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'The true nature of educational drama lies in the exploration and communication of ideas, issues, subject content, themes, stories and feelings through participatory action and imagination.'

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Introduction

'The true nature of educational drama lies in the exploration and communication of ideas, issues, subject content, themes, stories and feelings through participatory action and imagination.' There have long been two separate views of what drama is: 'There are those who believe that drama is a pure art form, directly aligned with creative expression, theatre and performance (and) there are those who regard drama as a process of self exploration and development.' Clipson-Boyes, p.1-2. What the quote given for the title of this assignment does is strike a balance between both of these beliefs and in doing so, offer a definition of what constitutes educational drama. Through the teaching and observing in school and the experiences of activities undertaken on the module, I have been able to appreciate that educational drama really does involve all of these processes. In my assignment I will attempt to discuss where the place of drama fits into the National Curriculum and how it can be successfully implemented based on current theories and strategies. Over the years the role of drama in the primary school has undergone many changes. Drama became of educational significance in the 1960s up until the 1980s. When the National Curriculum started to come into force, 'more formal teaching methods meant that drama virtually disappeared from many schools.'(Clipson-Boyes in Ashcroft and Palacio, p.206). ...read more.

Middle

Reading around the question of what to consider when planning drama, I have found that there seem to be seven elements to the process. The seven stages that I am going to talk about are based on the ideas from Clipson-Boyes in Ashcroft and Palacio, p.210, Needlands, pgs 83-5 and Toye and Prendville, pgs119-120. The first element that needs consideration is the Purpose. Needlands writes that is in order to answer the question; 'Why choose drama as a way of working?' p.86. The purpose should take into account previous learning and future learning. Context refers to what the children are focusing on in relation to the National Curriculum. For example, literacy work on non-fiction genres might be looked at through a debate in role. Needlands writes: '(Contexts) are to do with establishing a clearly defined starting point...' P.86. Content establishes form of drama will take place. For example, taking roles from a story and being hot-seated. Toye and Prendville write that: '(The content) engages the children's interest and stimulates their desire to unravel the problem and resolve the issues.' p.120. The next element is Organization, which refers to how the drama will be carried out. For example, using a strategy like 'interviews' could be pair, group or whole-class activities. I think that it is important to consider the mode in which children because unorganized grouping can waste time and become confusing for both teacher and child. ...read more.

Conclusion

Needlands writes that this strategy is not without its flaws: 'No opportunity for role development. Avoids interaction, particularly dialogue. Short-term specific goals. Lacks tension of an ongoing drama situation.' P.61. I think that we overcame some of these issues during the module. We linked a series of frames into a sequence to develop the plot. We stepped out of the frame to interact with the audience and we extended the moment by going back and forward in time. My experiences of this strategy make me inclined to believe that this need not be as limited as Needlands suggests. It is a strategy that I believe brings with it a lot of scope for variation. All of the above three startegies that I have discussed lend themselves particularly well to literacy.********* Mime is a strategy that I think is particularly useful to use with younger children. It allows the articulation of understanding visually rather than verbally, which could prove useful for the very young as well as the unconfident speakers of a class. Needlands highlights some of its functions: 'Helps younger children fell drama is 'real'..encourages economy of expression...requires precision and children have some autonomy...satisfies children's desire to be physically active in the drama.' P.60. This strategy could be used during literacy, e.g. to look more closely at a story or to explore cross-curricular issues, e.g. look at emotions through facial expressions. Thought tracking is a strategy that we investigated during the module. ...read more.

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