The past few years have seen many changes to the national curriculum with addition and removal of different educational interventions. Although these changes have been made in order to improve children's attainment in core subjects there seems to be a drastic cut to many other subjects. With falling standards of English and maths and many students leaving school with way below average ability the Government have been focusing their attention to core subjects such as; Maths, English and Science, whilst moving many creative arts subject to the side. This has lead to many professionals debating the effect that this will have on pupils education in the long term. Drama seems to now only exist within schools when extra curricular activities are introduced for example, school plays and drama clubs. This has left many drama teachers with a bad taste in their mouths and arguing that drama can be an important tool in helping children improve their English and literature knowledge and understanding.
Does Drama really help?
When discussing drama and its importance in education, many people think off school plays, Shakespeare or reading off scripts. Not everyone can see the benefits that drama and performing arts can have on education by helping children understand written and spoken English. The Government have been discussing their agenda to raising standards of English literature, so it does seem that they maybe missing a trick by not incorporating drama and English literature together to create a curriculum that incorporates all learning styles. Miles Tandy(2009) discusses how drama can encourage children to use their imagination and broaden their minds when looking at different types of written English. Within her book Creating drama for 4 -7 year olds she argues that children have different learning styles and this is extremely prevalent within English and literacy, some children can read a piece of writing and understand what they have read, other children need more stimulation in order to achieve the same attainment, therefore drama offers a more practical approach. Ted O'Regan (2004) evaluates his 30 years of teaching drama and discusses how the use of drama has influenced children to gain a better appreciation for English and intern improve their written, speaking and language ability. Where some children find it difficult to read and write drama has made a significant impact on their abilities and achievements.
Incorporating the Arts
Whilst many books and articles have been written in order to persuade schools and teachers to use drama in conjunction with English literature there still seems to be a lack of drama tools used in order to establish better learning for all students. So why is it that drama as a resource for English development and improvement is being overlooked. Many educational professionals have stated that government funding cuts to education and the growing workload of teachers has made this difficult if not impossible to introduce and facilitate drama lessons. Due to over worked and underpaid teachers there has become a number of drama coaches starting business that work with schools and provide children with opportunities to discover drama whilst improving on their English and Literacy skills. Schools that have employed Drama coaches to come in once a week to do drama activities that work in conjunction with the national curriculum guidelines have reported a significant improvement with their pupils written, speak and listening skills along with a higher rate of children reading for fun. Could this be Drama and theatre making its way back into education not as its own subject but as a tool in order to achieve better standards of English and literature? The next few years will show how significant drama will be in achieving higher abilities of English and literacy skills, due to the trend of self employed drama teachers and coaches. Lets hope all schools realise that drama can play a vital role in supporting English development and promote equal education to all learning styles and abilities.