Drama may be stereotypically presumed as a group of people on stage following a script and acting it out. However, drama in the curriculum is rather diverse, and focusses more on the simple elements, such as understanding body language and emotions. Drama has also been said to enhance other areas in the curriculum (Woolland, 2010, p41), for example, health and wellbeing. For me, children generally expressing themselves is very important as it contributes well to our mental health. Participating in drama could also potentially increase confidence as children can present their work in front of others. This can also encourage meeting CfE outcome EXA 2-01a: I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and being part of an audience for other people’s presentations/performances.
Within the video, “Teaching Drama: A Structured Approach”, the drama facilitators had a clear structure to their lesson. They found that having a warm up, exploring some drama conventions, then having an evaluation discussion at the end was an effective way to teach children drama. They also had an “agreement” of “3 C’s” (communication, cooperation and concentration) and included a stimulus of photographs at the beginning to get ideas flowing. Some of the drama conventions used were still image/freeze frame, visualisation, soundscape and bodyscaping. The structure used conveys to work very well, the point in the warm up is to encourage decision making and physical activity. The stimulus is used to develop ideas and the drama conventions are great ways to explore different elements of drama. They also allow questions to develop and open up the discussion more. Lastly, evaluation of what the children have learned in the session is a good way to not only recap on their learning, but also to let the children calm down after such a physical, exciting lesson. The lesson as a whole meets a variety of the Es and Os, including EXA 2-12a, 2-13a and 2-14a.
Assessing children through drama can be done in a variety of ways. Firstly, looking at their spacial awareness and body movements around others can be an indicator that the child understands that in order to present, we must have the appropriate space and be aware of our surroundings. Other things to look at can be:
- Facial expressions
- Eye contact
- Roles taken on
Also, it may not be a bad idea to let children assess one another, after all, it is simply peer learning and assessment, just as we would use in the classroom. It lets children get a better understanding when they watch another child who is maybe doing a different facial expression or body position which is more appropriate to the context, which can inspire a change of their previous thought.
Drama is a great way for children to express themselves, can be applied to other areas of the curriculum, and can also help gain more confidence in children’s performance and expressive arts. If we could teach history though interactive learning, for example, acting out an important historic event, why shouldn’t we? It can promote and enhance learning if children are out of their seats and getting creative and involved instead of sitting on seats listening to the teacher talking, resulting in a better classroom atmosphere for all.
TeachFind. (2006). Teaching Drama: A Structured Approach. [online]. Available at: http://archive.teachfind.com/ttv/www.teachers.tv/videos/ks1-ks2-drama-teaching-drama-a-structured-approach.html [Accessed 22 January 2019]
Woolland, B. (2010). Teaching Primary Drama. Ebooks Corporation.