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Publications

Order

 

Order in the Chaos
by Danielle Mackenzie

This new practical resource book by Danielle Mackenzie published by London Drama provides teachers with seven exciting units of work and materials designed for the GCSE Edexcel Drama Examintion, New Specification, helping to organise "Order" in all that potential "Chaos".

Published as a downloadable E-Book.

More info and download here


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London Drama in the Primary and Foundation Years

Primary and Foundation Years

The New Primary Curriculum September 2014

A new school year has begun and the rewritten national curriculum, which the prime minister described as "rigorous, engaging and tough", is now with us. Unless you work in an academy, with the freedom to develop your own curriculum, you will be working through just what this means for your pupils and for your teaching style and beliefs.

Here is a quick synopsis for those teachers of the Primary years who consider Drama an important learning tool for their pupils.

After some previous drafts where the document seemed to have abandoned Speaking and Listening the English curriculum does acknowledge its importance. To quote the document:

“All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.”

When working through the aims of the English curriculum these two bullet points give a rather narrow example of speaking and listening skills.

  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

We begin to wonder if Drama will get any mention but later find the following:

“All pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.”

There is no guidance as to how this might be achieved or which techniques of educational drama might be appropriate for different age ranges. We as Primary teachers with a belief in the effectiveness of Drama as a learning tool will have to find our way through. This does give us the freedom to decide how we will teach and we are told that the government says the new curriculum does not tell teachers "how to teach", but concentrates on "the essential knowledge and skills every child should have" so that teachers "have the freedom to shape the curriculum to their pupils' needs".

In the section titled Spoken Language Years 1 to 6, these bullet points free the teacher keen on drama to use their discretion.

  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Also the mention of pupils having the opportunities to work in groups of different sizes – in pairs, small groups, large groups and as a whole class and having an understanding of how to take turns and when and how to participate constructively in conversations and debates, flags up the use of drama activities.

“Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills,” states the document. That seems to be an invitation to use and promote drama activities not only in English but throughout the Primary Curriculum.

Perhaps we need to meet together and translate what this means to Primary teachers interested in Drama. Here at London Drama we hope to provide a platform in our evening courses for such a discussion. If you have wishes or ideas for courses let us know.

Coming up

Watch this space..

..for news of our upcoming events..


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Organisations

STEP is a borough-wide partnership linking the theatre community and education and youth sector in the London Borough of Southwark. STEP aims to equalise, extend and deepen the theatre and drama experience of all young people living in Southwark through the development of strategic partnerships between schools, youth and community groups and theatres and performing arts organisations. STEP's objective is to work closely with Southwark schools, youth and community groups and theatres and performing arts organisations to develop creative approaches to learning and provide innovative projects which stimulate children and young people's personal development and contribute to their educational attainment.
Find out more here.