Harnessing the Winds



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It has generated much interested. Dozens of articles have been submitted from all over the world. In these articles, no less than 12 terms have been used to describe virtually identical practices. These terms are Bibliodrama, Creative Drama, Creative Dramatics, Drama Praxis, Educational Drama, Empatheatre, Expression Dramatique, Life Drama, Process Drama, Socio-drama, and Story Drama. Stripped to their essence, each of these practices utilizes very similar techniques and has their roots in improvisational exploration and dramatic play.

For the sake of simplicity and clarity, let us agree that they are all forms of Process Drama, which have evolved and continue to evolve from the principles and practices of Creative Drama or Creative Dramatics. Think of the unifying power of adopting a common definition for Process Drama that is specific enough to properly identify the practice and yet broad enough to be inclusive of all sound applications of this theatrical form. To facilitate this consolidation, the following detailed description is laid on the altar of compromise.

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Process Drama is a specifically designed theatrical experience where students/participants and teachers/facilitators co-create and explore an imagined world for the purpose of discovering new skills and levels of understanding. Its goal is to facilitate deeper learning in a specifically identified topic. In a process drama, there is no written script, per se, but the teacher/facilitator creates a structured framework that allows the students/participants to explore a field of understanding through an improvisational and episodic excursion into the unknown.

The outcome or objective is approximated by the creation of the overarching structure, or lesson plan, but the actual path ultimately explored is shaped by the improvisational events and created in real time by the teacher/facilitator and the students/participants. Episodic in nature, the time frame of a process drama experience is extended. Such experiences are typically structured into a series of activities that take place over a longer period of time. The expanded duration is designed to provide ample opportunities to process and reflect on the selected theme(s) and objective(s). In process drama, there is no audience.

All observers are required to participate as an integral part of the theatrical experience. Some earmarks of Process Drama are: 1) It begins with a pre-text which establishes a setting, implies roles, introduces the topical focus, and creates atmosphere. 2) Its inclusive yet structured format has the ability to generate several themes or concepts that can be recalled or repeated. 3) It is built upon inquiry, issues, events, and/or relationships. 4) It focuses on the creation of new knowledge through active participation rather than on the mere transfer of knowledge from teacher/facilitator to student/participant.

5) It requires all participants to adopt roles and interact with others. 6) It is enhanced through a self-reflective analytical process. 7) It is not performed only experienced. 8) It is not taught, rather the teacher/facilitator leads out, often “in role”, to guide the process. Look for these common earmarks in the following articles and examine them as a means of informing and improving your own practice. Examine your own standing in our important field and truthfully evaluate your efforts in terms of the warning raised by Joan Lazarus.

What could you do to bring more unity to the field and stave off the extinction she fears? How can your voice be combined with strength with others and still remain yours? This is the key to our shared longevity and the beginning of the end of our long period of isolationism. 1 Joan Lazarus, Arts Education Policy Review, Nov/Dec2000, Vol. 102 Issue 2, p37, 2p 2 ibid Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Work section.

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