Educational drama in the secondary school : an investigation of theory and practice
This study was designed to examine thinking regarding educational drama as reflected in the literature, and to compare agreed areas of importance between writers with the practice of drama in a selection of secondary schools. Instruments were constructed to provide the investigation with an open (or informal) and closed (or formal) strand : the first in the shape of informal observations of drama lessons, and interviews with teachers and a selection of pupils; the second through formal lesson observations, and teacher and pupil questionnaires. The sample consisted of a random selection of 24 schools in the North-East of England which offered drama as a time-tabled subject. A teacher from each school was observed working on two occasions, the first being informally coded and the second formally. All 24 teachers and 536 pupils involved completed a questionnaire; and all teachers and 144 pupils were interviewed. Both informal and formal findings indicated overriding concern with friendly relations and pupil effort in the drama classroom. Interviews suggested pupil concern with movement and talk, but informal and formal observations showed considerable limitations on both, particularly the latter. Concern with reflection was not prominent in the thinking of teachers and pupils, and was almost totally absent from their practice. Formal data further suggested some tendency for teachers with more highly structured lessons to have classes with more positive attitudes to the work. Informal and formal modes were each perceived as offering unique contributions to the investigation of drama. Drama as conceived in the literature and as found in the classroom was markedly different. Whereas writings suggested drama might meet several important educational needs, practice showed little sign of this being so; and while commitment, reflection, individual and social development formed the foundation of drama in the literature, teachers' and pupils' views and actions offered explicit attention only to the last of these four, and in a manner not essentially related to drama itself.