Approaching the world in a ‘grown-up’ way through drama.


Sydney Theatre Company Schools Drama Programme: https://www.sydneytheatre.com.au/community/education/teacher-learning/school-drama-hub

The potential of drama to bring about a critical pedagogy, forms the basis of Chapter 10 of Art, Artists and Pedagogy. Robyn Ewing and John Saunders, reflect on the value of process drama in raising awareness of the ‘other’, after having undertaken a project with actors, teachers and children working together in the Sydney Theatre Company’s Schools Drama programme.


Taking thoughts from Gert Biesta’s ‘middle ground’ - or building awareness of others and the need to mitigate personal ‘desire’ with the ‘desires’ of others and the concept of ‘grown-up-ness’ – or engaging by ‘being–in–the-world’, Ewing and Saunders explore these ideas in the context of process drama. With stories that dwell on social awereness issues, and calling to mind the work of Maxine Greene (1917-2014), they note how children saw the world through others’ eyes while engaging in questions of moral choice and social justice.


Advocating a whole school approach to developing an arts rich curriculum, Ewing and Saunders relate their observations to Dewey in the use of drama to open possibilities, by creating an empathetic environment for children. Some of the insights in the dialogue between the children and the interviewers reveal an intensity in the exchange as the children discuss their process of drama making. For the teachers, this act of co-creation with the children, not knowing in which direction the lesson would go, created a new openness, and resilience to embrace change, as they joined with the children’s enthusiastic repsonse in this ‘grown-up’ dramatic engagement.


'Art, Artists and Pedagogy' (Edited by Naughton, Biesta and Cole) is published by Routledge.


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