Risking Heuristics: Towards a classification of key features of Mantle of the Expert through the metaphor of the korowai

This paper was originally presented at National Drama’s Heathcote Reconsidered conference, Greenwich, 2013. It is an attempt to contribute to the understanding of Heathcote’s cross curricula system, Mantle of the Expert, using a metaphor emerging from the cultural traditions of Aotearoa New Zealand. The paper begins with a brief outline of Heathcote’s influence in New Zealand and a justification of heuristics, or ‘rules of thumb’ as means to understand complex phenomena such as teaching in Mantle of the Expert. Next the paper goes on to offer one such heuristic in the form of a weaving metaphor. Specifically, the author suggests that the teacher weaving a Mantle of the Expert experience can be viewed as akin to the weaver who sets about to create a korowai, or ceremonial cloak in the Maori tradition. The korowai is an item of ceremonial dress from the Maori culture, traditionally gifted to leaders: ‘the korowai is regarded as a taonga tuku iko – a treasure handed down from generation to generation’ (Ministry of Education: Tu Rangatira, p.12). Woven over many hours, from flax or other natural materials and using feathers and fur patterning, the korowai represents the wearer’s cultural identity and their sense of mana (pride, knowledge and status) within it. Drawing on the language and values of korowai weaving, the author presents Mantle of the Expert as having underlying philosophies (tikanga), core elements (whenu) and a whole set of interwoven signature pedagogies (aho). The question of patterning, hemming and originality of design are all considered using the same metaphor. The limitations and constraints of the metaphor are discussed. Finally, the paper concludes by defending the cultural specificity of this heuristic metaphor as a means to situate Heathcote’s work in a bicultural New Zealand context.
Editor’s Note:
We regret that the CMS for this publication has not admitted the diacritical marks in some Maori words. We have preserved them in the final poem by recreating the verse as an image. They appear as they should do throughout the text in the PDF version of the article.

Viv Aitken

Third Inquiries: towards the mobilization of form and place

This communication identifies and discusses aesthetic and pedagogical issues of an experience with the third fragment of Brecht’s learning play “The Baden-Baden Lesson on Consent”. The (re)construction of this fragment, by seven groups of three to six students answered to the challenges posed by its call for an “Investigation into whether humans help their kind”. Heathcote’s Frame Distancing and Layers of Meaning were introduced as a way for both reassuring and counterposing the groups’ alternatives to respond to this challenge. The experience made way to focus the appropriation of this fragment via mobilization of form and place – the students played with irony to highlight the contradictions of social order implicit in the seven interpretations of the third inquiry.

Beatriz Cabral

Revisiting Heathcote’s Rolling Role model through the Water Reckoning project: pre-texts, dramatic materials and digital mediation

Dorothy Heathcote’s work was centred on using drama to make learning meaningful and focused on things that ‘matter’. She developed models and approaches that encouraged teachers to structure purposeful and relevant learning experiences through careful planning, framing, enactment and reflection. One such strategy was that of Rolling Role. This model is less well known than others but Heathcote herself believed that it had great potential to be utilized through something like a website. The Water Reckoning project was therefore initiated to revisit and reconceptualise the Rolling Role model in the lead up to the Heathcote Reconsidered conference. The project aimed to explore the potential of Rolling Role for international collaboration using digital platforms. The resulting project involved five different student groups, their teachers and researchers responding to a common pre-text. This paper will focus mainly on the development of the dramatic context, pre-text and decisions regarding the use of digital technologies. It will identify key factors and considerations for planning and working with the Rolling Role.
Keywords: process drama, rolling role, applied theatre, digital technologies, pedagogy

Susan Davis and Polyxeni Simou

Exploring distancing in the work of Dorothy Heathcote: Estrangement as poetic distortion

This article introduces the reader to a range of terms that have historically been applied to the notion of distancing, which in the author’s view was a major component of Heathcote`s work. These terms have emerged from various artistic and theoretical positions, particularly in Romanticism and Modernism. They include estrangement, ostranenie, Verfremdung, Entfremdung, and apostasiopoiesis. Across the literature they have at times become tangled and misunderstood, resulting in unfortunate and confusing applications. To support a clearer understanding of distancing within Heathcote’s work, a historical survey of these terms is first offered. The article then moves on to consider Heathcote’s own thoughts about distance creation and especially estrangement and distortion. It concludes by suggesting the term poetic distortion as an appropriate way of describing her approach.

