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[Xmca-l] Re: Response to Spoilsport: Beyond oppositional dualities indrama in education and dialogic pedagogy to promote learning possibilities

So I take it Larry that you are also resisting dualities and dichotomies
and can see the spectrum of possibilities for pedagogical practice?
By the way I also want to point out that the response I posted was
co-authored by Brian Edmiston from Ohio State University. He is a highly
esteemed drama scholar (who also happened to train with Heathcote many
years ago), he is also well known within the dialogic pedagogy world.


On 1/03/2016 1:55 am, "Lplarry" <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

>Susan, Ana,
>Thank you for this dialogical drama OR should i say dramatic dialogue?
>This question of our relation to places (and within places) of BOTH drama
>AND dialogue.
>To place critical ontological dialogical practices on one side of a
>horizontal zone focusing  on reflection and differences to critically
>create agency through resisting socialized constraints (through
>On the other hand (not opposites but a matter of degree) dialogical drama
>focuses on creating *places* of con/vergence as an experience of becoming
>embodied in  virtual/real spaces of psychic belonging.
>These are two aspects of  horizontal understandings of  *verging*
>What Merleau-Ponty adds is the experience of psychic *place* as mutually
>embodied through our personal body as placed within perceptual/acting
>experiences of the speaking subject AND in con/junction with personal
>embodiment there is another aspect of becoming embodied *within* our
>mutually shared endowed spaces of drama AND dialogue.
>I submit that divergences and reflective agency occur as critical
>dialogues from within previously shared perceptual horizons as endowed
>virtual/real frameworks or paradigms.
>The evaluative component is to ask if we *should* focus developing agency
>through divergences as primary and convergences as derived or to focus
>our conscious intent on convergences as primary and divergences as
>The evaluative choice of what side of *vergence*to emphasize has an
>aspect of faith and presupposition that either perceiving/acting is
>primary and critical reflective dialogue explores this primary realm OR
>perceiving/acting is secondary and critical reflective ontology of
>being/becoming is primary and generates the *I can*
>A fascinating con/verse/ation on how we evaluate verging phenomena.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: "Susan Davis" <s.davis@cqu.edu.au>
>Sent: ‎2016-‎02-‎28 10:10 PM
>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>Subject: [Xmca-l] Response to Spoilsport: Beyond oppositional dualities
>indrama in education and dialogic pedagogy to promote learning
>As scholars and practitioners committed to the use of drama for
>educational purposes we wish to
>respond briefly to Ana Marjanovic-Shane¹s article: ³Spoilsport² in drama
>education vs. dialogic pedagogy. Our intention is to provide some of our
>professional understanding of drama¹s use in educational contexts that we
>will illuminate some of the misunderstandings we find in this article. At
>same time, we look forward to future productive dialogue about what we
>as potential overlaps between these pedagogical approaches.
>            We need to stress from the start that there is no unified
>field named Œdrama in education¹ that would extend to
>those who work within playworlds, or practice psychodrama and so forth as
>claimed by Marjanovic-Shane. We confine our remarks to the field that we
>knowledgeable about and from which Marjanovic-Shane draws her example: a
>classroom use of drama described by Heathcote as Œdrama in education¹ or
>Œeducational drama¹ and more recently as process drama, applied theatre,
>dramatic inquiry, among other terms.  In fact these fields of practice
>have arisen from very different communities in progressive
>school education, educational psychology, early childhood, and play all of
>independently discovered the power of using drama in their practice. There
>only recently been some nascent interactions between these groups (see for
>example the book ŒDramatic Interactions in Education¹
>910/> which we published last year) to find areas of common interest and
>concern.  As with
>those who identify with the field of Œdialogic pedagogy¹ we look forward
>more fruitful discussions and debates about research, practice and
>which work for the benefit of students and participants in learning
>There is no space in this response to show in detail why we resist the
>dichotomy established in this article, believing such are rarely helpful.
>However, we do can not agree with Marjanovic-Shane¹s conclusion that
>any dramatic pedagogy cannot be dialogic or that there are irreconcilable
>differences between these pedagogical approaches.
>In our view, she is correct in identifying that a pre-requisite for using
>drama in classrooms is an implicit, if not explicit, agreement to play the
>³game of drama² and in effect to begin to create an ensemble and
>enter into social worlds. However, rather than characterizing such social
>agreement as somehow different from real life, we argue that there is
>difference from the tacit agreement to join in the ³social drama² of
>life (Turner, 1974), as for example university students do by agreeing to
>participate in a discussion. However drama has the additional sphere of
>possibility that can be physically and conceptually explored through the
>activation of Œwhat if¹ in action.
