19 SES 09 A, Paper Session
This contribution presents a case study carried out during the implementation of a theatrical performance created by Vocational Training students in Secondary Education in Spain for the prevention of gender violence and the promotion of equality. The main objective of the study has been to analyze the creative potential of Applied Theatre as an active methodology for gender awareness. It has been developed using a qualitative approach of case studies and ethnographic techniques such as non-participant observation and extensive interviews.
The concept of applied theatre or Applied Theatre as described by Nicholson (2005), Motos & Ferrandis (2015) and Sedano-Solís (2019) emerged within the broader field of drama studies and practices as a proposal targeted at facilitating the creative expression of audiences and participants in educational, institutional and community settings. In these contexts, theatrical drama becomes a creative and aesthetic resource in its own right (Santos, 2017) by facilitating the visibility and understanding of issues related to social problems, for instance gender violence by stimulating the participants' and audiences imagination. This allows for the possibility of the formación of alternative realities, new narratives and actions related to emancipation and the advocacy of women's rights with the aim of transforming the current situation of oppression.
In the field of education examples have been published around the relationship between theatre,educational processes and the inclusion of dramatized theatre in the curriculum and ,the setting up of learning spaces and practices (Landy & Montgomery, 2012). Particularly interesting are the relationships and opportunities afforded by theatrical role-playing in the implementation of practices focused on dialogue and awareness building. This is illustrated by the research of Villanueva Vargas (2019) who´s work is inspired by Freirean pedagogy and its dialogic methodologies that are targeted at fostering critical thinking through dialogue and discussion. Role-playing activates recognition among students and challenges their own oppressions leading them to explore new spaces for social justice (Denzin, 2018). Also illustrative is Giambrone´s (2016) pedagogical theatrical experience, at addressing the concept of social justice and the actions needed to achieve it.
In relation to the topic of gender in education, the emancipatory processes of women arise from the need to create networks that interconnect the private-personal sphere with the social, cultural or political. In this historical context, , studies like Gallagher & Sahni (2019) show several pedagogical experiences that approach education from a feminist perspective using elements and techniques of drama which can be incorporated into the curricular and methodological literacy procedures. Prendergast & Shenfield (2018) confirm the potential benefits of this artistic expression in students learning experience, both conceptually and in terms of active participation. Incorporating theatrical dramatization at the curricular level nurtures students critical and creative observation of their reality, motivating an imaginative embodied and felt transformation. There are diverse educational experiences based on the incorporation of Applied Theatre as a tool for the prevention of gender violence in formal and non-formal educational settings. These involve both mixed gender and female groups of students to raise the participants’ awareness and apprehension by means of embodied knowledge. An example of this is a study made by Gallagher & Rodricks (2017) in which students learn concepts of race and gender through a theatrical performance. Additionaly, in socio-educational developments such as projects studied by Sales Oliveira, Monteiro & Ferreira (2019), where the focus lies on the empowerment and emancipation of groups of women who have suffered discrimination and inequality. These research contributions are built on pillars of equity, horizontal pedagogical practices, critical dialogue, collaboration and the participation of women and men who struggle for a more just society —one free from the oppressions of a patriarchal and unequal social system.
This research was developed by a qualitative case study approach (Stake, 2005). The principal objective of the study has been the analysis of an educational project in which a theatrical performance was carried out with the aim to prevent gender violence and promote equality creatively. This experience was conducted during the academic year of 2018/19 with students from Vocational Education and Training held at a Secondary School in Spain, more specifically within two Vocational Education Modules, the first being Socio-Cultural and Tourism Animation and the second, Promotion of Gender Equality. The project ran along three different courses from both modules, Social Skills, Prevention of Gender Violence and Youth Information and involved the work of 45 students together with the teachers responsible for the mentioned courses. In conducting the present study a number of tools, procedures and ethnographic techniques based on the studies of Maisuria & Beach (2017) were used in order to produce a dense description of the selected setting whilst ensuring in depth qualitative data analysis: a) Not participant observation: 14 class sessions. b) In-depth interviews with the key informants: teachers and students of Vocational Education and Training, and teachers and students of other secondary schools attending the representations. c) Document analysis: general documents of the Vocational Education and Training programs and modules and evaluation instruments used by the students. Throughout, care has been taken with confidentiality and anonymity of each and every person who participated in the present investigation. The access and conditions of the research were negotiated both with the students and teachers in a face-to-face session. The written authorization of regional educational authorities was also obtained. The design of the dimensions of analysis of this educational-artistic experience have been elaborated following studies conducted in similar educational and social settings. These studies furthermore highlight several key elements in the definition of awareness-raising processes supported by the performance experience: the so-called dialogic education as defined by Villanueva Vargas (2019) in her studies on critical pedagogy; the notion of creative teaching developed by Lin (2011); the training proposal for educators in drama-based pedagogy (Celume et al., 2019); the promotion of creativity through drama-based activities (Toivanen et al., 2016); and the use of applied theatre for empowerment and emancipation purposes (Sales Oliveira, Monteiro & Ferreira, 2019). These studies influence the design of the dimensions of our analysis on the following areas of interest: connective experience with social surroundings, awareness-raising experience and creative experience.
