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Introduction: 'I don't know what it is, but it's tickly'

In educational contexts drama should be seen as a subject in its own right at the same time as being a powerful learning medium. Dramatic fiction is the form of fiction with which children are most familiar. Some children may come to school without having ever been read to, but almost all arrive with a wealth of experience of drama on television. We may regret it, but for many children, their vernacular knowledge of drama and dramatic fiction is far greater than of written forms – even if it is largely uncritical. Given that drama, in one form or another, is such an important part of children’s lives, it is part of the drama teacher’s job to create opportunities which enable them to manipulate the form for themselves, thereby understanding it better.