Academic journal article Theatre Research in Canada

Performing Academic Spaces: An Ethnodramatic Exploration of Drama Curriculum Design in Teacher Education

Academic journal article Theatre Research in Canada

Performing Academic Spaces: An Ethnodramatic Exploration of Drama Curriculum Design in Teacher Education

Article excerpt


Three bodies are frozen with their backs to the audience.

GEORGE. Okay girls are you ready to go? Say goodbye to your house in PEI. We're off to UBC and the West Coast!

Coming alive and miming picking up bags, looking at watch ...

CARMEN. Vamonos Gustavo. We have a long way to go.

Same type of preparing to leave activity.

GUS. Let me put the dog in the car and we'll be ready to roll.

Same as the other two.

Multiple Voices:

Image of encounter--shaking hands/ break image and move into multiple voices and positions around the stage throughout the dialogue.

GUS. The courses need revisions.

CARMEN. Get published.

GEORGE. We need to increase the numbers in the drama classes.

GUS. Is there a theatre space to work in?

CARMEN. We have to attract more teachers from the system.

GEORGE. Get published.

GUS. Are you a drama or a theatre person?

CARMEN. We need to revisit the elementary drama program.

GEORGE. We need to build the secondary drama program.

GUS. Don't forget drama in the multiliteracies.

GEORGE. Get published.

CARMEN. Where is the social justice piece?

ALL. Get published!

Actors return centre stage, then stand next to each other and face audience.

All three turn their backs to the audience and freeze.

During the following monologues actors turn to audience as they begin to speak.

CARMEN. Yep, the work ahead is extensive but it is quite exciting and the possibilities are endless for what we could do and contribute. At first this excitement of being a group of drama educators all in one institution translated into an impulse to just start doing and producing. We had lots of well-intentioned ideas and quickly realized that our impulses sometimes connected with each other and at times did not.

New perspectives in teacher education questioned the nature of pedagogy as fixed and authoritative where there is an impulse to "manage technique, discipline bodies, and control outcomes" (Britzman 60).A call is made to look at ways to decentre our practices and reflect on the ideological discourses that frame beliefs and approaches to "doing" teacher preparation. Grounded on these notions in this performance/ presentation we share the results of a collaborative process of self reflection using an arts-based inquiry approach (Barone; Diamond and Mullen).Our goal was to examine the subjectivities constructed in our narratives to disrupt claims for neutrality that tend to situate drama teacher preparation in a false generic space. In order to represent our data in a manner that reflects our field of study, we decided to dramatize our reflective journals and create this ethnodramatic script. Ethnodrama represents a relatively new approach of disseminating data in qualitative research inquiry, with researchers in various fields analyzing and sharing findings using this methodology (bullying--Belliveau; cancer research--Gray; drama--Saldana; health care--Mienczakowski; multiculturalism, social justice--Goldstein; Taylor).

It is important to note that Ethnodrama, as a field of study, borrows heavily from the African American Feminist tradition of performed autobiographies/ ethnographies such as those found in the work of Dr. Robbie McCauley and Anna Devere Smith. As in a radical pedagogical positioning that intends to subvert the dominant white patriarchal capitalist paradigm(hooks) these African American Feminist Performance Artists and scholars intended to present research in an alternate form that would not necessarily adhere to the rigid structure imposed through the academy (Garoian). It is also this subversive form that assisted us in presenting our written reflection in a nontraditional way.

GEORGE. As a group of newly-hired professors in a "developing" drama education program within a teacher education program we bring diverse experiences and understandings of pedagogy and research. …

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