Historically, drama, and indeed all areas of the arts, have been seen to make an unimportant contribution to society as a whole. As recently as the mid to late 20th century, the arts were seen as a luxury, and a purely leisure exercise or hobby, with only gifted children having access to classically defined art forms such as music or art. This ideology still exists in some form today, although the arts are beginning to be recognised as an integral part of our everyday and working lives. Many drama practitioners and educators consider the arts to be a growing power within the economy, and that drama has benefits to society, culture, and a person’s inner development. These benefits have shaped the incorporation and delivery of drama
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Drama in particular helps enhance students’ ability to work socially in groups, and through a dynamic aesthetic experience develops their emotional and cognitive processes of their individual self. “Students develop an enhanced understanding of themselves as members of cultures and societies with pasts, presents and futures to which they can contribute” (The Arts years 1-10 Syllabus 2002, p3) The Queensland studies Authority provides teachers with the Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Framework to help shape their program content. This framework utilizes a system called Essential Learning, which is a set of knowledge, skills and capabilities that students are expected to have attained at various points through their education. These Essential Learnings provide the basis of core curriculum development in every key learning area in Queensland Schools (Clark-Fookes, 2010).
Drama educators are encouraged to make their content aesthetically engaging, as this supports maximum development of the learner. Penny Bundy, an educator from Griffith University in Brisbane suggests that when participants experience an aesthetic response, the optimal outcome is that they have a shift in their view of the world and their place within it (Bundy 2003,