How does Drama enrich the English curriculum?

Whilst Drama does not sit in the National Curriculum as a subject itself, it does form one part of the English strands, and therefore, English at Hatherop integrates Drama – across all ages. In addition to this, our pupils are lucky enough to have many opportunities to perform in the way of plays, productions and clubs. However, with this said, why does Drama weave into life at Hatherop in both a curricula and extra-curricula way?

The answer is to do with pedagogy. Pedagogy is the method of teaching, and specifically, the practice, or the ways in which we teach. At Hatherop, we believe that there are a variety of ways that pupils (and adults) learn, and in order to do a good job of teaching and educating, one needs to consider how content is being delivered, so that each pupil and each type of learner has an equal chance of acquiring the knowledge. This then leads us to the next question: why do we (Hatherop) believe in a pedagogy that is inclusive of Drama?

This answer is multi-faceted. Firstly, Drama is a form of art which has a high degree of thinking involved. Subsequently, it aids the development of skills with a variety of learning both inside and outside of school. Most directly, Drama provides experience. The world of ‘make-it-up’ becomes an experience, and so pupils are challenged to think about what things looks like, what might be said, what reactions take place and what feelings are brought about. This experience helps pupils in their comprehension – for some, ‘doing’ is more powerful than ‘seeing.’

Further to this, this approach is valued because of a number of factors.  The process of ‘doing’ allows pupils to gain confidence to use language, which then benefits them in everything that they do. Their use of language improves their ability to communicate, instilling a recognition and awareness of what they are communicating and who they are communicating to. As a follow on from this, pupils can more easily recognise the art of communication in written text, helping them to analyse plot, character and style within texts.

As well as the above, using Drama in the English classroom has some simple benefits. Most importantly, it breaks the form of teacher-student learning. Drama centres the children. It puts them at the heart of learning, controlling the direction and impact. It allows them to learn inductively. It moves the form from teacher-student to student-student, which some argue is the most powerful way to learn. Undoubtedly though, observations would tell us that Drama brings an enjoyment into the classroom, and often when there is enjoyment, learning is maximised.

Of course, having said all of this, in any classroom it is important to have a balance. In order to cater for all types of learners, a variety of different teaching strategies are taught across the week, but at Hatherop, we believe that Drama is a wonderful tool to enriching our English curriculum.