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The role of drama in the study of literature Morrison, Evlyn Ruth 1996

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T H E R O L E O F D R A M A I N T H E S T U D Y O F L I T E R A T U R E by E V L Y N R U T H M O R R I S O N B . A , M c G i l l University, 1983 B . E d , University of Dalhousie, 1984 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S i n T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S (Department of Language Education) W e accept this thesis^as^conforming to the required standard The University of Bri t ish Co lumbia , 1 9 9 6 © E v l y n R u t h Morr i son , 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholariy purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of ^ C J U L _t a. 1 / , ^-SUx^3^^—^-* <3 The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date G-^xjL "2- \ - 1 £p DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T This qualitative research study examines the differing ways that students and teacher in a Jewish secondary school negotiate, reconstruct, and find personal relevancy i n their learning about literature through drama. The sequence of lessons used by the author consists of nine steps designed to integrate dramatic experiences with language and literature activities for the purpose of depicting thematic ideas, isolating sub-text, and illustrating various aspects of a Shakespearean text. A s percipient, which means to be observer and participant, the author participated in the drama activities and also observed how she and the students were reacting to the dramatic activities. The dramatic sequence was implemented i n an Engl ish eight class over a per iod of six weeks from M a y to June of the school year in 1992. Student subjects and selection of grade was based on drama material that had been previously prepared to meet the content recommendations suggested by the B . C . Minis t ry of Educat ion. A variety of data collection techniques were employed to identify the literacy behaviours and written responses extending from the drama. These techniques included five sources of data. They were (1) students' homework assignments, (2) exam question responses, (3) video tapes of a l l classes, (4) audio tapes of the classes, and (5) taped interviews with three students. Wri t ten responses to the drama activities included both personal reflections and critical thinking compositions. i i The author finally reflects on the potential for learning about literature through drama to develop specific cognitive processes that result in a restructured knowledge base. She then presents her own personal and pedagogical observations which account for the discrepancies that occur between students' oral responses and their written responses, and concludes that written expression was a crucial step in the students' process of meaning making. i i i T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S A B S T R A C T i i T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S iv A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S v I S U M M E R 1990 1 II T H E W A Y F O R W A R D 3 Thinking about Shakespeare 6 M y Direct ion 8 III T H E C H O S E N R O U T E 10 Establishing the Site 11 Committ ing to the Project 13 M y Teaching R o l e 14 I V D O C U M E N T I N G T H E E X P E R I E N C E 15 The students' thoughts and reflections 17 The first step: " A n Introduction" 18 The second step: "From Ancient Grudge" 20 The third step: "Physicalizing the Grudge" 31 The fourth step: "In Fa i r Verona" 32 The fifth step: "Let Lips do what Hands D o " 38 The sixth step: "Shame Shall Come to Romeo" 44 The seventh step: "I ' l l Thy Assistant Be" 47 The eighth step: "Poor Sacrifices of our Enmity" 51 The ninth step: "Some Shall be Pardon 'd and 54 Some Shall be Punished" Finding the writer's voice 57 The world of the students' written responses 59 V P A R T I N G T H O U G H T S 88 R E F E R E N C E S 92 iv A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S T o my husband Jeff whose patience and love supported me in reaching this goal. T o my writing partner and friend, L e e Bol ton Robinson, for her friendship and wise counsel. T o my advisor, D r . Pat Ver r iour for encouraging me to begin the journey, and then later for his guidance and thoughtful analysis. T o my students for their insights and enthusiasm. v S U M M E R 1990 A s an Engl ish teacher who had worked in a public school system for my first three years and then in a private Jewish school for an additional three years, I often had a difficult time teaching students about the different positions that a narrator can assume in relation to a story's action. These "hidden things", as Bol ton (1984) describes them, such as the narrator's choice to write in the first or third person, are the very essence of storytelling. What I was lacking was an artful way of making more accessible these "hidden things" that a class should learn. I had also found it difficult to foster in the students an understanding of the many different points of view that they could use to express themselves in their own writing. In the summer of 1990 I was introduced to the teachings of Gav in Bo l ton and discovered a dramatic approach which could effectively demonstrate to the students how to extract from a novel their own understanding of narrative points of view. This method is called Chamber Theatre, "where an extract from a novel is closely examined and, by using a range of narratorial 'voices', the actual lines of the script (not necessarily in dialogue) can be performed" (Bolton, 1990, p.26). A s a way of closely examining written text and its contextual background, the students may act as narrator or two actors may act as two narrators while another gives the 'alter-ego' or thoughts of a character. Sti l l another may wish to describe the poli t ical influences or social circumstances that give rise to the action and the scene. 