The answer is yes. Speech and Drama classes differ to standard acting classes in that they take a holistic approach to performance and public speaking. One speech and drama teacher will vary to the next, of course, but generally it is a rule of thumb that speech and drama focuses on articulation and expression perhaps a better way of describing what was once called elocution.
In the modern day, when you hear the word elocution, you might think of Eliza Doolittle struggling to say the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain. But that stereotype is a little misleading. Elocution is a part of speech training, which helps individualssome with speech impedimentsto overcome their difficulties with enunciation, expression and public speaking. But not all speech and drama classes focus on speech training.
What might you expect from a speech and drama class? There is one key differentiator of speech and drama classes: whether they are individual, private lessons or group drama classes. Private drama classes will often focus on speech training, as mentioned above: on the development of public speaking skills, enunciation, expressiveness and the reading aloud of literary works. This can be useful not only to improve confidence and articulation, but also to develop life skills, which can be used in personal and professional environments. You would be surprised at how often you find yourself having to give a public talk, lecture or speech throughout your life. In fact, the first instances of this are often in the classroom as 6-year-olds, when we are asked to read passages of our workbooks aloud. This can either hinder or enhance an individuals confidence when reading or speaking in public, and it often pays to be trained in this area.
For the latter type of speech and drama classesgroup drama classesthere may be less of an emphasis on speech training, and more focus on acting, characterization and expressiveness; both individually, in the performance of poems and monologues, and as a group, in the playing out of duologues or scenes from playtexts. Classes are often grouped by age bracket or school class or grade, for younger groups. Alternatively, if the speech and drama teacher is a board certified teacher, Speech and Drama Grade Examinations may be offered, where pupils will work towards annual examinations which they will sit under various Boards of Speech and Drama or Acting; depending on the country. This can be an excellent motivator for drama students, and it can add structure and purpose to the classes. Look out for a speech and drama teacher with significant qualifications and experience, who offers grade certification training.