Transformative Learning Streams Running Through Digital Theatre in Adult Education: The Case of a Second Chance Education School
Keywords:transformative learning, digital theatre in education, multiliteracies
The field of digital theatre in education (D.T.i.E.), a relatively recent branch of theatre in education, has been gaining momentum in the last two decades in increasingly diverse learning contexts. Applications pertaining to the field can be described as educational interventions in which theatre/drama-based teaching and learning methods combine with digital technologies, thus organically integrating physical and digital content. D.T.i.E. interventions currently focus on other subjects of the curriculum besides the subject of theatre/drama, such as social sciences, history, geography, language arts, language literacy and foreign languages. Discerning the many possible affordances of D.T.i.E. in adult education settings, but also the transformative potential of learning experiences built upon the field’s principles and practices, the author set out to investigate them systematically and in action. As part of the author’s postdoctoral research, an alternative methodology for the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language (English literacy) was developed which brings together theatre tools with various digital means and conventions, and which is informed by the multiliteracies pedagogy and by the transformative learning theory. The methodology has so far been applied in the form of a short-term educational intervention in a Greek Second Chance School targeting at-risk adult learners. Besides assessing the contribution of the methodology to the promotion of the English, digital and cultural literacy of the participants, the author sought to probe and respond to the following research questions: Does a short-term D.T.i.E. intervention focused on English literacy involve transformative experiences for adult learners with regard to their perspectives on English language and literacy, digital technology and literacy, theatre, culture, and their own place (or sense of self) in contemporary culture? To what extent does the intervention transform learners’ perspectives on the above areas? The mixed-method analysis of data collected before, during, and after the intervention—pre- and post-intervention questionnaires and interviews, observation and facilitator/researcher self-assessment rubrics, video recordings and learners’ portfolios—answered the former question in the affirmative and shed interesting light of the latter. The participants’ learning outcomes and the overall research findings open new vistas of possibility for a socially responsive and critical educational praxis targeting adult learners from less privileged backgrounds.
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