Trumpeting a role for drama

10th October 1997 at 01:00
The education of the emotions that Dr Goleman is concerned about ("Emotional appeal", TES, September 26) has been practised in schools in this country for more than 40 years - in the guise of educational drama.

The main thrust of the subject has not just been to educate students in theatre, but to equip them with the interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and sensitivities that Dr Goleman values. Isn't that at least a part of the function of all the arts anyway?

I was astounded to note that your summary of how to implement Dr Goleman's ideas made little mention of educational drama, which uses dozens of tried-and-tested methods and strategies for doing precisely what he is calling for (role play is only one, limited approach).

Various people have been trying hard for years now to get the message across, especially abroad, where educational drama is used much less than here, though we all know how difficult it is to get something new introduced to the curriculum. It has evolved into a highly specialised - though not difficult - subject, quite distinct from theatre studies, but with which it retains strong links. Educational drama ideas and methods are frequently used by teachers in other subject areas who wish their students to develop a more affective understanding of the work.

If any teacher or head has ideas about implementing Dr Goleman's ideas, hisher first port of call should be the school drama teacher, the county drama adviser or, failing that, one of the many books on the market which set out simple strategies for the non-specialist.

IAN JOSLIN

Little Croft Moat Hill Totnes Devon

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