Stig A. Eriksson

Heathcote’s Practice-led Teaching: Pioneering Research as well as Pioneering Pedagogy

It is widely recognized that Dorothy Heathcote was a dynamic and radical teacher who transformed and continually reinvented drama teaching. She did this by allowing her emerging thinking and understandings to flow from, and be tested by, regular and intensive ‘practicing’ in the classroom. In this way theoretical claims were grounded and evidenced in authentic classroom practice. And yet, for all her impact, it is rare to hear the claim that Heathcote’s pedagogic breakthroughs resulted from a legitimate research methodology. Clever and charismatic teaching yes; research no. One of the world’s best teachers certainly, but not a researcher; even though every lesson was experimental and every classroom was a site for discovery.
This paper investigates that conundrum firstly by acknowledging that Heathcote’s practice-led teaching approach to discovery did not map comfortably on to the established educational research traditions of the day. It argues that traditional research methodologies, with their well-established protocols and methods, could not understand or embrace a research process which does its work by creating ‘fictional realities’ of openness, allegory and uncertainty.
In recent years however it can be seen that Heathcote’s practice led-teaching, so essential for advancing the field, closely aligns with what many contemporary researchers are now calling practice-led research or practice as research or, in many Nordic countries, artistic research. A form of performative research, practice-led research has not emerged from the field of education but rather from the creative arts. Seeking to develop ways of researching creative practice which is deeply sympathetic and respectful of that practice, artist-researchers have developed practice-led research “which is initiated in practice, where questions, problems, challenges are identified and formed by the needs of practice and practitioners” (Grey, 1996). This sits comfortably with Heathcote’s classroom priority of “discovering by trial, error and testing; using available materials with respect for their nature, and being guided by this appreciation of their potential” (Heathcote, 1967).
The paper will conclude by testing the dynamics of Heathcote’s practice-led teaching against the six conditions of practice-led research (Haseman&Mafe, 2011), a testing which will allow for a re-interpretation and re-housing of Dorothy Heathcote’s classroom-based teaching methodology as a form of performative research in its own right.

Brad Haseman

Into the sea of imagination: re-considering role and collaboration in the Sydney Water Reckoning Drama Project

This paper reports on the exciting Sydney study within the ground-breaking international rolling role project, which re-considered Heathcote’s rolling role strategy in a twenty-first century, web-based learning context. Using digital pretexts, notions of water sustainability and co-operation were considered through drama. The Sydney site comprised a secondary drama class and their teacher in an urban high school, working on a three-month drama program with three academic teacher/researchers. This paper analyses the drama program by examining the way teacher/researcher roles were renegotiated within this multi-dimensional drama project, working across drama classrooms and online collaborative platforms. It was found that teacher/researchers operated as curators of the drama learning experience and as role players and actors at key moments throughout the process drama as it rolled out across the multiple international sites. The study emphasises the importance of collaboration as scholarly activity and professional learning. Importantly it illustrates how the teacher/researchers, teacher and students were engaged imaginatively and critically in a new dynamic learning process, involving a reconceptualisation and reconsideration of Heathcote’s legacy in the digital age.
Keywords: drama education; Dorothy Heathcote; rolling role; teacher-in-role; process drama; practitioner research; digital technologies, sustainability

