20 SES 11, Art, Self-Study in Drama and Design Criteria to Enhance Socialization
Zeichner (1999) argues for a “new scholarship in teacher education” where such scholarship provides “a deep and critical look at practices and structures in teacher education in order to “contribute to knowledge and understanding for the larger community”. He encourages teachers to “be sensitive to the personal and social complexities of the work”. Self-study research allows teachers to openly ask questions about their teaching methods. It is a research process that permits teachers to choose their own research questions about something that captures their attention in the classroom. The research calls for openness and collaboration as the teacher is sharing his work and ideas with a colleague and students. It is important for the self-study teacher to have a critical friend, a peer, who is supportive, trustworthy and honest, but on the same time critical when analysing the teacher’s work. The role of the critical friend is to ask provocative questions, provided data to be examined through another lens, and offers critique of the teachers work as a friend (Costa & Kallick, 1993).
In this self-study I look through the lens of “The reflective practitioner researcher” with a help from a critical friend. As Philip Taylor (1996) describes the reflective practitioner stance demands a discovery of self, recognition of how one interacts with others, and how others read and are read by this interactions. It is a stance peculiarly neglected by drama and arts education researchers. There is an ongoing reflection in this theory; reflective practitioner researchers are concerned with documenting and understanding the ongoing process. The self is intimately involved and entangled in the inquiry. Donald Schon (1983) describes this as “reflection in action” process, in which a teacher who cannot get a point across and then suddenly hears differently what the students are saying; this is referred to by Schon as “reframing”. Reframing results when teachers respond to puzzles arising from their teaching actions and in the relationship between beliefs and actions. Freire (1998) believed that our capacity to learn is the source of our ability to teach, and that good lessons may help to navigate, but that probing questions enrich our practice. The researcher in this self-study is a teacher educator in drama, which looks into his teaching practices for a better understanding of the teaching methods he uses. The purpose of the research is to learn how drama-teaching methods can be further developed and to find out if the researcher/teacher can strengthen his teaching practice, and to aim for a better understanding of his work as a teacher educator who supervises student teachers when learning drama in education. To be a drama educator means to apply the techniques of drama in education in a way that releases the students and motivates them rather than reifying the theory, by pushing them to look “beyond the traditional notions about the learning-to-teach process” (Hamilton, 2006). The drama teacher is constantly moving between content and context, and must be both inside and outside the work, there is at the same time tension and pleasure and that calls for a deep understanding on how drama in education works. Thus, a critical friend is a helpful assistant through all the research process. In a class of immigrant students a student teacher taught drama supervised by a teacher mentor who was at the same time learning drama methods. The researcher, a teacher educator observed how the drama methods were used in the practice. The research question is: How can reflection help a teacher educator as he supervises student teachers developing their drama teaching methods?
References Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (1993). Through the Lens of a Critical Friend. page 50. Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach. New York: Westview Press. Gallagher, K. (2000). Drama Education in the Lives of Girls. Imagining possibilities. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Hamilton, M.L. (2006). Test driving the auto-: which offers a better fit-auto-biography, auto-ethnography, and auto-logy? In Fitzgerald, L.M., Heston, M.L. and Tidwell, D.L. (Eds). Collaboration and community: Pushing the boundaries through self-study. Proceedings of the sixth international conference on self-study of teacher education practices, Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex, England, July 30- August 3 Cedar Falls, IA: University of Northern Iowa, pp. 113-117. Manley, A. & O’Neill, C. (1997). Dreamseekers: Creative Approaches to the African American Heritage. Portsmouth: Heinemann. Schon, D. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: Basic Books. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research. Techniques and procedures fordeveloping grounded theory (2nd ed.). California: Sage Publications. Taylor, P. (1996). Researching Drama and Arts Education. Paradigms & Possibilities. Great Britain: Falmers Press. Wagner, B.J. (1998). Dorothy Heathcote: Drama as a Learning Medium. London: Hutchinson. Wolcott, H. F. (2005). The art of fieldwork (second edition). Walnut Creek: Altamira Press. Zeichner, K. (1999). The new scholarship in teacher educations. Educational researcher, 289, 4-25.
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