 'Our Day Out' with a bit of pseudo social drama thrown in for good measure, 'knife crime' and 'drugs' are very popular. I am often appalled by how little, after five years, even bright students, appear to know about a subject they profess an interest in. Sadly this lack of knowledge about their subject extends to many young drama teachers that I meet.
    However, along with the writers of the 'Gulbenkian Report' and various HMI reports from the 1980's I believe that students have an entitlement to an arts education; the arts being music, dance, drama, poetry, literature, visual and plastic arts. An interest in and experience of the arts is part of a balanced education.
     
  6. thingwall

    thingwall New commenter

    Harsh but fair but you could equally say "I am often appalled by how little, after five years, even bright students, appear to know about a subject they profess an interest in." about many arts subjects and English Lit. The key point about Drama's place in the school curriculum revolves around its assessment. Use Drama as a process as the 80s seemed to hold dear and assessment isn't (wasn't) much of an issue. Once you start assessing it you end up with the current situation where the Exam Boards decide what it is and how to teach it. Its subjectivity is a nightmare. A 100% 'acting' GCSE would be interesting, though the SEG syllabus in the mid-90s was almost that.
     

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