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A strong shoulder to rely on

Daunted by the latest government initiatives? Karen Wilson finds a timely publication that will make it all seem possible

With Drama in Mind

By Patrice Baldwin

Network Educational Press pound;24.95

In her recent publication, Drama in Mind, you will find it in bucketfuls.

Want to know how to kick-start the latest government initiatives? Have to pull together all the recent pedagogy and put it into policy and practice? Relax, the rationale and practical application is just a good read away.

This publication is thoughtful and thorough. The historical context is positively drawn and, far from looking back, places drama clearly in the present. The philosophical, theoretical and creative links are awesomely interwoven, making a comprehensive rationale for why we do what we do. The author strongly aligns drama with all the current thinking on brain-based multiple intelligence and accelerated learning, drawing them together coherently and leaving you secure in the knowledge that drama is central, not peripheral, to these theories and initiatives.

This is an inspirational text that sets you on the right track. It highlights a central theme - that any drama interaction between pupils and teachers should have quality. This is exemplified through Patrice Baldwin's blend of discourse and practical examples of drama that clearly outline the level of rigour and status required. She has a refreshing take on her outline of drama strategies, talking us through each one with examples of good practice, ensuring that the quality of provision and understanding of genre is clear and, what's more, manageable.

The supporting illustrations enable you to really hear what pupils have to say about drama and coupled with the inspirational quotes are a must for any drama studio wall.

Patrice Baldwin's strong shoulders provide even more support with the five drama units to support key stages 1-3. These units give immediate gratification for both emergent and established drama teachers, with the bonus of being excellent templates for future planning - a perfect combination.

The photocopiable resource sheets are described as generic. In the spirit of this book they are clearly and helpfully linked to the drama strategies and scenarios outlined. They are straightforward and clever so you don't have to do much more than rush to the photocopier. However, like the drama units, they provide a clear model encouraging you to make up your own.

With recent initiatives placing drama back in the frame, Jonothan Neelands is right when he says in the foreword that this is "a very timely book".

Teachers will, as usual, have to be up and running fast; this publication is reassuring and resonates with knowledge, experience and sound advice.

Make sure you have it under your arm ready for the next time anyone mentions drama.

Karen Wilson is teacher adviser for drama in the Birmingham Advisory and Support Service

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