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Year 9 options - drama or second language?

(32 Posts)
clary Thu 22-Jan-15 00:29:19

DD is bright and able. She has always enjoyed being in plays and singing on stage but never talked much about drama lessons at school.

Until recently she was all up for picking up a second language at GCSE (she would cope no problem academically). But now she is saying she wants to do drama. I am wary on two counts (or maybe three - hmm yes, three!)

1) will it be full of muppets picking what they think is an easy option, and will she like group work with a bunch of peeps she doesn't know or like much (she can be solitary tho she has a nice small group of pals)

2) will it look a bit duff on her future UCAS form (other choices are French, music, geography)

3) I am a bit sad as a teacher of MFL and (kind of) triple linguist that none of my DC will even be dual linguists (DS1 is in yr 11 and DS2 is stuck on PE so won't fit in 2 languages I doubt). That's my issue, I do see, but I am a bit concerned that she is shutting a door - if you are going to use languages meaningfully (she wants to do A level French) surely 2 is better than 1?? Could she take up drama at A level without the GCSe or is that potty?

Thanks for reading my essay!

ChippingInLatteLover Thu 22-Jan-15 00:32:52

Second language.

She can do an out of school drama course if she wants to.

It wouldn't be negotiable in your DD 's situation.

saintlyjimjams Thu 22-Jan-15 08:49:51

What does she want to do afterwards & what are her compulsory subjects?

If she has 'enough' academic subjects it won't make much difference at GCSE - although might affect A level choices (if there's any chance she'll want to do two languages at A level).

Is she not that bothered/really keen for drama/anti languages. Ds2 is choosing options at the moment & I haven't dictated anything. I told him the different pros & cons of different choices & we looked at entry requirements for potential future universities & schools & he's made a very sensible selection I think.

Fwiw he is doing drama (he wants to go to drama school) and is a little worried about it being full of muppets looking for an easy option & is a bit worried about the group work in case it's with people who aren't interested (although he's year 8 so will be taking the new course do some of that might change I guess) But he's weighed it all up. He has plenty of academic subjects as well. If he wanted to go and become a doctor or afterwards or aim
for Oxford or Cambridge I might have given him a different set of pros & cons - but he knows what he wants to do & his fallback options (drama teacher!) & so it's fine.

All depends on the child & what they want to do. Unless she might want to do several languages at A level, and presuming she has a good set of academic subjects as well I'd let her choose - even if you try & gently steer her towards the language (fwiw I tried to steer ds2 towards Latin for his 3rd option but he was having none of it and has gone for RS - which will probably suit him tbh - and I felt he would do better sat in a room he wanted to be in - and an interested A*/A in RS would be better than a nagged B in Latin - if that makes sense.)

saintlyjimjams Thu 22-Jan-15 08:53:04

Or actually a 9/8 in RS versus a ?? nagged 5 (???) in Latin. Blimey I'll need to work out what the new grades mean! Anyway I felt he'd do better with his choices than mine - if that makes sense. And he is aware how his different choices are seen & which doors they shut (or at least make harder).

senua Thu 22-Jan-15 09:12:59

It's a difficult decision. With French, Music and Geog then she has all her bases covered and has the EBacc so the last choice doesn't really matter much.

She already has one expressive art, so does she need another?
There again, it's all about self-promotion and branding these days so learning some drama skills may be a good thing (that's my issue: I have to do a presentation next week and I am dreading it, wish I had done more of this sort of thing at school.)
What other A Levels does she want to do?
It needn't be 'shutting the door'. You can do some languages ab initio eg friend's DC is doing joint degree in French and Russian.
Just as someone has said that she can do drama out of school, she could equally do another language out of school seeing who her mum is!

I think my answer is: don't know, does it matter.
Not very helpful, really. Sorry.blush

saintlyjimjams Thu 22-Jan-15 09:25:41

Actually that's the question isn't it. 'Does it matter?' That's how we approached options with ds2.

Ds3 has very different plans than ds2 (archaeologist at the moment - that might change but he's a history obsessive & into academics so could see him doing something of that ilk) and needs to keep different options/doors open. My advice to him will be VERY different to ds2.

Start with where she wants to end up (whether you know the subject or the 'type' of institution - eg Oxbridge/RG university/any old university/apprenticeship/whatever - then work out whether it matters & advise accordingly.

Maddaddam Thu 22-Jan-15 10:44:05

I would let her choose, if she's already going to do one MFL. I'd personally choose languages over drama any day but it's not going to hamper her future chances, really, and they can always learn another language later - I did two MFL at school and a third in my 20s, lots of people learn more languages as adults.

