Daisy's diary: issues surrounding teaching history through drama
Kempe, A. (2011) Daisy's diary: issues surrounding teaching history through drama. Drama Research, 2 (1). Article 2. ISSN 2040-2228
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In what Williams (1975) described as a dramatised world, a great deal of children’s historical knowledge is acquired through dramatised versions of historical events. As the characters who actually took part in historical events become the dramatis personae of re-enacted accounts, their stories are edited not only to meet dramatic necessities but the social, psychological and cultural needs of both storytellers and audience. The process of popularising history in this way thus becomes as much about the effects of events on people as the events themselves, so mirroring debates within history education regarding the teaching of ‘facts’ and the development of empathy. In this article, Andy Kempe explores how stories of evacuees and other ‘war children’ have been dramatised in traditional playscripts and through structured ‘process dramas’ in schools in the British Isles. It argues that drama and history as curriculum subjects may find common ground, and indeed complement each other, in the development of a critical literacy concerned not so much with either fact or empathy as with interrogating both why and how stories are told.
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