Theatre of the oppressed as a pedagogical tool to empower diversity: an action research in primary school (Master thesis)

Μανωλίκα, Ευγενία/ Manolika, Eugenia

School classes where the presence of language-, ethnically and religiously diverse students is commonplace are an outcome of the modern multicultural societies. School, where socialisation mainly takes place, is expected to play a decisive part in creating the necessary conditions for this diversity to be acknowledged, accepted, and, most importantly, empowered. In a traditional school environment students get limited possibilities to explore the motives, the point of view and the emotions of the Other. Theatre Pedagogy tries to fill this gap: through participational, experiential techniques it aims to a better understanding of the Self and the Other, as well as to the developement of empathy, solidarity, interpersonal skills, tolerance, and action for social justice. All the above lead to empowerment. The present action-research has explored the ability of the Theatre of the Oppressed, as a theatrical-pedagogical practice, to empower elementary school students, urging them to acknowledge the oppressive relationships regarding diversity, and to increase their empathic action in order to lift the oppression experienced by themselves or their classmates. The evaluation of the results has shown that the Theatre of the Oppressed can contribute to increasing diversity, developing the acknowledgment, understanding and accepting of cultural diversity. The multiple roles tried by the students, led them to understand the viewpoints, the emotions and, generally, the World of diversity, helping them develop their empathic skills. Furthermore, the participating students were given the opportunity, through the exploration of various social roles, to redefine the power relationships that appear in the classroom, and to try and act against oppression. Certainly, empowerment is a process that can only be evaluated in the long-term, and this research was a short-term one, but the evidence leading to empowerment cannot be ignored.
Institution and School/Department of submitter: Δημοκρίτειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θράκης. Σχολή Επιστημών Αγωγής. Παιδαγωγικό Τμήμα Δημοτικής Εκπαίδευσης
Subject classification: Drama in education
Keywords: Theatre of the oppressed,Empowerment,Diversity,Empathy,Theatre pedagogy,Θέατρο του καταπιεσμένου,Ενδυνάμωση,Ετερότητα,Ενσυναίσθηση,Παιδαγωγική του Θεάτρου

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