>Unlike discussion, drama is a social art that can only be created when a
>group comes together willingly to collaborate in dramatizing
>life events. There is indeed a consensus but only about agreeing to work
>together or to focus dramatizing on a particular storyline, topic, or
>there is no consensus assumed about the meaning of the work.
>Using drama in a classroom does not assume that a student cannot choose
>not to join in or cannot opt out at any point.
>Participants may present or raise different views that may be addressed
>dialogically. Agreeing to join in is not an experience of being ³trapped²
>by a
>teacher with no exit in sight. Nor does it mean that a teacher would label
>someone a ³spoilsport² to be ³cast out.² We have conducted many practical
>sessions when not only have people chosen to sit out, some of whom have
>chosen to join in, but we have protected young people from others in a
>ready to ³discipline² them. Just as a person who does not join a theatre
>cannot create a performance, or a preschool child choosing not to play
>with others
>may engage in other activities, not participating in drama just means that
>person cannot contribute at that time to the collaborative creation of
>in an imagined world.
>Marjanovic-Shane uses a highly selective video extract from a 1971 drama
>session featuring the master teacher Dorothy Heathcote to
>infer that Heathcote dragoons students into a drama within which their
>and alternative views are closed down. However, as O¹Neill shared in the
>keynote address Power-sharing: Teacher power
>and student choices, where she describes another more recent 2007 drama
>conducted in the U.S., Heathcote
>worked with all major offers children made, never adopting an
>position but asking participants to consider the consequences of their
>When a group of boys invented a bomb which Œblew¹ up a celebratory event
>in a
>drama, Heathcote said: ³There is nothing we do in this room that isn¹t
>happening somewhere in the world² (Heathcote in O¹Neill 2014, p 26). Even
>though others in the room were horrified and expected her to castigate the
>involved, Heathcote respected and worked with the material they offered,
>drawing out
>significance, considering the implications and working dialogically with
>alternative views from her own.
>Marjanovic-Shane assumes that a teacher¹s authority in drama is
>authoritarian and that a leader of drama is in danger of becoming a
>fascist dictator. Whilst it is certainly possible for a teacher to misuse
>authority oppressively or with very limited choice for how people might
>participate (as in the Ron Jones simulation example she uses which has
>been seen as a lighthouse model of drama in education) that is never our
>intention nor would it be endorsed in the literature. It is true that at
>times Heathcote
>can quite rightly be described as acting in Œauthoritative¹ roles within
>dramatic contexts, but she fiercely resisted pressures to take on
>teacher positions.
>Indeed, Heathcote (1984) herself is quite clear that as a teacher she
>intends to ³bring power to my students and to draw on their
>power² (p.21). Heathcote saw the teacher¹s role as one that should not
>bully or take away power from
>others, but rather that should enable them to develop their agency. Her
>commitment to endowing power and agency to others is shared through an
>interesting insight in her paper Contexts for Active Learning. Here
>Heathcote revealed that her drama and teaching
>strategies were all developed so she would never have to be in a position
>³tell people off² (Heathcote, 2002, p.1). However, counter to many
>romanticised notions of an open, free for all classroom, this version of
>democratized classroom was not a hands-off model with students making all
>decisions. Rather, she envisions a classroom with episodes that were
>interventionist and carefully structured. These often involved
>provocations and
>active negotiations, with Heathcote playing multi-functional roles,
>selecting and making decisions, but always working to ensure that the
>were invested, contributing, and collaboratively developing work that
>would be meaningful
>in multiple ways for all participants.
>eathcote intended not just to create dramatic experiences but also to
>create spaces in which all might dialogue and reflect
>to explore for multiple possible meanings in the work: ³If you cannot
>the reflective power in people you might as well not teach, because
>is the only thing that in the long run changes anybody² (Ibid, p. 104).
>Finally, Heathcote was emphatic that all participants in drama, ³be
>fully as individuals with rights [including] the power to affect a
>and to respond in a growing complexity of ways to that situation² (Ibid,
>p. 153).  
