Drama can cure teenage grunts

3rd May 1996 at 01:00
James Montgomery's article "Eyes on the language prize" (TESS, April 19), whether knowingly or not, emphasises the need for a reversal in attitudes towards the expressive arts in the curriculum and towards an understanding of their importance in a cross-curricular and "whole of life" style of education.

Ruth Moore, a primary school teacher, points specifically to drama as a means of improving language but it goes far beyond that. Drama is a means of understanding the social and communicational skills of life and of becoming involved in these in a safe learning environment. It is about gathering skills and experience which will serve the pupils, in both their social and professional development, far beyond their school days.

While the skills of all the other subjects in the curriculum are, without doubt, invaluable, they are limited if pupils are unable to successfully communicate or develop them, through discussion, demonstration, debate, eye contact, self and peer evaluation, the "hidden agenda" of the drama lesson.

And yet drama, and the expressive arts in general, remain an under-represented aspect of the timetable in many areas of the country. Is it any wonder then that, without this essential provision of life skills, our teenagers "communicate by grunt". They must be the best but just don't have the skills to show it.

J C PLANT Kildary, Ross-shire.

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