The research on the use of Applied Theatre as an awareness strategy for the prevention of gender violence and the promotion of equality allows us to extract several results related to these issues. In first place, the need to activate processes of educational innovation from a gender perspective and with a critical feminist approach as part of a educational strategy based on embodied, dialogical and reflective pedagogies. The incorporation of Applied Theatre and the implementation of critical thinking processes, as suggested by Denzin (2018), during the theatrical performance helps to visualise, the way in which Vocational Education and Training students can deepen their understanding of gender-related themes. Furthermore, critical thinking around gender violence through the use of theatre promotes an ethical culture making it possible to break away from the culture of silence and the forms of domination exerted on women in diverse areas of their lives (Gallagher & Sahni, 2019). Secondly, the incorporation of horizontal, dialogic and reflective working spaces into the teaching and learning processes through theatre, as already described by Villanueva Vargas (2019), are significant for students when sharing opinions and in generating feelings of pertinence in their learning experience. Additionally, the design and implementation of the theatrical representation promotes collective creation and retroalimentacion that in turn motivate feelings of community generating feelings of security, confidence and of “belonging” (Motos & Ferrandis, 2015). Lastely, the definition and layout of the narrative and acting structure (the outline of the play, its scenes, actions and movements), the role of mediation / orientation provided by the teachers and peers during the creative learning process favours symbolic and aesthetic vision as outlined by Lin (2014). Theatrical dramatization becomes an especially useful tool for experimentation and creative learning (Sales Oliveira, 2014).
Celume, M. P., Besançon, M., & Zenasni, F. (2019). How a dialogic space can impact children’s creativity and mood valence in Drama Pedagogy Training: Study with a French 4th grade sample. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 33, 100576. Denzin, N. K. (2018) Staging resistance: Theatres of the oppressed. In D. Beach, C. Bagley and S. Marquez da Silva (Eds) The Handbook of Ethnography of Education. London and New York: Wiley. Gallagher, K. & Rodricks, D. (2017) Hope despite hopelessness: Race, gender, and the pedagogies of drama/applied theatre as a relational ethic in neoliberal times, Youth Theatre Journal, 31:2, 114-128. Gallagher, K. & Sahni, U. (2019). Performing care: re-imagining gender, personhood, and educational justice, Gender and Education, 31:5, 631-642. Giambrone, A. (2016). Dramatic Encounters: Drama pedagogy and conflict in social justice teaching [PhD Dissertation]. University of Toronto, Retrieved on 10th May 2018 from Tspace, University of Toronto. Website: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/72998 Landy, R. J., & Montgomery, D. T. (2012). Theatre for change: education, social action and therapy. Editorial Palgrave Macmillan. Lin, Y. S. (2014). A third space for dialogues on creative pedagogy: Where hybridity becomes possible, Thinking Skills and Creativity, 13, 43-56. Maisuria, A. & Beach, D. (2017). Ethnography and Education. Oxford Research Encyclopedia. Oxford, Chicago and New York: Oxford University Press. Motos, T. & Ferrandis, D. (2015). Teatro aplicado. Editorial Octaedro. Nicholson, H. (2005). Applied drama: the gift of theatre. Editorial Palgrave Macmillan. Prendergast, M., & Shenfield, R. (2018). From theatre to performance studies: collaborating on curriculum change with secondary level dramatic arts teachers, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 24:2, 118-132. Sales Oliveira, C., Monteiro, A. A., & Ferreira, S. P. (2019). Gender consciousness through applied theatre. Gender consciousness through applied theatre, (1), 77-92. Santos, B. (2017). Teatro del Oprimido. Raíces y Alas: Una teoría de la praxis. Editorial Descontrol. Sedano-Solís, A. S. (2019). El Teatro Aplicado como campo interdisciplinario de investigación en los Estudios Teatrales. Artnodes, 23: 104-113. Stake, R. (2005). Multiple Case Study Analysis. The Guilford Press. Toivanen, T. & Salomaa, R. & Halkilahti, L (2016). Does classroom drama support creative learning? - Viewpoints on the relationship between drama teaching and group creativity. The Journal for Drama in Education, 32 (1), 39-56. Villanueva Vargas, MC. (2019). Opening spaces for Critical Pedagogy through Drama in Education in the Chilean classroom, Trinity College Dublin. School of Education. Website: http://www.tara.tcd.ie/handle/2262/86151.
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