>It is unfortunate that the Spoilsport article seeks to compare examples of
>praxis in an apples
>and oranges way to draw out unwarranted generalizations about all drama in
>education. She compares examples of teaching on different topics, for
>purposes, and with access to very different data: a short segment of a 45
>old videoed drama with children is compared to an extended sequence of
>exchanges and events in a higher education institution taught recently by
>author. The drama example analyzed is a brief extract from the first few
>minutes of a BBC film about Dorothy Heathcote made for commercial not
>educational purposes. Missing from the film is all of Heathcote¹s
>negotiations and reflections with these children all of whom had been
>as ³delinquent² and had in effect been ³cast out² into this special school
>Marjanovic-Shane misses the point that Heathcote was playing with the
>children, including through her
>early use of power in role, not to force them to do what they did not want
>do but rather the reverse. Marjanovic-Shane further assumes that in drama,
>participants do not ³test their own ideas ­ their truths² and that
>teachers do
>not seek out or value ³dissensus.² Yet that was Heathcote¹s aim as it is
>ours. Heathcote¹s
>intention in this session was to work with the children to create
>fictional experiences
>in which by working together the boys were not only able to work out ways
>which they might outwit an authoritarian regime represented by her in role
>as a
>Nazi officer but further to reflect on an issue of importance to them: why
>someone choose to dissent by becoming an informant and a collaborator?
>Marjanovic-Shane assumes that the purpose of drama in education is to
>³socialize² participants whereas dialogic pedagogy seeks to
>³deepen critical examinations of any aspect of life.² Whilst socialization
>be a declared or implicit purpose there are drama practitioners across
>of work who would also share Marjanovic-Shane¹s aim and who have
>documented how participants working with a teacher may engage in extensive
>cultural analysis of how power operates in society (e.g. Medina & Campano,
>2006; Enciso, 2011; O¹Connor & Anderson, 2015).
>In summary, the explicit premise of Marjanovic-Shane¹s
>argument is that drama work is non-dialogic because participants must
>participate in making a fictional world, which appears to be on the
>terms. This is an ill-informed representation of drama¹s potential in the
>classroom. Decades of documentation and analysis would show otherwise .
>Marjanovic Shane seems to dismiss the imagined possibilities that can be
>explored through drama and unwilling to engage in dialogue about the
>ways that drama could in fact be dialogic. Rather than being restricted to
>dialogue in the Œreal¹ world with people sharing critical views,
>participants in
>drama can collaboratively test out multiple alternatives to what seems
>Œreal¹ and
>fixed. In drama everyone can contribute dialogically to create different
>versions of reality, multiple possible outcomes, alternative viewpoints,
>new understandings. The social and cultural power of drama is that people
>change their views, understand more about themselves, others, and the
>world we
>live in. Surely that is what all good pedagogues would hope and desire.
>Susan Davis and Brian Edmiston
>Central Queensland University & The Ohio State University
>s.davis@cqu.edu.au, edmiston.1@osu.edu
>Enciso, P. (2011). Storytelling in critical
>literacy pedagogy: Removing the walls between immigrant and non-immigrant
>youth. In H. Janks & V. Vasquez (Eds.) Special Issue: Critical Literacy
>Revisited: Writing as Critique for English Teaching: Practice and
>Critique, 10, 1, 21-40.
>Heathcote, D. (1984). Collected writings
>on education and drama. L. Johnson & C. O¹Neill (Eds.). Melbourne:
>D. (2002). Contexts for active learning -
>Four models to forge links between schooling and society. Paper presented
>at the NATD Annual Conference, Birmingham.
>Medina, C. & Campano, G. (2006). Performing
>Identities through Drama and Teatro Practices in Multilingual Classrooms.
>Language Arts, 83 (4), 332-341.
>Turner, Victor (1974). Dramas, Fields, and
>Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society. Ithaca/London: Cornell
>O¹Connor, P. & Anderson, M. (2015). Applied Theatre Research: Radical
>London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.
>O¹Neill, C.
>(2014) Power-sharing: Teacher power and student choices. in P. Bowell, P &
>Lawrence (Eds), Heathcote Reconsidered -
>Conference Echoes (ebook), London: National Drama, 13-31
>On 29/02/2016 7:49 am, "Dr. Ana Marjanovic-Shane" <anamshane@gmail.com>
>>Dear Sue,
>>I am looking forward to your feedback and critique.
>>> On Feb 28, 2016, at 4:00 PM, Susan Davis <s.davis@cqu.edu.au> wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> Thank you Larry, Helen and Ana for your comments.