My yr9 dd is torn between triple science and double sci + Resistant Materials. She's very academic and obviously RM (basically metalwork) is not required entry for competitive university courses. But she loves it, and is good at it, and it is a creative outlet for her. Initially I was saying "obviously you should do triple sci" but now I'm just letting her decide.

motherinferior Thu 22-Jan-15 10:51:44

Hello my lovely - v similar situation here, but DD1 is doing Latin and wants to drop French! She is also doing art (school has cunningly fast-tracked a group of them on it) and I too have been riven with muppet-worry.

However, I am inclined to say yes to the drama in DD1's case. It seems to have a fairly rigorous academic course content. And DD1 is very committed to serious theatre - she is involved with the local youth theatre, is doing a 'writing and devising' course next term, has done the bronze and is due to do the silver arts awards - and all off her own bat.

Do email me if you want to grin

motherinferior Thu 22-Jan-15 10:54:26

Oh and I have no idea where DD1 will end up. She's a bright young woman and I'd expect her to go to university yadda yadda yadda. But no clue about her final direction. She's not quite 14* and I don't particularly want her to.

*just call me Lady Capulet...

Maddaddam Thu 22-Jan-15 11:00:11

btw my niece did just one MFL - German at GCSE, is doing German at A level and has applied for German and Russian at university (and is getting offers from nice, mumsnet-approved Russell Group unis). I think her enthusiasm for languages developed since she started the GCSEs.

I wonder if it's more common now to have just one MFL so the universities are more accepting of it?

motherinferior Thu 22-Jan-15 11:15:07

Oh yes, my main worry is that DD1's Latin will rule her out of some places (UCL wants a MFL, for instance). You only need one MFL.

I realise I am swayed by DD1's complete drama-commitment.

TeenAndTween Thu 22-Jan-15 11:28:32

DD1 is in y11 and doing both drama and 2 MFLs.

2 MFLs. She has coped well with this. Occasionally she gets muddled up and throws in words of the 'wrong' language into her writing or speaking, but not too much. Under current system of controlled assessments there have been times when she seems to have been non-stop learning something for the MFLs, but luckily they at least have never clashed as the teacher ensures they don't.

Drama. The kids don't seem to muck about, and seem reasonably keen. There has been limited homework (which I think has been a problem as the write ups for the CAs were the first write ups she had ever done). This has been good for DD as another subject with HW would probably have overloaded her. However she has had problems with team-working with people she doesn't know or like much and that is a factor to consider. She hasn't enjoyed drama nearly as much as she thought she would. She has been struggling with it and I'm still not entirely sure why. The 'promise' she showed in primary seems to have faded away. Would suggest she makes she understands what the lessons will be like and how it will be assessed or examined.

TeenAndTween Thu 22-Jan-15 11:28:45

DD1 is in y11 and doing both drama and 2 MFLs.

2 MFLs. She has coped well with this. Occasionally she gets muddled up and throws in words of the 'wrong' language into her writing or speaking, but not too much. Under current system of controlled assessments there have been times when she seems to have been non-stop learning something for the MFLs, but luckily they at least have never clashed as the teacher ensures they don't.

Drama. The kids don't seem to muck about, and seem reasonably keen. There has been limited homework (which I think has been a problem as the write ups for the CAs were the first write ups she had ever done). This has been good for DD as another subject with HW would probably have overloaded her. However she has had problems with team-working with people she doesn't know or like much and that is a factor to consider. She hasn't enjoyed drama nearly as much as she thought she would. She has been struggling with it and I'm still not entirely sure why. The 'promise' she showed in primary seems to have faded away. Would suggest she makes she understands what the lessons will be like and how it will be assessed or examined.

Greenrememberedhills Thu 22-Jan-15 11:44:43

My older daughter, who is very academic, did drama at GCSE and I'm delighted she did. It developed a side of her which was different to the academic side, and I think that was good for her. If your daughter can be a bit solitary, even more so.

I'm not convinced that drama is for duffers, either.

NiamhNext Thu 22-Jan-15 11:44:56

If it were my DC, as long as she's doing one mfl (sounds as if she must be doing French at GCSE) then that is OK and up to her. One of DC's friends is bilingual, did the GCSE in Y9, and won't be doing any languages for upcoming GCSE or for A level. Her choice.

However because you are multilingual, it really depends on your situation. If you have friends and relatives in a third country and visit somewhere your DD could be talking to people she knows in a third language, that is a good reason to persuade her. For business use and potential future job it would be up to her.

