Upper School Drama Curriculum

This grade 9-12 curriculum was developed, theoretically, for The Haverford School, though it was never implemented during my tenure (I was, after all, the Lower School drama teacher at the time.)  There is no grade-by-grade sequence because, in most schools, Upper School Drama consists mostly of coursework which students may take in any year, although of course some work is sequential in nature.  The goals are arranged not sequentially but logically, by main subject area, with no hierarchical relationship between main headings implied.  It is expected that every lesson taught will address a number of different points on the outline simultaneously.  Where specific skills, activities or subgoals appear more than once, this is because they address more than one main goal.  (This curriculum is really best understood as a three-dimensional web of interrelated skills.)

 

This curriculum was designed to meet the requirements of the Goals 2000 National Standards for Arts Education, which was the standard in place at the time of its creation, but its structure was more closely modeled on the "Essential Elements" of the Texas Theatre Arts Curriculum, which was a well accepted model of a working elementary level dramatic arts curriculum.  At the time, Texas was the only state to mandate drama education in its public schools.  The National Standards focused mainly on performance skills, while the Texas curriculum was much more process-oriented.  The Haverford School curriculum was a balance of the two, meeting the requirements of both but stressing the more developmentally appropriate process-oriented approach.  It will be clear, however, that as the students grow older, the focus shifts more and more towards formal theatre, as students' needs and development change.

 

This curriculum addresses four basic domains of learning:  Psychomotor--developing perceptual and expressive skills and techniques; Cognitive--assimilating knowledge and developing higher order thinking skills; Affective--cultivating positive attitudes towards art and the discipline or are, and about themselves in relation to art; and Aesthetic--deriving pleasure from a combination of senses, emotions, intellect, philosophy, imagination and spirit.

 

This curriculum contains elements which are designated as "advanced."  Ideally, every student ought to learn the material not considered advanced, and the "advanced" elements should be available to those who choose to seriously pursue the Theatre.  In this curriculum "advanced" is not meant to imply anything about the general academic talents of the students--it is assumed that all students are capably of doing "advanced' work.  Rather, the "advanced" curriculum is intended for those who choose to focus on drama.  In the overview and outline, "advanced" elements are printed in red.