Christine Hatton, Mary Mooney and Jennifer Nicholls

Stepping into Eternity: the experience of time in the drama of Dorothy Heathcote

As human individuals we live our lives within several embedding systems in Time, so that we are always dealing with multiple temporal conceptions. A general classification of these time frames might include the Abstract, Cultural, Geological, Biological, Organizational and Transactional, and suggests that people will either attempt to bring these various time frames into some sort of harmony or segregate them in order to live different parts of their lives in relation to different time conceptions. In view of this then, as art practitioners the ways in which we routinely shift the dramatic action into alternative time frames in drama no longer appears to be so remarkable or strange. But how has this facility evolved? And how can new teachers of drama be assisted in identifying different conventions of time for use in the development of their own dramatic experiences in classrooms?
Without going into great detail, Jonothan Neelands and Tony Goode outline the relationships of time in theatre and drama in the following observation:
In literary forms, narrative sometimes follows a natural sequence of time where one event follows another chronologically, but it can also use conventions that fracture and distort a natural sequence – flash backs/forwards; letters; third person commentary, etc. In theatre the same is true: time either unfolds at life-rate or is taken to be a completely elastic material that can be stopped, accelerated and replayed through the use of conventions.
(1990, 2000: 95)
Dorothy Heathcote writing with Gavin Bolton (1999) presents an outline to five or six broad experiences of time in drama:
a) The past recalled as narrative
b) Present actions mixed with asides in the past tense
c) The use of the present tense in a narrative accompanying virtual actions
d) ‘Now’ time
e) ‘Now time’ with implied ‘demonstration’
f) ‘Real’ time
But Heathcote’s practice often seems to have extended far beyond these simple guidelines. In developing process drama experiences with teachers, while there is rarely a problem negotiating groups or individuals into accepting and entering fully into a particular time frame whenever it is introduced into a drama activity, the challenge lies in getting teachers to initiate such shifts in the time frame into their own work. This seems especially true of those teachers who, perhaps out of a need for safety, appear to cling doggedly to the sequential, naturalistic tradition in their drama work, and show great reluctance to liberate them-selves from it.
This paper attempts to build on Heathcote’s demonstration of shifting Time frames in her own practice. But, in the hope that they may be of some use to new teachers of drama, it also offers for further consideration a compilation of fifty alternative Time frames identified and collated from the author’s personal experiences with process drama work over several years. Many of these frames are of relatively recent origin, and the author goes on to suggest that such a list may be further extended in future as new conventions appear in response to further encounters with emerging technologies.

Brian S. Heap

Homo Ludens gives the swing; or the needed momentum to the art of living

In the year that we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Homo Ludens, this article introduces Ludic Pedagogy (LuPe) as a rich base for drama as education. LuPe aims not only to prepare participants for society but also for ‘the art of living’.
Firstly schooling is examined, in relation to Victor Turner.
Then LuPe is introduced. Concepts of Maurice Merleau-Ponty are presented to indicate some of the richness of preconscious sources and its working in play. Csikszenlmihalyi‘s concept of flow is used as a rich focus to facilitate and guide drama.
LuPe children are in moments one with the action, complete here and now, even sometimes beyond ego borders. Out of their I boxes, they discover in those moments the I fields of inspiration, intuition, initiative and insight. Enriched they can return to the daily life of no nonsense, rationalism, performances, products and they can make little differences in essential elements of living.

Lidwine Janssens

Heathcote in Sweden: just passing by?

The first written introduction to Dorothy Heathcote’s work was published in Swedish in 1974, while she herself visited Sweden to teach in the early 1980s. How has drama for learning, i.e. process drama, evolved since then? We will try to answer this question by looking into the Swedish context, including courses and publications that clearly connect to the work of Dorothy Heathcote and Gavin Bolton. We have used interviews with a few key informants to complement information from written sources. The investigation uncovered more publications and teaching events than expected, but the practice of Heathcote’s work does not appear to be well-defined or extensive. After a period of decline it looks like process drama is gaining renewed attention, as more workshops, university courses and new books have been available in the last few years than in many years before.

Eva Österlind and Eva Hallgren

Drama as Method: Conceptualising the Work of Teacher as Ethnographer

Drama in education (DiE) pioneered by Heathcote aims to help students access and understand a wide range of human experiences through the dramatic. Heathcote contends that teachers need to work like ethnographers in search of meanings for and beyond the dramatic context through the Brotherhoods Code. In this paper, I draw findings from my earlier research at a Hong Kong secondary school to discuss how drama works as a method for social inquiry learning. Informed by Raymond Williams’ conceptions of drama and culture, I further argue that drama educators and researchers need to examine the interconnection between the different contextual layers and to conceive of drama as a method through which we see some of the fundamental conventions that organize students and their learning experiences in the schooling context. The notion of teacher as ethnographer is useful for drama educators to think and rethink DiE work, the notion of context and the relations between the two.

