The Drama Classroom: Action, Reflection, Transformation

By Philip Taylor | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Designing drama curriculum

We are now faced with the problem of how to design curriculum in drama, given the ephemeral and transitory nature of its praxis. As the previous chapters have identified, the spontaneous and improvisational nature of drama praxis makes it difficult to pinpoint in functional quantitative terms what the attainment targets are. It is perhaps not surprising that some educators have tried to fit the dynamic and evolving drama curriculum into an outcome-oriented programme, with the outcomes essentially being those extrinsic skills and attitudes which can be observed and measured, rather the intrinsic changes which happen inside humans when they experience a work of art. The examples of drama praxis given to date (e.g., the wolf drama, the seal-wife, the invaders, and the patriots) are characterised by their exploration of values and attitudes, and how such can be interrogated and transformed. Such praxis does not lend itself easily to numerical attainment.

The last two decades of the twentieth century witnessed incredible curriculum activity in the arena of international arts education. Drama educators formed partnerships with their arts counterparts in dance, media, music and visual art. If the arts were to survive as a curriculum entity in schools, there was a political imperative for the arts to join forces and to present a united front. When designing curriculum in drama, the argument was put that educators need to be conscious of the skills or competencies which the arts present as a generic offering.

The National Coalition of Arts Education Organizations in the US was not alone in its endeavour to lobby for standards in arts

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