A winter’s tale: will not overlook the value of drama in school

With the festive season underway, and work on the Bedales Christmas theatre production in full swing, it was one thing of a wrench for me to put factors on hold for a meeting of independent school drama teachers in London a number of weeks in the past.

I found myself discussing the relevance of drama and the reforms to GCSE and A-ranges to be launched next yr. The government is stressing the need to prepare college students for additional and higher training, as properly as employment, so they want to downgrade assessed coursework in favour of finish-of-course exams.

The nature of reforms for drama at GCSE and A-degree appear rather vague at the second. Evaluation goals recommend that fewer complete texts will be studied, but much more extracts, and at neither degree is there any stipulation that college students ought to see dwell theatre. On this latter level, my colleagues and I agree this should be remedied or we threat an above-reliance on video.

Even though I am heartened by the growing sense that the qualification reforms will retain a significant proportion of non-examined assessment, clarification is required about what “exam” indicates. Drama is a topic that exists in reside form, and a formal sit-down test could not capture the subject’s worth.

Whilst preparation for work and greater examine are crucial, it’s essential not to drop sight of the worth of drama in itself, or the approaches it is presently in phase with what educationalists and employers say they want.

All drama teachers are acquainted with tips that drama is a soft subject. I am cushioned from this to some extent: the school is deeply committed to the liberal arts. We have a superb property for drama in our contemporary timber-framed theatre, and are much more than happy to share what we have, producing the theatre accessible to the regional Petersfield youth theatre amongst other issues. But I have completed my share of attempting to persuade headteachers about the academic and workplace rewards of drama – of which there are loads.

Theatre the two demands and displays teamwork in compelling techniques. This Christmas we are staging German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” – a difficult option due to the interwoven nature of its several plot layers, but a production that will be largely pupil-led. A public performance this kind of as this can be a great shop window for the college, bringing to daily life claims about inclusiveness, understanding that engages, and valuing the abilities of the individual.

Not only can young children draw upon other topic regions to inform what they do in drama, for example, in researching roles, but drama can also help individuals earmarked as disengaged discover some thing in school for themselves. I can think of numerous college students about whom teachers in other subjects have expressed considerations that they really do not contribute in class, who then understand via drama that they can say their piece. It is immensely gratifying when this new self confidence transfers to their other subjects. When heads agree to come and take a look at performances, they are struck by just how thrilled youngsters can grow to be in an educational environment.

It is also tough to locate a subject that has a stronger emphasis on the top quality of the finish end result: there will be a efficiency, it should be well researched and specialist, and there will be nowhere to hide. A theatre manufacturing is a management venture my time doing work in management in the city, prior to becoming a drama instructor, produced me aware of the characteristics necessary to shine. Management tasks in the workplace demand bringing people together swiftly and enthusiastically, and the teamwork and leadership engendered in drama work are suited to this.

A drama education is superb preparation for all kinds of employment, and it is now frequent knowledge that the skills taught on a drama degree are a lot respected by employers in a assortment of fields. It can be no coincidence that at Bedales, in all the many years that I have been right here, the head boy or woman teams have been produced up of a minimal of 50% drama college students or those who have taken on major roles in the school plays.

Drama engenders joy, enthusiasm and a sense of achievement in students, it truly should blossom because there’s practically nothing like it.

Phil King is the head of drama at Bedales school.

Leave a Reply