After teaching drama and theatre for more than 30 years in the international arena, I hold firmly to the belief that all educators have an obligation to be the best version of themselves for their learners. This includes the way in which educators engage with students interpersonally as well as their engagement with the diversity of content in the curriculum. Theatre practitioners and theatre teachers have the privilege of working from a toolbox that can transform lives. We are beckoned to employ our craft to help each student face the truth of one’s personal context in relation to ideas such as cultural diversity, international mindedness and social norms.
Learners learn when teachers make connections, and connections are made when teachers do the work to know and accept their own personal context in relation to the world around them. What deep-seated beliefs impact the way teachers engage with those in their charge? Are educators truthful about their perspective on issues such as anti-blackness and white fragility?
There are many drama-related activities used to explore one’s personal context which leads to self-acceptance and change where necessary. Techniques from pioneers of the 70s such as Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre or Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas’ Playback Theatre, when facilitated effectively, highlight the power of our craft’s impact on social engagements among the members of a classroom. In this enriched social dynamic, barriers begin to crumble and connections become seamless. However, before educators explore how to make connections with their students, first they must connect with themselves. In A Narrative Approach to Drama Therapy Pamela Dunne proclaims that ‘our self-narrative determines how we interpret our experiences’ (Johnson/Emunah, p.