Theatre in Pedagogy: Theatrical Devices as Classroom Resource

By Asha Singh.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper primarily demonstrates the use and role of theatre arts as an enabling resource in teaching pedagogy. Theatre inherently has tremendous potential to deal with variations of ability, performance and cultural plurality. With a propensity for allowing narrative authority, theatre provides pedagogy with a slant for facilitating individual identity. India being a land of contrasts abounds in inequity, linguistic multiplicity and ethnic plurality are. the defining character of the Indian mosaic. Several homogenising forces dominant in schools often negate the multiplicity of socio-cultural identities. Tensions between social diversity and academic conformity impose a problematic contest for children’s cultural confidence, making schools sites that impact the lives of children in unintended ways. The paper deals with multi layered representations of life at school such as influences of growing in terror prone areas which mark children’s out of school lives. Using theatre as a classroom device connects teachers with glimpses of how children grow. This personalizing of pedagogical space honours children and schools become supportive in letting each child carve individuality despite being part of a collective negotiating many market forces. I attempt to generate a compelling concern to use methods of theatre and drama in pedagogy for knowing children’s socio-cultural selves. Through the processes of theatre educators revisit the experience of childhood, reconstruct images to reorient their own adult psyches towards the spirit of childhood.

Keywords: Theatre as Classroom Resource, Cultural Literacy, Personalising Formal Spaces, Revisiting Childhood, Intimate Forum

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.251-266. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.252MB).

Asha Singh

Reader, Department of Human Development & Childhood Studies, Delhi University, New Delhi, Delhi, India

My main interests centre on working with children using the medium of arts for education. In my work, there is attempt to combine training in Child Development and Classical dance, with an interest in theatre, to create modules for participatory initiatives that enrich interactions of teachers and parents with children. Most recently an association with Galli Galli Sim Sim, the Indian adaptation of Sesame Street, as Director, Education & Research, allowed me to further pursue these multiple interests. Earlier also my research and outreach efforts are grounded in theatre in education techniques, which have been explored in a diversity of social classes and cultural milieus in my work over the last three decades. Besides teaching in the Department of Human Development & Childhood studies at Lady Irwin College, Delhi University, I helped in founding the Theatre-in-Education company at the National School of Drama, India. I am also on the Managing Board of several Public Schools, and through my involvement with the National Council for Education & Research Training (NCERT, India) have been part of various projects seeking to conceptualise creative curriculum designs. In recent years I have also been working with children in the context of the aftermath of violence and ongoing political instability, using theatre techniques as a form of discussion and healing.

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