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Performative inquiry : To enhance language learning

Performative inquiry : To enhance language learning

Title: Performative inquiry : To enhance language learning
Author: Þorkelsdóttir, Rannveig Björk
Jónsdóttir, Jóna Guðrún
Krogh, Lone
Scholkmann, Antonia
Chemi, Tatiana
Date: 2022-06-02
Language: English
Scope: 20
Department: Faculty of Subject Teacher Education
ISBN: 978-87-7210-772-1
Series: Performance and Performativity; IV(8)
The Pedagogy of the Moment: Building Artistic Time-Spaces for Critical-Creative Learning in Higher Education; IV(8)
ISSN: 2597-0119
Subject: Leiklistarkennsla; Kennaranemar; Kennsluaðferðir; Stéttarvitund; Tungumálakennsla; drama teaching; Class awareness; Teaching Methods; Language education; Teacher education
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/4297

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Þorkelsdóttir , R B & Jónsdóttir , J G 2022 , Performative inquiry : To enhance language learning . in L Krogh , A Scholkmann & T Chemi (eds) , Performance and Performativity . 8 edn , vol. IV , The Pedagogy of the Moment: Building Artistic Time-Spaces for Critical-Creative Learning in Higher Education , no. 8 , vol. IV , Aalborg University Press , Aalborg , pp. 43-63 .


Introduction There is something special about going to the theatre and the magic it makes. To bring a child to a theatre is potentially a life-changing experience, as well as an opportunity for a unique kind of learning. The theatre is a world of “what ifs”. The child is transported to a make-believe world where anything can happen. The theatre can also be a place of learning. Through theatrical literacy and the story telling and the ability to sit and watch a performance without distraction, learning can occur. The benefit of children going to the theatre is that it encourages empathy and cultural awareness; it develops critical thinking skills, promotes wellbeing, and is fun. But not all children have the opportunity to go to the theatre. They do not have the habitus. Pierre Bourdieu (2012) argues that there are three kinds of capital in society that determine social power and inequality: economic capital, social capital and cultural capital. He has developed concepts that can be transferred to different research areas. Field, habitus and cultural capital are some of the most used. Smith and Riley (2009) quote Bourdieu when saying that family and school play a crucial role in the different allocations of habitus: “These institutions work to give people from affluent backgrounds an unfair advantage over those from the working class” (p. 131). To fully understand Bourdieu’s theory of power, we must understand his explanations of ‘symbolic violence.’ Symbolic violence occurs in the school system. The school system maintains, promotes and distributes the values of the middle class. The children of the lower classes are made to accept the ethos that the culture and values of the middle class are worthier than their own, and recognised by all parties, including subordinates (Bourdieu, 2012). Therefore, drama and theatre education are important in schools, giving all students the opportunity to take part in a “What if” world regardless of the social class they belong to. In a constantly changing world where technology is developing rapidly, drama has something to offer that other subjects do not have, because it gives us the opportunity to imagine and enact futures and try out ideas. It also has a unique place in the curriculum because drama enhances intellectual, creative and embodied education where teachers have a powerful tool for transforming students through teaching (Anderson, 2012). In the Icelandic national curriculum (2013), drama is presented both as subject and as a method of instruction. In the curriculum guide, drama is an arts subject aiming at the method of the theatre but also as a pedagogy supporting the students’ learning processes in other subjects, for example language learning. Drama works both as a template for learning in general, and as a subject in its own right. Through drama the pupils can learn to interact with one another in a safe space, try out different social roles and through role-playing they have he opportunity to explore aspects of what it means to be human (Thorkelsdóttir, 2018). Through drama, pupils may develop their self-expression, they can build the confidence and the skills needed to work with others, and drama may also enhance creativity. Learning can be seen as something “that emerges during performative exploration” where the learners “interpret the actions, events, responses” and “engage with empathy and conviction in the performative spaces” (Fels & Belliveau, 2008, p. 49). The focus in this article is on fifteen teacher trainees becoming drama teacher specialists, in their second year of education, and the potential they see in using drama for language learning. The focus is also on the two drama teachers teaching them and their learning experience

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