Patrice Baldwin on the need to address professional development in drama.
Drama's status has been raised since September 2000, yet many teachers have had little if any training in the subject.
There is reduced drama in initial teacher training courses, and a lack of in-service training in many LEAs. Highly motivated teachers have accessed INSET through organisations such as National Drama and regional teachers' networks, but the strategic support of the Department for Education and Employment and LEAs is needed to address professional development in drama.
National Drama is working in partnership with the Arts Council of England to produce written guidance for the Teacher Training Agency as it rewrites the ITT curriculum for 2002. An increase in trainee teachers' knowledge of drama might then filter into schools.
Drama provision should be monitored. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has recently discussed ways of doing this within English. The Office for Standards in Education should also surely be required to accommodate this.
Even teachers with drama training claim insufficient time or opportunity to teach it in a literacy and numeracy-focused curriculum. This view fails to acknowledge the power of using drama as a creative crss-curricular medium. Yet the English curriculum requires that: "Teaching should ensure that work in speaking and listening, reading and writing is integrated." This must include drama in literacy teaching.
What a shame the QCA booklet Teaching Speaking and Listening at Key Stages 1 and 2 (1999) was not distributed free to all schools, as it contains a progression for drama which runs parallel to the National Literacy Strategy and can be easily integrated. Since the DFEE's publication of All our Futures - Creativity, Culture and Education, (1999) there has been growing recognition of the need to develop creativity in teaching and learning. As the QCA collects examples of creative approaches no doubt drama will be well represented.
Yes, there is much to feel optimistic about but we are still awaiting the National Arts Strategy! Visit National Drama at www.nationaldrama.co.uk Patrice Baldwin is adviser for the promotion of the arts in schools, Norfolk and National Drama primary officer and Education Advisory Service, 14 Edward Avenue, Eastleigh, Hants SO50 6EG.'Teaching speaking and Listening at KS1amp;2' pound;6, from the QCA, tel: 020 7509 5555'All Our Futures - Creativity, Culture and Education', at the DFEE's publications page, www.dfee.gov.uk