The status of drama in education in an Ontario school board
Hundert, Debra A.
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Drama in education has been describea- as a valuable pedagogical medium and methodology, enriching child development in the cognitive, skill, affective, and aesthetic domains, and spanning all areas of curriculum ~ oontent. However, despite its considerable versatility and cost-effectiveness, drama appears to maintain low status within the education system of ontario. This thesis investigated teacher perceptions of both the value and status of drama in education in one ontario school board. Data were gathered in the form of an attitude questionnaire, which was devised for the purpose of this research and administered to a stratified cluster sample of 126 teachers employed in the board's elementary schools. These data were then used to examine teacher perceptions based on their knowledge, attitudes, and self-reported behaviour in the classroom. Teacher characteristics of gender, teaching assignment, years experience, and courses taken in drama were also analyzed as potential determinants of teacher attitudes towards drama in education. Results of the study confirmed apparent discrepancy between teacher perceptions of the value of drama and its current educational status. It was indicated that what teachers value most about drama is its capacity to enhance creativity, social skills, empathy, personal growth, and problem-solving ability among students. Teachers attribute its low status both to school and board priorities of time and resources, and to deficiencies in their knowledge and confidence in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of drama in the classroom. Teacher subgroup analysis revealed no significant differences in attitudes towards the status of drama in education; it did, however, suggest that both teachers who have studied drama and teachers with between ten and twenty years experience are most likely to value drama more highly than their colleagues. Recommendations proposed by the study include the provision of increased - time and resource allotment for drama within the elementary curriculum as well as increased teacher training at both faculty of education and board inservice levels.