When planning what to teach next year and any potential change, it is important to consider the boundaries, limitations and potential scope of what you can do. These may be boundaries that are placed by your circumstances or the situation with Drama in your school. Not all of us live in an ideal world where we can do everything we would want, so it is important that we understand the parameters of what we can do.
Spend some time over each of the questions and write an answer to them somewhere. The chances are that your answers may well end up informing your decisions with regards to future thoughts, agendas, and policies you may develop. The focus of these questions tends to feel quite negative, but what we are establishing are the boundaries and barriers to the amazing and inspiring curriculum that you are going to establish in your school. Not all the questions might be relevant to the context of your school, but it might be important to consider them anyway. These are also questions you might want to return to if there are any significant changes to your school or if you change school.
The cohort of students you teach has an obvious and important contribution to the choice you make of what to teach them. What are the cultural and social backgrounds of your cohort? Do these backgrounds need to be considered? Do these backgrounds affect their attitudes towards school, towards learning or towards the subject of Drama?
The number of staff you have in the department, alongside their backgrounds and knowledge, will have some impact on how you shape your curriculum. Are there any specialists or non-specialist Drama teachers? How much experience, knowledge and understanding of Drama do any non-specialist teachers have? Is there particular expertise that any of the specialist teachers have?
The time constraints on your timetable shapes an awful lot of what you can and cannot teach. What are the time constraints in your school? Do you have Drama on a carousel, seeing the students in short intense bursts during the school year but not seeing them for the rest? Do you see them once a fortnight? Do you see them weekly?
Unless you plan to buy in new equipment, the resources you have in your department will affect your curriculum choices. Make a list of what you have in your department. What kind of stage lighting do you have? What about costumes? Props? How much do you have to pay for photocopying? What access do you have to playtexts? What would you do if you needed a class set of books?
The assessment policies and practices that your school has established and timings for those assessment points also shape what we can and cannot teach. When are your key assessment points in the year? What kind of data does each assessment need? Do you need a summative assessment to take place or can you use continuous assessment?
It is vital any changes to your curriculum must be sustainable for the long-term. The marking that the curriculum generates needs to be kept to an appropriate level too. Are you planning each lesson afresh or are you using and adapting prewritten lesson plans? How much marking are you doing? How much value does this have on the students’ experience and learning of Drama?
The Drama Teacher’s Handbook
This is an extract from the book “The Drama Teacher’s Handbook : A guide to creating and teaching a knowledge rich, practical and comprehensive Drama curriculum”. Order your copy from here.
The book gives you ideas to help you review your curriculum and set about establishing a framework from within which you can begin curating and creating your ideal Drama curriculum. It guides you on how to organise, design and realise a courageous, challenging and coherent Drama curriculum. It is a complete practical handbook for teaching knowledge rich Drama which you will use on a day to day basis.
What is Burt’s Drama?
Burt’s Drama is a website for all Drama teachers. It is a place for inspiration, insight and information on everything to do with Drama. Every week there is a new CPD article posted on the website. New articles either cover Teaching and Learning in Drama or focus on subject content in the Drama Teachers toolkit. Make sure you come back every week, or, even better, sign up to receive new posts direct to you email.
The weekly CPD articles are free and there is no need to hand over your details in order to access them. Ever since Burt’s Drama started in 2008, it has been a pleasure and desire to share knowledge, understanding and expertise in Drama in Education for free. To help maintain that free at point access for all and help keep Burt’s Drama delivering high quality Drama resources to you weekly, please consider donating a cup of coffee to Burt’s Drama.
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