Training drama teachers: a perspective from England
Kempe, A. J. (2009) Training drama teachers: a perspective from England. In: Teaching Theatre Today 2nd Ed. Palgrave, New York, 221 -240. ISBN 0230619002
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In England, drama is embedded into the National Curriculum as a part of the programmes of study for the subject of English. This means that all children aged between 5 - 16 in state funded schools have an entitlement to be taught some aspects of the subject. While the manifestation of drama in primary schools is diverse, in a great many schools for students aged between 11 – 19, drama and theatre art is taught as a discrete subject in the same way that the visual arts and music are. Students may opt for public examination courses in the subject at ages 16 and 18. In order to satisfy the specifications laid down for such examinations many schools recognise the need for specialist teachers and indeed specialist teaching rooms and equipment. This chapter outlines how drama is taught in secondary schools in England (there being subtle variations in the education systems in the other countries that make up the United Kingdom) and the theories that underpin drama’s place in the curriculum as a subject in its own right and as a vehicle for delivering other aspects of the prescribed curriculum are discussed. The paper goes on to review the way in which drama is taught articulates with the requirements and current initiatives laid down by the government. Given this context, the chapter moves on to explore what specialist subject and pedagogical knowledge secondary school drama teachers need. Furthermore, consideration is made of the tensions that may be seen to exist between the way drama teachers perceive their own identity as subject specialists and the restrictions and demands placed upon them by the education system within which they work. An insight into the backgrounds of those who become drama teachers in England is provided and the reasons for choosing such a career and the expectations and concerns that underpin their training are identified and analysed.
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