If you already know that drama teaching is a distinct and complex skill, that it is possible to train as a specialist drama teacher, and that some secondary schools have separate drama departments, you may wonder why this book contains a chapter on teaching drama. First, it is the case that The National Curriculum for England: English places considerable emphasis on drama: all English teachers have a legal responsibility both to use practical drama methods in a substantial part of their teaching and to stimulate pupils to create and respond to drama texts. Second, much of the drama teaching which goes beyond these requirements is, in practice, undertaken by teachers who have trained primarily as English specialists. Indeed, many English teachers find that the special opportunities of drama both enrich their professional experience, and allow them to challenge and develop their pupils in ways which are excitingly different from those available to them using other parts of their teaching repertoire. It is important that this book should make you aware of both the responsibility that English teachers have to teach drama, and the opportunities this responsibility gives them. However, this chapter can only be a starting point: the suggestions for further reading at the end of it will point you to a number of important book-length studies which will help you to develop your theoretical and practical knowledge.
The position of drama within English has been strengthened in each of the revisions of the National Curriculum since 1990. In order to meet the requirements for speaking and listening, English teachers must now provide pupils at Key Stages 3 and 4 with the following learning experiences, which, for the first time, in The National Curriculum for England: English (DfEE/QCA, 1999b), are listed under the discrete subheading, Drama.