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Resilience or resistance? The value of subject knowledge for drama teachers

Kempe, A. J. (2009) Resilience or resistance? The value of subject knowledge for drama teachers. Research in Drama Education, 14 (3). pp. 411-428. ISSN 1356-9783

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13569780903072224


This paper reports on research undertaken by the author into what secondary school drama teachers think they need to possess in terms of subject knowledge in order to operate effectively as subject specialists. ‘Subject knowledge’ is regarded as being multi faceted and the paper reports on how drama teachers prioritise its different aspects. A discussion of what ‘subject knowledge’ may be seen to encompass reveals interesting tensions between aspects of professional knowledge that are prescribed by statutory dictate and local context, and those that are valued by individual teachers and are manifest in their construction of a professional identity. The paper proposes that making judgements that associate propositional and substantive knowledge with traditionally held academic values as ‘bad’ or ‘irrelevant’ to drama education, and what Foucault has coined as ‘subjugated knowledge’ (i.e. local, vernacular, enactive knowledge that eludes inscription) as ‘good’ and more apposite to the work of all those involved in drama education, fails to reflect the complex matrices of values that specialists appear to hold. While the reported research focused on secondary school drama teachers in England, Bourdieu’s conception of field and habitus is invoked to suggest a model which recognises how drama educators more generally may construct a professional identity that necessarily balances personal interests and beliefs with externally imposed demands.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:5700
Uncontrolled Keywords:subject knowledge; professional identity; field; habitus

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