Muriel Yuen-fun Law

In the Thick of It: Proximities of Belonging in Drama Research

This paper sets out to examine themes of belonging, which emerged during my PhD investigation of drama research in the primary school curriculum, 2012.Following on from Conquergood, I borrow the view that[p]roximity, not objectivity, becomes an epistemological point of departure and return’ (Conquergood 2004: 149).
According to Conquergood, ethnographic fieldwork has changed significantly in recent years. Modern modes of travel, global communication and the mass media have contributed towards a re-thinking of what it is to belong to a particular country, place or group. This is not to suggest an absence of borders and free travel between people and places, but to recognize that boundaries are not just lines on a map; they are as much ideologically and politically motivated. In extending the map metaphor to the performance studies agenda, Conquergood advocates the blurring of the borders between the researcher and participant(s). His seminal research and subsequent documentary of the Latin Kings, a street gang in North Chicago (The Heart Broken in Half, 1990)is an illustrative example. I have similarly looked towards proximity as an active research methodology. As part of my PhD, I spent four years as a participant observer and a drama practitioner in a junior school in Stoke-on-Trent. My impression of the city and the school, which matured considerably over time, offers a useful starting point to consider belonging.

Shelley Piasecka

A1E6B740-A3F1-4E20-913F81B9B869F346_smallThe authentic teacher: Heathcote’s notion of authenticity in second language teaching and learning

In this paper I draw on Heathcote’s notion of the authentic teacher as a framework to analyse a reflective practitioner research on process drama for second language teaching and learning. I introduce Heathcote’s (1984) notion of ‘authenticity’ and ‘the authentic teacher and analyse the elements that Heathcote identified as essential for authentic teaching’. I situate these elements within other notions of ‘authenticity’ in the literature, and I use Heathcote’s framework for authentic teaching to make sense of my reflective practice. I highlight how, while facilitating the drama, I engaged in different kinds of reflection-in-action, both at an intra-episode and inter-episode level. I conclude by pointing to reflective practice as a form of authenticity-in-process.

Erika Piazzoli

Valuing Tacit Knowledge and Clear Pedagogy: Continuing Professional Development for Teachers

This article reports on a continuing professional development (CPD) programme that was rolled out into approximately 20 primary and secondary schools around Northamptonshire and beyond. The programme aimed to assist teachers in their ability to harness students’ tacit knowledge and use ‘productive pedagogy’ (drama as a learning medium) which they can add to more traditional learning approaches. Productive pedagogy is rich with contemplation, reflection, innovation and experimentation which are distinguished against ‘reproductive pedagogy’ based on memorisation and rote skills. Essentially, productive pedagogy is largely derived from the use of experiential learning where experience is combined with explicit meaning-making. The CPD project was premised on it being critical so that the teachers are empowered by appropriate structures to assist in meaningfully scaffolding students’ learning experiences. The results of the project revealed a predominantly positive acceptance by students and teachers although some teachers struggled with how to balance this approach against meeting inspection targets and other outcome-driven imperatives but saw this approach as offering potential to the learning experience. Overall, a process drama model was seen by students and teachers as a way to engage more personally in one’s learning across the curriculum.

Ross W. Prior, Sally Harris and Anna Carter

Teaching and Learning in the Crucible: Actors with disabilities as experts preparing pre-service teachers to be inclusive educators

Dorothy Heathcote understood teaching and learning to take place in a kind of ‘crucible’ in which participants, who are both teachers and learners, contribute to the mix sometimes resulting in a radical transformation. This paper reports the ways Heathcote’s ideas have influenced both research and practice in the Teaching for Diversity workshop – a drama workshop that brings together pre-service teachers, teacher educators and actors from Fusion Theatre, a community-based theatre company for people with intellectual disabilities.
In a reversal of the usual relationship, actors with disabilities are positioned as experts leading student teachers and lecturers in the drama workshop. This paper describes their transformation through a kind of mantle of the expert – the expert in the antechamber. Within this space all participants, as if in Heathcote’s crucible, are stirred into new understandings and pre-service teachers are challenged into new ways of thinking about disability and inclusive education.

Jo Raphael

A critical appraisal of the defining features of Heathcote’s methodology and their impact on the delivery of Mantle of the Expert in the classroom.

This paper considers the breadth of Heathcote’s educational drama methodologies and proposes that Mantle of the Expert, a situated drama practice which she developed in the latter half of her career, cannot be viewed in isolation and that it is very difficult to teach effectively without an understanding of the subtleties of her earlier work.

Ruth Sayers

Publisher: National Drama Publications

ISSN 2040-2228

©2013 National Drama - Drama Research: international journal of drama in education

© Copyright National Drama 2014

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