The Journey to Transform: Theatre in Education and Paradigm Shifting
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The critical understanding of Theatre in Education (TIE) presented in this thesis focuses on ‘TIE into Schools’ and its effect. The author takes the view that students’ subjectivity was influenced by the dominant mores of elements of society, such as family and school, and less often, by individual, autonomous decision. Case studies of practices that are identified with the tenets of TIE were carried out using approaches based on the principles and methods of a critical pedagogy approach. How could the TIE approach be seen as a critical pedagogy? This question is examined predominantly through the lens of Paulo Freire and Henry A. Giroux’s thoughts on education and teachers. In addition to an understanding of the tenets of TIE and the tenets of critical pedagogy, this thesis presents a criticism of its discursive approach and also a criticism from the researcher as a participant observer. This narrative approach helps explore the human side of the experience thus keeping real life issues to the fore. Fieldwork episodes of TIE practice in three different levels of schools, the Taipei He-te Primary School, 10 different senior high schools and the National Taiwan University are presented in the context of the students’ differing ages in an attempt to understand more about the methods and tenets of TIE. ‘Partnership’ is a key concept and driving force, creating mutual cooperation between the community of the school, the parents and the theatre groups. The expected outcomes of this thesis include the clarification notions of TIE, and the adoption of a subjective approach by the students in relation to the process of interactivity, leading from affection to cognition, then action. This thesis concludes that TIE is a critical pedagogy and praxis, which develops skills and attitudes in which action can be taken by the individual in fitting in the world. It improves the individual’s ability to rethink his/her beliefs and attitudes, to empathise with groups of people and individuals with whom she/he previously may not have come into social contact with and allows previously taboo subjects to be discussed openly.
PhD in Drama