Brief Overview / Detailed Outline

Upper School Curriculum

What follows are a brief overview and a detailed outline of my curricular goals for Upper School Drama at The Haverford School.  (Upper School at Haverford consists of grades 9 through 12.)  There is no grade-by-grade sequence because 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 Upper School curriculum describes our goals for our program, but in some areas does not describe the reality of our current program.  It should be looked at as an ideal to aspire to.  It is my hope that it will help The Haverford School program to grow, but it is included here in the hope that it will help teachers establish programs in Dramatic Arts in other schools.
This curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of the Goals 2000 National Standards for Arts Education, but its structure is more closely modeled on the "Essential Elements" of the Texas Theatre Arts Curriculum, which is a well accepted model of a working elementary level dramatic arts curriculum.  (Texas is the only state that mandates drama education in its public schools.)  The National Standards focus mainly on performance skills, while the Texas curriculum is much more process-oriented.  The Haverford School curriculum is 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.

At the Upper School level, both the Texas and the Federal standards recognize a "standard" or "general" level of proficiency--which is the level of experience all students ought to have--and an "advanced" level.  This curriculum also 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 Haverford School 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.
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