Diploma of Associate (Teaching): AIBSD (Teaching)

Diploma of Associate (Teaching) Entry Form →

Download a copy of the Diploma Syllabus for 2021-22 →

Many speech and drama students feel that they would like to teach the subject. With drama now included in the primary school curriculum, being provided for in an increasing number of post-primary schools, and with demands from parents for private tuition, opportunities for employment in the field are increasing.

Entry for the Diploma of Associate (Teaching) examination signifies the aspiration of a candidate to become a speech and drama teacher. While the Diploma of Associate (Teaching) is not itself a teaching qualification, it is expected that each candidate intends to gain a teaching qualification in the future, and will have gained some experience in the teaching of speech and drama under the supervision of a qualified teacher.

The Associate Diploma (Teaching) syllabus not only encourages candidates to demonstrate their skills in performance, but also encourages them to develop a thorough knowledge and understanding of key historical and theoretical aspects of speech and drama, providing a foundation for further study.

A high standard of technical ability will be required to pass the practical section of the examination.

Please see our Diploma section for exam dates and closing dates for entries. Examination fees are available here.


To be eligible for entry, a candidate must:

  • be at least 19 years of age
  • have obtained at least a ‘H4’ in English in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination, or equivalent
  • have studied Speech and Drama for at least three years.

Documentary evidence of eligibility MUST be submitted with a candidate’s entry form.


Section One: Practical

  1. Perform from memory a short own choice poem (25%)
  2. Introduce and perform a solo dramatic selection from any play of literary merit, not to exceed three minutes (25%)
  3. Speak from memory a prose selection not to exceed two minutes (25%)
  4. Read at sight a selection chosen by the examiner (10%)
  5. Hold a discussion with the examiner(s) about your speech and drama experience to date, and your future plans (15%)

Section Two: Written Assignment

Each candidate will be required to write an essay of no more than 1500 words on each of four topics out of six supplied by the Irish Board, based on the following:

  • Theory of Speech and Drama, including definitions, meaning and understanding of the importance of modulation (pitch, pause, pace, inflection, tone), diction, volume, phrasing, projection, resonance, vowels, and consonants. Candidates should be familiar with the use of exercises and techniques to enhance voice and speech. Speech faults and how to recognise them. Basic anatomy for voice production. Breathing. Movement (including fundamentals of period movement), gesture, stage directions, stagecraft.
  • Performance, including how to prepare verse, prose and drama for performance. Character study and creation. Speaking Shakespeare.
  • Storytelling, including the purpose and value of storytelling in drama class, different types of stories, methods of storytelling, encouraging and facilitating engagement and participation by pupils in stories, dramatising stories, including the use of tableaux vivantes.
  • Choral Verse Speaking, including the difference between choral speaking and action poems, the purpose and value of choral speaking, benefits to students, choral speaking techniques and exercises, choice of material, effective choral poems, preparation, grouping, conducting, preparing a choir for competition and examination.
  • Mime, including definition, the history and evolution of mime, outline of the work and influence of key Mimes such as Deburau, Decroux, Barrault and Marceau, mime conventions, techniques and exercises, types of mime (occupational, recreational, story, character, abstract, traditional and pantomime blanche), how mime may be introduced to students of different ages and experience.
  • Movement to Music, including definition, choreographing movement to music, introducing it and choreographing it with students. Choice of suitable music.
  • Improvisation, including definition, the history and development of improvisation from the Commedia Dell’Arte to the present day, the use and value of improvisation in working with text and character, how improvisation may be introduced in drama class and how the improvisational skills of students may be developed, themes and methods used in solo, duologue and group improvisations in class, féiseanna and examination work.
  • Public Speaking and Presentation, including the skills and techniques required for effective public speaking, content and structure, oratorical techniques, appropriate styles of delivery for different purposes and sizes of groups and venues, how to introduce public speaking to students, exercises for fluency and confidence.
  • Puppets, including a general knowledge of different types of puppet, how they are made, how they are manipulated, making simple puppets, their use in drama classes, devising and producing simple scenes and puppet plays.
  • Poetry, including an outline knowledge of the main periods of English poetry (Chaucer, 16th and 17th Century, Shakespeare, metaphysical poets, nature poets, Victorian poets, pre-Raphaelites, 20th Century and Modern poetry). Outline knowledge of the history of poetry in Ireland. Candidates are advised to study at least one period of poetry in depth and have an in-depth knowledge of the life and work of at least one poet.

Candidates will be expected to include examples from their own experience in their answers where relevant.

75% in each section of the Diploma examination will be required to pass.

Candidates may attempt each section a maximum of three times.

Candidates must complete all sections of the Diploma of Associate (Teaching) within three years of undertaking their first section.