Theatre in Pedagogy: Theatrical Devices as Classroom Resource

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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 an inherent propensity for allowing personal narrative authority, theatre allows pedagogy with a slant for facilitating individual identity. India, being a land of contrasts abounds in inequity, linguistic multiplicity and ethnic plurality. 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 addresses multi layered representations of life including contexts such as growing up in terror prone areas which mark children's out of school lives. Use of theatre creates for teachers glimpses of how children grow and this personalizing of pedagogical space facilitates schools in honouring the voices of children in carving many identities that each child negotiates. 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, multi-Ethnic, Multi-Lingual
Stream: Performing Arts Practices: Theatre, Dance, Music
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Theatre in Pedagogy

Asha Singh

Reader, Human Development and Childhood Studies, Lady Irwin College, 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.

Ref: A09P0097