University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Primary School Drama: Enhancing Trainee Teachers' Confidence and Subject Knowledge

Abbott, Pippa (2014) Primary School Drama: Enhancing Trainee Teachers' Confidence and Subject Knowledge. Masters thesis, University of Worcester.

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The new primary national curriculum, due to be implemented in September 2014 (DfE, 2013), includes reference to teaching Drama. However, research has shown that primary teachers lack confidence and subject knowledge in teaching Drama, resulting in a lack of role models and knowledgeable mentors who can support trainees in school. Research has also indicated that trainees lack confidence in teaching Arts subjects (Hennessy et al, 2001) due to a perceived emphasis on performance. In addition, they can demonstrate reluctance to participate in centre-based Drama sessions due to what Wright (1999) identifies as ‘drama anxiety’. Added to these factors is the changing nature of Initial Teacher Education. Fewer institutions deliver courses carrying subject specialisms and on Postgraduate Certificate of Education courses, the number of days which trainees are required to spend in school has increased, leaving less time to focus upon Arts subjects in university modules. The focus on Drama in the primary school varies from school to school. In the current National Curriculum (DfEE, 1999), Drama remains part of the Speaking and Listening Programmes of Study, not a subject in its own right, in spite of its importance within an integrated Arts curriculum (Bloomfield and Childs, 2000). Attempts have been made to ally Drama with the National Curriculum more explicitly by suggesting possible attainment targets and programmes of study (Arts Council, 1992; Ashwell and Gouge, 2003). However, Drama has been seen to be an effective pedagogical tool to be employed in Literacy and across the curriculum (Somers, 1994; Toye and Prendiville, 2000; Winston, 2004; Grainger, 2004).
This study sought to examine trainees’ feelings about, and experiences of, teaching Drama and to consider how their subject knowledge and confidence in this area could be developed both in school and when participating in taught sessions. A qualitative approach was taken, following an action research model. Initial data were gathered in the form of questionnaires and a semi-structured interview. This was then interpreted in order to plan effective Drama sessions. Data were gathered from the sessions through trainees’ reflections, questionnaires and observation. These data were analysed and reflected upon. Findings were consistent with some of the previous research but also provided information about effective ways of engaging trainees in Drama and about motivating factors. Findings also showed that trainees valued creativity as an attribute of effective literacy teaching, which has implications for delivery of future sessions.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information:

A print copy is available on Level 4 at The Hive.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: teaching, drama, primary national curriculum,
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2015 08:05
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:06

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