Secret Teacher: Issue 91

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Drama education community has a problem –we're not a community...

...There is a whole group of organisations who are trying to help, ‘fix’ things and support Drama teachers: NADT, ND, Drama Matters, Fresh Drama, NISDA, STSD, LD – a whole alphabet soup of acronyms. Who can keep up with them all? We are one of the smallest subjects, often under threat. We have all these groups ‘representing’ us – why is it so fractured? Why can't they merge? It weakens us. How do major stakeholders know which organisation to go to for representation of our subject when there are so many? It leads to misunderstanding and miscommunication.

This does our subject no favours. We're in danger of conforming to the ‘stereotypical’ Drama teacher. Why do we lack strategic approach, overreact to media coverage, have autopilot reactions on social media? I think some teachers behave in this reactive rather than proactive way because of working in small departments, no team to share the load, no delegation to monitor developments…and so we go online and panic! Organisations and groups then see the panic and individually rush to offer support that isn't joined up and is very similar, or costs to access and precludes some. We need organisations that are strategic, well informed on Drama education, the theatre industry, the examination and regulatory landscape.

I'd like to draw your attention to Open Drama UK. It isn't a subject association, it's a vibrant networking platform for teachers, practitioners and industry experts to advance, improve and benefit young people. Their mailing list grows daily and they have their finger on the pulse. During lockdown they've run webinars, produced regular newsletters, shared resources to support all, their social media coverage is prolific, and they have national coverage because of their strategic network structure – no matter where you live/teach in England or Wales you will have a regional and/or county champion to support you.

To access their network, resources and online CPD you just need to sign up to their mailing list (it's free!) and their mail-outs are a gift, the content, the links and the information is like a CPD event in itself. We have to get on board and engage to keep the voice of Drama teachers and theatre educators truly inclusive and united - they are currently driving something incredible and I'm so pleased this exists for us to access and benefit from. If you feel you want something for your area or there is something you want support with, then reach out and ask them: don't go it alone and start something from scratch, utilise and strengthen what is already there! Let's just hope they continue to deliver and don't fade away like many good intentioned attempts before them.


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