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

Susan et al.

I have not commented on this discussion because events have prevented me
from watching the film and reading the relevant papers. I am very
interested in drama so I hope I can catch up at some point.

I comment now only on the genre of the discussion. Susan and Brian have
posted a next turn in the conversation that began after Ana posted her
paper and posed what appears to be two different ideas about the role of
drama in education. But it is a special kind of next turn because it is
responding on xmca where Ana is Ana and not Marjanovic-Shane.

I would not want the formal tone of Marjanovic-Shane and footnotes to allow
us to think we have slipped from the realm of collegial chatting into the
realm of refereed journal articles!

I really appreciate all the work that went into the formal reply, and it
made me wonder just what it is that Susan, Brian, and Ana appear to be
disagreeing over.

Without looking, I expected the big issue to be whether or not kids
entering into dramatic activity at school, whatever its venue, have the
power to change the plot. But it seems much more is involved.

If I could only get myself disentangled in this darn 5th Dimension I live
in, I would have a chance to catch up, but one thing keeps leading to

Dialogically and Dramatically Speaking

On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 10:09 PM, Susan Davis <s.davis@cqu.edu.au> wrote:

> 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 in
> education vs. dialogic pedagogy. Our intention is to provide some of our
> shared
> professional understanding of drama¹s use in educational contexts that we
> hope
> will illuminate some of the misunderstandings we find in this article. At
> the
> same time, we look forward to future productive dialogue about what we
> regard
> 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
> are
> 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,
> and
> 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
> whom
> independently discovered the power of using drama in their practice. There
> have
> only recently been some nascent interactions between these groups (see for
> example the book ŒDramatic Interactions in Education¹
> <
> http://www.bloomsbury.com/au/dramatic-interactions-in-education-9781472576
> 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 to
> more fruitful discussions and debates about research, practice and
> approaches
> which work for the benefit of students and participants in learning
> processes.
> 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
> paradigmatic
> 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
> little
> difference from the tacit agreement to join in the ³social drama² of
> everyday
> 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
> concern;
> 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
> later
> chosen to join in, but we have protected young people from others in a
> group
> ready to ³discipline² them. Just as a person who does not join a theatre
> group
> 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
> a
> person cannot contribute at that time to the collaborative creation of
> events
> 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
> choices
> 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 authoritarian
> position but asking participants to consider the consequences of their
> actions.
> 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
> boys
> involved, Heathcote respected and worked with the material they offered,
> drawing out
> significance, considering the implications and working dialogically with
> very
> 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
> her
> authority oppressively or with very limited choice for how people might
> participate (as in the Ron Jones simulation example she uses which has
> never
> 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
> authoritarian
> 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
> to
> ³tell people off² (Heathcote, 2002, p.1). However, counter to many
> romanticised notions of an open, free for all classroom, this version of
> the
> democratized classroom was not a hands-off model with students making all
> the
> decisions. Rather, she envisions a classroom with episodes that were highly
> interventionist and carefully structured. These often involved
> provocations and
> active negotiations, with Heathcote playing multi-functional roles,
> constantly
> selecting and making decisions, but always working to ensure that the
> students
> were invested, contributing, and collaboratively developing work that
> would be meaningful
> in multiple ways for all participants.
> H
> 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
> increase
> the reflective power in people you might as well not teach, because
> reflection
> is the only thing that in the long run changes anybody² (Ibid, p. 104).
> Finally, Heathcote was emphatic that all participants in drama, ³be
> recognized
> fully as individuals with rights [including] the power to affect a
> situation,
> 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
> different
> purposes, and with access to very different data: a short segment of a 45
> year
> old videoed drama with children is compared to an extended sequence of
> exchanges and events in a higher education institution taught recently by
> the
> 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
> out-of-role
> negotiations and reflections with these children all of whom had been
> labeled
> as ³delinquent² and had in effect been ³cast out² into this special school
> for
> youth.
> 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
> to
> 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
> in
> 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
> might
> 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
> may
> be a declared or implicit purpose there are drama practitioners across
> decades
> of work who would also share Marjanovic-Shane¹s aim and who have
> extensively
> documented how participants working with a teacher may engage in extensive
> critical
> 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
> teachers¹
> 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
> different
> 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
> possible
> versions of reality, multiple possible outcomes, alternative viewpoints,
> and
> new understandings. The social and cultural power of drama is that people
> may
> 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
> References
> 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:
> Hutchinson.
> Heathcote,
> D. (2002). Contexts for active learning -
> Four models to forge links between schooling and society. Paper presented
> at the NATD Annual Conference, Birmingham.
> http://www.moeplanning.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/dh-contexts-for-act
> ive-learning.pdf
> 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
> University
> Press.
> O¹Connor, P. & Anderson, M. (2015). Applied Theatre Research: Radical
> Departures.
> London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.
> O¹Neill, C.
> (2014) Power-sharing: Teacher power and student choices. in P. Bowell, P &
> C.
> 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>
> wrote:
> >Dear Sue,
> >
> >I am looking forward to your feedback and critique.
> >
> >Ana
> >
> >
> >> 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 they
> >> 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 recognised
> >> valuable practices and would think that was a good thing given research
> >> that shows reductions in empathy in young people in recent times.  I
> >>have
> >> concerns with the rest of your proposition and the sweeping nature of
> >>the
> >> critique.
> >>
> >> A colleague and I have been preparing a short response to your article
> >>and
> >> 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
> >>>practices,
> >>> values and understanding of the world, which are heavily based on
> >>> agreement, collaboration and following of the authority, without
> >>>students
> >>> 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,
> >>>in
> >>> 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
> >>>video
> >>> posted here earlier - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owKiUO99qrw.
> >>>Below
> >>> is the abstract of my paper. If interested - you can get it at Dialogic
> >>> 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 education.
> >>> 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),
> >>>and
> >>> 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
> >>>dialogue
> >>> 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 their
> >>> understanding the nature of learning; social values that they promote;
> >>>the
> >>> group dynamics, social relationships and the position of learners¹
> >>> subjectivity. I aim to uncover the role and legitimacy of the learners¹
> >>> disagreement with the positions of others, their dissensus with the
> >>> educational events and settings, and the relationships of power within
> >>>the
> >>> social organization of educational communities in these two diverse
> >>> educational approaches. I explore the legitimacy of dissensus in these
> >>>two
> >>> 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
> >>>between
> >>> the educational practices arranged by these two paradigms, the
> >>>analysis of
> >>> their differences points to the paradigmatically opposing views on
> >>>human
> >>> development, learning and education. Although both Drama in Education
> >>>and
> >>> Dialogic Pedagogy claim to deeply, fully and ontologically engage the
> >>> learners in the process of education, they do it for different purposes
> >>> 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
> >>><http://dpj.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/dpj1/article/view/151>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> Dr Susan Davis
> Senior Lecturer | School of Education & the Arts | Higher Education
> Division
> CQUniversity Australia, Noosa Campus |
> PO Box 1128, Qld 4566
> P +61 (0)7 5440 7007 | X 547007 | M +61 418 763 428
> L https://www.linkedin.com/in/suedavisnoosa
> RG | https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Susan_Davis7
> Profile | http://profiles.cqu.edu.au/profiles/view/272
> Latest
> publication:
> https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/imagination-and-praxis/
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> >>>


It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch