Drama in teaching and learning language and literacy

Authored by: Franks Anton

The Routledge International Handbook of English, Language and Literacy Teaching

Print publication date:  February  2010
Online publication date:  February  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415469036
eBook ISBN: 9780203863091
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183141


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The range and scope of what comes under the label of drama in different phases of education is wide. So, the first task in this chapter on the teaching and learning of drama in relation to the teaching of English language, literature and literacy is to give some general definition of drama as a learning activity and then to look at the pedagogic practices of doing drama in school. At its broadest level, drama can be defined as the imagined, embodied and active semiotic representation of social relations located in time and place. Drama requires the involvement of the whole person – the active and integrated engagement of mind and body, involving imagination, intellect, emotion and physical action. Another significant feature of learning in drama is the adoption and playing out of role. English studies, and language arts, particularly at secondary level and beyond, encompass the study of dramatic literature including the study of Shakespeare. Although practical workshop approaches to studying Shakespeare (see Ch. 32, this volume) are more common in contemporary classrooms, the prevailing tendency is towards more ‘academic’ approaches to textual analysis. Nonetheless, notions of physical enactment and active participation are central to an examination of drama and its role in teaching and learning English.

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