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Why do kids study drama and why does it get so many hours in the Curriculum

(54 Posts)
AllotmentMum Sun 04-Oct-09 23:55:13

There are lots of things about today's secondary schools that this old grammar school girl doesn't understand. DD's Year 8 timetable is one of them. Can anyone explain to me the point of drama, and why it gets more classroom time that English, maths or science, and more than twice the hours given over to both modern languages combined. Any teachers out there who can bring me up to date?

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 04-Oct-09 23:57:53

Well - drama is the study of dramatic texts, i.e. plays, and how they should be staged/acted/produced. It's a very academic/intellectual subject, in the way that English Literature is.

Not sure about the number of hours/why there is so much time dedicated to it, relative to other subjects.

magentadreamer Mon 05-Oct-09 06:53:14

Is the school a Performing Arts specialist college? My DD gets one lesson a week and would love more. Does your DD still do Music and Art? At my DDs school all 3 subjects are taught by the Arts dept and DD often grumbles about the fact in yr8 they should have been able to drop Music and do more Art or Drama.

bruffin Mon 05-Oct-09 08:09:58

One school I visited had dropped history to once a week in YR 7 for drama. I was a bit schocked and asked why and was told that because some exams now require some sort of presentation that they felt this was the way forward.

2 years ago when DS started his school, a term of drama was included in PSHE. DD has just started yr7 and has one period of Drama in her timetable, but they have dropped doing 2 languages in year 7. They used to have 2 periods a week german and another 2 in French. Now they have 3 periods of French. I am much happier about this as I felt 2 languages was too much to start with.

Racers Mon 05-Oct-09 08:16:50

My Dc only just starting primary so I don't know much but I guess drama can be good for literacy, diction, confidence, empathy, interpretation, analysis etc. Transferable skills?!

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 05-Oct-09 12:41:56

I think Drama is excellent for building self-confidence, presentation skills and teamwork among other things. But more classroom time than English, Maths, Science or MFL? shock Are you sure you haven't accidentally enrolled your DD in the Kids from Fame school?

twirlymum Mon 05-Oct-09 12:46:18

I think it also allows people to see and maybe understand other peoples viewpoints.
If you were asked to play a homeless person for example, it would make you think of all the problems etc they face day to day. Teens wouldn't necessarily put themselves in others shoes.

islandofsodor Mon 05-Oct-09 12:49:45

In a lot of schools drama is taught either two weekly or for one term only.

I would be very surprised if it took more time than the other subjects (and I studied drama to degree level)

I do think that drama should be included in the curriculum as it gives loads of tranferable skills.

roisin Mon 05-Oct-09 17:21:44

How much time? ds1 is at a performing arts college. Lessons are 50 mins each.
Yr7: 4 lessons each Maths, English and Science
3 lessons Languages
2 lessons music, 1 drama, 1 dance

Yr8: 4 lessons each Maths, English and Science
3 lessons languages
1 lesson music, 1 drama, 2 dance

pointydoug Mon 05-Oct-09 17:30:53

More class time than english, maths and science? shock

I'd complain.

And re the dropping of foreign langusges in favour of drama - dumbing down.

Pyrocanthus Mon 05-Oct-09 17:43:19

My DD's school has a performing arts specialism. They get one hour drama, one hour music per week (year 7). GCSE dance is an after-school option from year 9. It does sound as if your DD is at the BRIT School.

bruffin Mon 05-Oct-09 20:41:00

And re the dropping of foreign langusges in favour of drama - dumbing down.

I don't agree

I never agreed with DS doing 2 languages in Yr7. One language is enough in Yr7 unless you have won a place on aptitude for language. I would much rather they concentrate on one language ie doing the 3 lessons rather than 2 lessons on each. Once they have worked out who have the talent for languages ,then those can take another language if they want to , but there was no point in my DS doing 2, it just put him off languages for good. I would much rather DS spending more time on his english (he is dyslexic) or more technology/science as he won his place at school on aptitude for technology.

Much happier with DD is just learning french for now.