>>> Helen - always lovely to find out who else is out there exploring the
>>> possibilities of working with the arts to bring about transformative
>>> learning and Larry I really like that proposition that in drama the
>>> premise begins with ŒI can¹ and then moves to ŒI think¹.  That is very
>>> much the case with drama, and sometimes children/participants are very
>>> nervous or uncertain when they begin a drama process, often because
>>> begin from a position of ŒI can¹t¹ but through the acts of doing they
>>> begin to see that they in fact can do and become.
>>> Ana I would agree with the first part of your statement about drama in
>>> education being used to help socialise students into socially
>>> valuable practices and would think that was a good thing given research
>>> that shows reductions in empathy in young people in recent times.  I
>>> concerns with the rest of your proposition and the sweeping nature of
>>> critique. 
>>> A colleague and I have been preparing a short response to your article
>>> I will check with him to see if he is happy for me to post it here.
>>> I would of course be happy to hear other Œdialogue¹ as well.
>>> Kind regards
>>> Sue
>>> On 29/02/2016 2:35 am, "Ana Marjanovic-Shane" <anamshane@gmail.com
>>><mailto:anamshane@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>> Dear all,
>>>> Thanks for starting this thread about drama in education. I recently
>>>> published a paper that takes a critical stance toward Heathcote's
>>>>drama in
>>>> education approach and other approaches to education that are based on
>>>> some form of drama, play and/or improv - *"Spoilsport" in Drama in
>>>> education vs dialogic pedagogy*.
>>>> To play a "spoilsport" myself, in this paper, I claim that Drama in
>>>> Education belongs to an educational paradigm that is mainly based on
>>>> socialization of students into the socially recognized valuable
>>>> values and understanding of the world, which are heavily based on
>>>> agreement, collaboration and following of the authority, without
>>>> having legitimate rights and a possibilities to critically disagree,
>>>> provide different points of view and question the existing social
>>>> practices, values and ways of understanding the world. In other words,
>>>> this educational paradigm - students' disenssus, critical approach to
>>>> testing different ideas, views, desires, values, etc. is actively
>>>> suppressed, or at best limited, curbed and restricted.
>>>> In the paper I provide a detailed analysis of (a part of) the same
>>>> posted here earlier - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owKiUO99qrw.
>>>> is the abstract of my paper. If interested - you can get it at
>>>> Pedagogy Journal website -
>>>> http://dpj.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/dpj1/article/view/151
>>>> So, what do you think?
>>>> Ana
>>>> ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
>>>> "Spoilsport" in Drama in education vs dialogic pedagogy
>>>> Abstract
>>>> In this paper two educational paradigms that both attempt to overcome
>>>> alienation often experienced by students in the conventional
>>>> These two educational paradigms are embodied in different educational
>>>> practices: First, Drama in Education in its widest definition, is
>>>>based on
>>>> the Vygotskian views that human cognitive, semantic (meaning-making),
>>>> social-emotional development happens in or through play and/or
>>>> imagination,
>>>> thus within the imagined worlds. Second, Critical Ontological Dialogic
>>>> Pedagogy, is based in the Bakhtin inspired approach to critical
>>>> among the ³consciousnesses of equal rights² (Bakhtin, 1999), where
>>>> education is assumed to be a practice of examination of the world, the
>>>> others and the self. I reveal implicit and explicit conceptual
>>>> similarities
>>>> and differences between these two educational paradigms regarding
>>>> understanding the nature of learning; social values that they promote;
>>>> group dynamics, social relationships and the position of learners¹
>>>> subjectivity. I aim to uncover the role and legitimacy of the
>>>> disagreement with the positions of others, their dissensus with the
>>>> educational events and settings, and the relationships of power within
>>>> social organization of educational communities in these two diverse
>>>> educational approaches. I explore the legitimacy of dissensus in these
>>>> educational approaches regarding both the participants¹ critical
>>>> examination of the curriculum, and in regard to promoting the
>>>> participants¹
>>>> agency and its transformations. In spite of important similarities
>>>> the educational practices arranged by these two paradigms, the
>>>>analysis of
>>>> their differences points to the paradigmatically opposing views on
>>>> development, learning and education. Although both Drama in Education
>>>> Dialogic Pedagogy claim to deeply, fully and ontologically engage the
>>>> learners in the process of education, they do it for different
>>>> and
>>>> with diametrically opposite ways of treating the students and their
>>>> relationship to the world, each other and their own developing selves.
>>>> <http://dpj.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/dpj1/article/view/151
>Dr Susan Davis 
>Senior Lecturer | School of Education & the Arts | Higher Education
>CQUniversity Australia, Noosa Campus |
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