As with any subject area, Drama’s inclusion in the secondary curriculum must conform to curriculum policies and procedures, including those related to assessment and certification. In Drama, students’ creative work is assessed formatively and summatively through a range of assessable instruments, including performance. However, the assessment of performances presents unique challenges, as the processes used are highly dependent on a wide range of interrelated contributions. This paper is a literature review which explores numerous challenges associated with drama performance assessment. These challenges include subjective judgments in the assessment environment; the departure from traditional assessment methods; the role of the teacher-assessor in the performance assessment environment; the presence of the audience; and the appropriateness of criterion referenced assessment to performance assessment tasks. This paper responds to these challenges using literature that engages in deep discussion of the tensions, and considers approaches that address the tensions.
In the years following New Labour’s election victory (1997) the creative agenda was a visible concern for schools and teachers. A number of influential documents and policy documents were launched to promote creativity in schools. New funding opportunities had been made available to support teachers and classroom learning, most notably the Arts Council initiative Creative Partnerships (2002). Buckingham and Jones (2001) describe the period as the ‘Cultural Turn’ towards the creative and cultural industries. Paradoxically, the creative agenda emerged at a time when teachers experienced unprecedented levels of control over, and public scrutiny of, their everyday working lives; it was a period of time dominated by a ‘bureaucratisation’ of education. For Stronach et al. (2002) it was a rise of a performativity discourse in response to the audit culture. Post 2010, the introduction of school performance measures, such as the compulsory English Baccalaureate (2015), offers another kind of performativity discourse, but from a perspective other than creativity. The long-term outlook for creative subjects appears bleak, particularly for dance and drama. This article examines the period 1997-2015 with reference to Neelands and Choe’s (2010) assertion that creativity is a cultural and political idea.
Although playbuilding both in school and outside school settings is a common practice in Europe and other parts of the world, most children in Ghana are not familiar with this procedure and its benefits. This paper discusses a practical research project in which Ghanaian children between the ages of 11 and 13 were engaged in a two-week intensive playbuilding workshop, using the process of the local art of pot making as a comparative metaphor and stimuli. The children created and performed their own drama within this period. The paper discusses various aspects of the playbuilding process and the perceived gains from the project. The impressions of the parents and guardians of the participating children, who formed the audience at the final performances, are also presented. The paper concludes that educational drama has many benefits for children and ought to be encouraged in the Ghanaian school curriculum.
Faustina Brew and Awo Mana Asiedu
Increasingly organisations of all types are under pressure to live up to the values they profess in their vision and value statements. However, surfacing the values that underpin organisational cultures can be very difficult because these values are deeply embedded. Currently many organisations rely on storytelling to both communicate company values top down and, on rare occasions, to map organisational stories from the bottom up and to elicit underlying values. This paper argues that applied theatre methodologies that combine narrative strategies with embodiment techniques are potentially more effective than storytelling alone in addressing the gap between professed values and lived values. The work of prominent applied theatre theorists and practitioners is used to illustrate how the combination of narrative and embodiment practices can assist organisations to keep their promises by designing social change interventions that close the gap between what they say and what they do.
Petro Janse van Vuuren
In this paper we ask the basic question: How can arts education practices such as applied drama and theatre be better researched through performance ethnography as methodology?
We argue that ethnographic research can make use of the framed quality of the dramatic medium, or what has been referred to as the ‘mediating frame’ of signs, symbols and cultural meanings in investigating applied drama and theatre arts as a medium of arts education. We focus on two projects in applied theatre we researched in Zimbabwe between 2002 and 2010 in order to illustrate our point.
Owen Seda and Kennedy Chinyowa
This paper reports on research into how trainee drama teachers can be helped to identify how personally held values are organised into systems that impact on their classroom practice by reviewing video recording of themselves teaching. The paper considers how feedback on trainees’ development may be adversely affected by focusing on the degree to which they are meeting externally set standards rather than on how their learning relates to their ipsative design, that is, the way they order things of particular importance to them. The research invited two groups of trainee drama teachers to compare observations they made of their own teaching and the targets they subsequently set themselves to the observations and targets recorded by their mentors. The paper contests that development of effective teaching practice results from the trainees’ values being either challenged or reinforced as a result of mentor feedback. In order to have an effect though, trainees must be able to relate feedback to how their own values translate into practice. In the case of the participating trainees, there was a good deal of assonance between what they regarded as important features of classroom practice and what they perceived to be of importance to their mentors. This may have been in a contributory factor in their successful completion of their training
This article chronicles the creation and facilitation of an applied theatre action research project. This project was led in partnership with Central High School of New Jersey and Israel Senior Center of New York. My co-facilitator, Reesa Graham, and I designed an eight-session workshop series (both combined and separate in nature) for teenagers and senior citizens. The communities worked on storytelling and theatre creation as a methodology toward shared understanding and attitudinal shifts. The project’s goal was for the participants to partake in reminiscence and then use the other community’s stories and memories as a basis to actively create theatre. My research focused on how we can use this applied theatre project to have both groups of participants listen to and share each other’s stories and what the challenges and benefits might be. Previous research had demonstrated that having teenagers listen and create theatre from seniors provided strong attitudinal shifts for the better. However, our research demonstrated that having the seniors listen to and create theatre from teenagers’ life experiences deepened the attitudinal shifts and the empathy demonstrated by the participants. The co-intentionality of bi-lateral sharing is an area that needs additional work and development in the field.