I wouldn't have been happy if they had dropped a humanities class for drama as one of our local schools did.

pointydoug Mon 05-Oct-09 22:08:02

oh I see. In yr 7. I didn't read that properly

abouteve Mon 05-Oct-09 22:22:58

DD chose Drama as an option so will be doing it at GSCE level. It is an academic subject at this level, acting isn't her strength and she doesn't have to do alot of it for the subject, the little she does helps with confidence, public speaking etc. Her strenghts lie in her director skills which strengthens leadership and team skills.

It's the study of scripts, plays that is particulary beneficial, she has been to see many plays as part of the syllabus which gives pupils an insite into culture that they may not get in everyday life. I love the theatre but rarely go nowadays and DD does also.

pointydoug Mon 05-Oct-09 22:26:41

Don;t they still study playscripts as part of English?

AllotmentMum Mon 05-Oct-09 23:07:08

Thanks for your replies everyone. It has enabled me to question DD more without her feeling that I am being critical. Islandofsodor - it seems you are correct in that she will change next term and study 3 hours of music and the following term 3 hours of art.

She is currently doing 3 hours per week of drama, and no geog or history, even though the school has a humanities specialism. Most other subjects only have 2 hours per week.

Its an issue for us as DD hates drama and art and feels the time is not well spent. She particularly enjoys lanaguages and would like to concentrate more on them, as she is trying to learn both French & Spanish on only one hour per week each. Almost impossible I would have thought!

Any advice on how I approach the school to express my concerns without seeming over critical? I have had run-ins with the school before, as I seem to agree with so little of what they do, but I am trying to build up a more constructive realtionship with them. I even managed to bite my tongue when DD spent all of last Friday sitting in the school office on call for running errands, missing half of her weekly Maths, French and English lessons. Really not sure what the point of that was!

OnlyWantsOneFartleBerry Mon 05-Oct-09 23:10:04

Have only read the OP - but, I should think that drama being a core subject is really good. It lets students that aren't accedemically talented, or sporty have a release.
Also, improves vision of self, self awareness, expression and cause and effect.

Helps develop thought process and role play.

madlentileater Mon 05-Oct-09 23:14:34

also very good for group skills
speaking and listening

KembleTwins Mon 05-Oct-09 23:16:39

Drama has a great many benefits at KS3. There are the obvious things - confidence, team-work, problem solving, public speaking/performing to an audience, using imagination, learning in a different way to lots of other lessons - many of these are transferable skills which have a knock-on effect in other curriculum areas and are useful in out-of-school situations too. Also, Drama can be a good environment in which to explore trickier issues - in KS3 I have taught schemes of work based on bullying, relationships, drugs, conflict, "Being Me" and so on - students can and do find it easier to explore issues like this if they are able to be someone other than themselves. I really do think it's a great subject for students at KS3, and, if taught well, can be enormously beneficial. Once students get to KS4 and 5, things are more academic - Theatre Studies A Level is just as difficult as A Level Enlish Lit.

Many schools seem to do expressive arts on a "carousel" kind of basis. It seems that's what's going on here.

magentadreamer Mon 05-Oct-09 23:19:46

Is your DD not going to Geog or History at all this year then? shock

bibbitybobbityCAT Mon 05-Oct-09 23:22:45

I did drama A level and a proper full on single honours drama degree at University.

It is an endlessly fascinating subject. Very literary. Fascinating in terms of history. Shakespeare is drama! Have never felt intellectually inferior because my degree was in Drama rather than English.

colditz Mon 05-Oct-09 23:23:31

because everyone wants 'GCSE Showing Off'.

paisleyleaf Mon 05-Oct-09 23:28:05

I guess it depends how it's done
it could cover loads....sociology, history, psychology, english, speaking listening, body language, working together, analysis and so on and so on.

AllotmentMum Mon 05-Oct-09 23:37:07

Magenta - no history or geog at all until Year 9 I think.

From these posts I am begining to get the idea that may be Drama is being used to cover a number of topic areas within humanities as a whole.

I also suspect from what people are saying that maybe because we live in a relatively deprived area with quite a high number of troubled kids the drama is being used to help develop thinking skills, team work and understanding of each other.

Sadly this doesn't suit my shy-ish, undramatic, unartisitic, keen linguist very much! But it really helps to understand the probable thought process behind it.

paisleyleaf Mon 05-Oct-09 23:40:38

sorry hijack - is there an allotment thread I've not yet found Allotmentmum?

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