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Rebecca Patterson Drama: What it can offer the curriculum
Help! What on earth is she talking about? I wonder if I am making any sense? Becky Hong Kong Teachers
Some questions that you may be asking now. What are they doing? What is happening? Where are they? Where is the teacher? Are they learning anything?
WHAT IS DRAMA? ‘droa’ meaning ‘I do’ or more richly ‘I struggle to find meaning’ This ‘struggle’ takes shape through the enactment of events, where all involved aim to express meaning using their bodies, voices, emotions, intellect and imagination symbolically and interactively These ‘enactments’ are structuring using DRAMA CONVENTIONS. These conventions “are not structures in themselves, they are more like building blocks or palette that is used…to create the structures” (Neelands, 1998) The tools of drama are used in many different contexts: As an act of communication with an audience (theatre) In a therapeutic process In education and training
Drama in the National curriculum in England Drama in schools can be found: sometimes studied as an art form in its own right in primary phases and at KS3 (at Key Stage 4 & 5 through specific examination courses) included in the English curriculum Orders at all Phases used as a method of learning in various subject areas However, times of change are upon us with The Creativity Agenda and the new ‘Curriculum for Living’ and The Big Picture (QCA). It has become increasingly more recognised that drama can meet the needs of our pupils and the education system by: Engaging and motivating pupils (making learning relevant and fun) Developing empathy and tolerance through ‘felt’ experiences Supporting Every Child Matters (5 areas: Safe, Healthy, Enjoy & Achieve, Economic Stability, make a Positive Contribution)
According to recent writers, drama classroom activity… is “Processual” (O’Toole1992) is continually negotiated/re-negotiated (ditto) is concerned primarily with the “making of meaning” as opposed to the acquisition of propositional knowledge. (Neelands) Connects with modes of learning other than linguistic/literary (as in Howard Gardner’s “Theory of Multiple Intelligences”) Is a social art form Is often most “creative” when tasks are tightly structured or constrained : paradoxically, not when complete freedom is offered to learners. Can suspend normal classroom hierarchies and relationships (as in the use of Teacher In Role)
Using drama helps teachers to; create a secure environment for learning to take place help pupils to adapt to an ever changing society have greater expectations explore and define roles and responsibilities in the classroom.
Seeing possibilities for the future Teaching five outcomes through Drama Be healthy Stay safeEnjoy and achieve Make a positive contribution Achieve economic well being Exploring my emotions and feelings through imaginative settings Challenging others and being challenged myself Through imagining and realising my ideas and intentions Appreciating traditions and developing sensitivity to cultural differences Communicating and expressing myself effectively and in a range of ways appropriate to needs. Understanding and interpreting myself and others through role play. Understanding how others see me Developing a confidence in different unusual situations Learning new ways to communicate and share ideas and feelings Learning to lead, manage and support. Developing a sense of identity and self worth Considering the impact of myself on others around me. Becoming enthusiastic, creative and critical; developing a taste for performance Expressing myself imaginatively and creatively; joining a dramatic group Developing an awareness of opportunities in in the creative and cultural industries Being exposed to new Knowing what to do in dangerous situations Communicating my thoughts, ideas and feelings. Learning to appreciate a wide range of dramatic experiences
A child who….. Is a reflective learner Is responsive to change Is a risk taker Is a confident collaborator Is a creative contributor Is an independent enquirer Is unafraid to fail, to try, to question, to challenge, to investigate…..
A teacher who is … creative making connections questioning communicates well confident takes risks thirst for knowledge curious generates ideas flexible perseveres listens and reflects critical self-editing skilled shaper literate willing to have a go thinks for themselves shows initiative gets on well with others makes a difference acts with integrity self-esteem ‘can do’ attitudelearns from mistakes is independent
Push back boundaries Take some risks Are brilliant but unpredictable Have big ideas By using drama in our classrooms we can become the people who…. Allow yourself to be the child in your classroom.