I recently met a family where the dad is Dutch (fluent in Dutch, French and English, has some Gernan) the Mum is Swiss (fluent in English, French and German with some Dutch) they moved to a German speaking country when the children were young, the children went to and English speaking International school and they are fluent in English and German. The family converse in English because it is the only language they are all fluent in! There are a surprising number of families like this.

trulymadlydeeply Thu 22-Jan-15 11:53:31

Drama is not for duffers (speaking as a drama teacher grin).

As long as she is doing some facilitating subjects which she could pursue at A Level, she will be fine for uni.
Drama has loads of transferable skills which are increasingy recognised at both uni level and by employers as being valuable and necessary: project management, creativity, ability to speak confidently in front of others, team work ... I could go on ...

Does she have a preference? Can you let her decide as, at GCSE, it's just a way of opening the door to further education, it's not life defining.

MoonandSixpence Thu 22-Jan-15 13:40:27

My son's taking drama GCSE - sitting 10 others, just one MFL. He's 16, so on the home straight now.

He's found it really challenging - definitely not a soft option! He feels it's far easier to achieve top grades in other subjects, actually. The amount of work he's put in for drama - composing monologues, deconstructing performances, directing, rehearsing, etc. - probably exceeds a lot of other subjects.

But he's had great fun and acquired all sorts of transferable skills - confidence, the ability to work in a team and above all, negotiation!

He's planning on studying law at uni, by the way - but I was happy for him to choose drama as his wildcard GCSE. smile

AtiaoftheJulii Thu 22-Jan-15 15:59:18

Dd did drama GCSE and AS and has just got an offer from Oxford, just to reassure saintly wink

Obviously in drama there is the practical performance side, but there's also a lot of Eng Lit style analysis to be done and essays to be written.

It looks like your dd has a broad, balanced set of choices, so I would leave this last one up to her. My only hesitation would be that it seems like a last minute change of mind - I suppose I'd want to be sure that it wasn't just a whim that she'll regret.

(Dd1 did have a last minute change from geography to RS, and it was definitely a good decision!)

Essexmum69 Thu 22-Jan-15 16:48:25

Have you actually got her options form yet? Many schools put music and drama in the same box so only allowing one.
Also check the extra curricular requirements of music and drama. At both of my DCs secondary schools gcse music requires membership of appropriate music groups: orchestra,choir, guitar groups etc. Unless your DD is going to use voice as her instrument for gcse music she may find her opportunities on stage are limited by her orchestral commitments. You cannot have a leading part in eg Les Mis if you are stuck in the orchestra pit with your violin!

saintlyjimjams Thu 22-Jan-15 16:53:00

God Oxford would be a terrible choice for ds2!! Went there myself, & it really isn't for someone who moans if he has to write a sentence grin He most definitely has his sights set on drama school (which is ludicrously competitive) but doesn't actually require much - it was more making sure he has sufficient for university as a fall back option.

His form went in today. Year 8 seems young to choose to me, but he's just delighted he can give up DT & art!

Primaryteach87 Thu 22-Jan-15 16:56:42

Would strongly advise you let her do drama. Even though I dropped it after GCSE and haven't used it 'officially' it was great fun and a bit of relief after all the academic work I was doing in others subjects. It honestly will not make the blindest bit of difference to University (presuming she has a good set of other GCSEs).

GirlsTimesThree Thu 22-Jan-15 18:42:49

My DD did drama (and German) at GCSE, picked up Spanish for A level and is now at UCL doing German and Russian.
Just doing one MFL at GCSE didn't close any doors for her and, as others have said, gave her another interest. Lots of analysis of plays, visits to theatres for different performances she otherwise wouldn't have seen etc. I think she found it useful as well as enjoyable.

TheGonnagle Thu 22-Jan-15 18:47:05

If she wants to do Drama then I'd let her. She has everything covered in her other options and it will develop a lot of very useful skills that help smooth the way through life. It's what she want to do and they're her options at the end of the day, not yours.

LIZS Thu 22-Jan-15 18:48:39

Dd is intending to do 2 mfl plus drama. Would do 3 if it could be timetabled in and may still do so outside school. She wants to do mfl at uni.

BackforGood Thu 22-Jan-15 20:11:57

I said 'yes' to my dd doing drama (as it happens she is also doing 2 lang), working on the principle she had enough "sound" academic subjects and she should be allowed a say.
She's 18months in now (Yr11) and really regrets it, as the majority of the group are there because they thought it would be a laugh / easy option. Don't forget, in drama, a lot of the work has to be done in groups, so she can't just ignore and do the 'right' thing - it effects those who want to take it seriously, a LOT.

So my (retrospective) advice would be to persuade her to do some drama out of school, and stick with the lang if you are confident she can do well with that.

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