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  • Published on: 21st September 2019
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This dissertation aims to explore the views and beliefs regarding the taught transferable skills in the subject Drama and the help and support it teaches within the lesson. It will delve into views and deliberate many drama theorists and those higher, acknowledging the views of those who believe Drama is a model of learning and not a subject of its own, such as Dorothy Heathcote and Gavin Bolton, David Hornbrook, Peter Abbs and Peter Slade and Brian Way. This dissertation will also discuss if Drama still remains a vital influential secondary subject, and help aids children development throughout the school year and in their chosen career path. As the Government and the Arts Council have trouble to recognise drama as a separate subject, the resources and information used from the renowned educators will testify if Drama teaches valid transferable skills for everyday life within the different key stages. The Governments decision to cut funds for the arts and those it will effect in particular, such as those who learn in a cognitive and socio-cognitive way and those who suffer from dyslexia or are visual learners as well as those who enjoy Drama and performing arts as a hobby or personal interest.  Furthermore, this dissertation will draw upon evidence from Drama in education practitioners and their case studies to argue the benefits of the transferable skills learnt in the subject Drama. In company with this, it will reference my own personal case study from teaching Drama in a UK Secondary school based in Birmingham, as it will support the evidence previously established by the specialists. This evidence will be used to establish the case that the course Drama inevitably covers all sorts of valid and valued transferable skills for life; communication, presentation/public speaking, group and leadership skills, problem solving, time management, initiative and the ability to work to a deadline. It will also contain evidence how it can provide support for all students including those with learning disabilities such as Dyslexia and Autism as well as students where English is another language.

The current status of the subject Drama within the National Curriculum is separated into two separate modules, ‘Speaking and Listening’ and ‘Reading and Writing’. In each module understanding, knowledge and skills must all be taught in a detailed level and students are required to show these at a high standard. All students must participate in many drama activities, as well as being taught to use a range of language and actions to explore within a character, showing a range of “emotions and convey many situations, whilst working with others in a construct manner and comment on a drama they have watched or in which they have taken part”  (  Due to how the lesson is taught, being majority practical base in the first 3 years of Key Stage 3, Drama is not a subject in the minds of ministers. The Department for Education (DfE) wrote to the Birmingham Repertory theatre and proclaims, “Ministers of not consider Drama to be core knowledge, as it is more a question of pedagogy”( This is very degrading to the art of Drama as to speculate drama as a “question of pedagogy” questions its ability to teach vital skills to students who all have different learning abilities, whereas, Drama is in fact a subject that can form from a particular powerful pedagogy. For this to happen, Drama must rely on teachers having certain skills, knowledge and consistent understanding of the overall subject, to then give the students the chance to learn Drama as a pedagogy. In the curriculum at the moment, Drama is not a prime subject, it is in fact placed as a part of the English Curriculum and it is soon to be thrown. As Drama is placed with English, many drama educators find it difficult to accept that Drama is an “ancient, multi-sensory, aesthetic and cultural art form” (QUOTE), which shouldn’t be taught without the correct educators and practitioners. For the sake of students who wish to pursue in drama related jobs, or just to take upon the knowledge, drama skills and transferable skills learnt in a lesson, the subject must stand on its own. On the other hand, the lack of acknowledgement from these ministers and understanding, it seems that they don’t necessarily need to have a discussion about the subject with qualified Drama teachers, unless these teachers also or do specialise in a subject that they recognise as important.

Looking at the National Curriculum in Secondary schools, the shaping and developing of such a broad school life, implies a huge active role for the teacher.  Within any lesson a teacher must be able to challenge students perceptions and intentions by asking questions and provide a range of resources which can offer new alternatives to help students who lose focus as well as struggle to understand, like students with learning difficulties. Be as that may, a Drama teacher heightens the students felt experience and it gives them many different and new situations for the students to respond to in certain roles, and for that reason it gives the students insights in not just the world of drama, but in the world outside of the classroom. Many schools have little or no drama at all within their timetabled lesson time for students, in spite of this, the amount of Drama in the schools timetable varies from school to school. In the schools where they lack the input of Drama, they include activities that relate to drama in other ares of the curriculum. In some schools “personal and social education” (QUOTE), has a separate time on the timetable and the teachers use it for dramatic activities. These activities may consist of Role Play. Role play prepares young people on specific situations that they will find themselves in once they leave education or even to continue in higher educations such as interviews or review incidents that may occur.


Dorothy Heathcote regards drama as “The study of how meanings are revealed and made explicit in a moment by moment experience of life”(Heathcote, Johnston and O'Neill, 1984 p. 31).

“Dorothy Heathcote, 1984, says that one of her purposes in drama is to help the pupils understand “what they know, but don’t yet know they know ,” implying that the pupils knowledge is preexistent and that drama is a way of gaining access to it. This view pint derives from the child-centred model of teaching and learning, which has given the drama in education unit, its main philosophical impetus.”

HEATHCOTE AND BOLTON, using issue based drama enables children to explore morality and ethics in more depth “Using drama as a means to explore moral dilemmas can stimulate student sensitivity toward the issues and allow them to reflect critically on what they are witnessing or experiencing through role playing.”

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