Drama education and the standards-based education movement: impacts and implications within British Columbia




Mimick, Kristin Claudia

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This dissertation outlines an interpretative inquiry that explores the impacts and implications for drama education as part of the standards-based education climate within British Columbia, Canada. It explores relevant literature and theoretical underpinnings, outlines a methodological framework informed by hermeneutic phenomenology as well as traditions from narrative and poetic inquiry, presents findings drawn from participants’ narratives, explores emergent themes, as well as delineates associated implications. Findings of this inquiry suggest that drama education is being impacted by the standards-based education paradigm in several ways including (a) its use as a cross-disciplinary learning medium, (b) concern among participants about decreasing opportunities for its use as a result of perceived pressures to address ‘high priority’ areas such as literacy and numeracy, (c) concern among participants about the quality of drama practice in elementary and middle schools, (d) summative assessment and reporting-related difficulties, (e) shifts in classroom-based assessment perspectives and practices toward more formative and student-involved approaches, as well as (f) a strong interest among participants in greater systematic legitimacy for drama education and its practice. This dissertation also explores how these impacts are fuelled by epistemological tensions manifesting from a lack of coherence between the interests and assumptions that support drama education and those that inform the standards-based education paradigm. In addition, implications for educators and policy makers regarding how such tensions might begin to be alleviated are explored.



drama education, standards, curriculum, study and teaching