1 In this k ind of 'illustrative/performance activity', the learning responsibility for engaging in these 'hidden things' may lie within the small groups of actors or with the rest of the class as directors (Bolton, 1992, p.26). It occurred to me that this type of strategy, and many others learned during the course, could profoundly change my approach to teaching Shakespeare. It was not unti l the winter of that year that I began to actually implement some of these dramatic strategies into the planning of my English classes and more specifically into the planning of my lessons on Shakespeare. In retrospect, what had happened was a real paradigmatic shift in my own approach to teaching. Us ing drama in the teaching of literature is a very different experience from teaching a skills based program. A s teacher I could no longer stand on the outside and direct; nor could I continue to think of the students as empty vessels or blank slates who would sit quietly by the hour reciting Shakespeare. Instead of indoctrinating the students with ideas about interpreting Shakespearean literature, I began to think of myself less and less as exclusively an English teacher, but more and more as a participant in the drama activities, a researcher observing the learning and a facilitator creating structures for the students to discover and explore themes and images in the written text. 2 T H E W A Y F O R W A R D G i v e n the possibilities for divergence in the fields of teaching literary text and drama education, I was surprised to find so many points of convergence. F o r example, in D r a m a In Teaching English, Evans (1984) suggests, "Any successful l inking of Engl ish and drama requires: a) knowledge of the nature of both, and specifically the constants, the parameters which bind them closely; b) knowledge of the uses to which drama can be put in achieving English objectives, and of the way English and drama can co-exist and develop; c) a realization of the implications, both for the classroom relationship and classroom organization, of any linking" (p.21). Evans ' position is similar to others who support the placement of drama in the English curriculum given its connection to literature and literacy development. He re drama is viewed as a starting point for the study of a literary text, for illuminating key aspects of the text, and for extending meaning and making thematic connections. In her study of the effects of role playing on written persuasion, Wagner (1986) describes the relationship of dramatic symbolic play to literacy. She states that "since the acquisition of literacy is dependent on the manipulation of symbols and increasing decontextualizing of language, social symbolic play provides a useful bridge to literacy" (p.89). The literacy theory of Rosenblatt also seems to support the use of drama in the study of literature. In Literature as Explorat ion (1938) she elaborates on her model for reading as follows, "the teacher of literature wil l be the first to admit that he inevitably deals with the experiences of human beings in their diverse personal and social relations. The very nature of literature, he wi l l point out, enforces this" (p.5). If the 3 challenge of literature is for the reader "to participate in another's vision," to fathom the vicissitudes of the human spirit, and to persist with the question of what human traits can be seen in the text as being universal despite cultural changes, Rosenblatt states that the experience should not just be about reading literature for factual information, but also be about reading for an aesthetic experience. In The Reader, the Text, the Poem (1978), she theorizes that there exists two different reading stances: the "efferent", which is reading to retrieve factual information, and the "aesthetic" reading stance, which is not only about "the arousal of expectation" that a text can elicit but is also about the "synthesis of further responses" to a text. This could include a re-reading of a text, a decoding of a text and an inevitable distancing from a text to reshape the reader's own experience of reading. Ross (1992) raises the pertinent question of whether or not Rosenblatt 's theory of reading can be seen to support its use in educational drama. Hi s answer is, I believe that drama may both sustain and enlarge the aesthetic stance which she endorses. It can also support the existential or lived-through experience which the text initiates. It may also assist in the construction of public responses from private evocations gained from the reading of the text and shared within the social interaction of the drama. Finally, it may enable reflection i f the possibilities of the drama are juxtaposed with the text and its interpretation. If meaning results in literature from transaction between reader and text, meaning may also be said to result in drama from the transaction between the real wor ld in which the student is situated and the fictive wor ld into which he or she agrees to enter (p.36). Bolton's (1979) thinking is congruent with Ross and Rosenblatt in his identification of the learning that takes place when the student engages in the social interaction of the drama. Bol ton states that the very act of make believe is an intellectual exercise that develops a number of cognitive skills, (1) "it encourages an anticipation of consequences", (2) "it encourages a 'reading between the lines' of what is being expressed", (3) "it encourages weighing up the pros and cons in decision-making", and most importantly, (4) the student develops a capacity for standing outside himself to see his own actions, thoughts, and experience as objects to be reflected upon (Bolton, 1992, p. 117). Bo l ton sees drama as a learning medium, learning in the illustrative mode, and having to do with making meaningful connections through the creation of opportunities i so that these connections might be made. The relevance of this statement for English teachers teaching literature through drama is to not act out an entire story from beginning to end but to "drop down" (Bolton, 1984) into the plot or a particular part of the narrative to explore, in a lived-out and "visualized" way, so that the implications underneath several layers of text might be realized. The student's contextual framework wi l l have been changed, and learning has occurred through the student's own efforts to define a point of view and to dramatically work on giving it expression. H e r e Bolton's theory on educational drama supports the use of drama in the area of literacy as presented by Wagner and the teaching of literature as presented by Rosenblatt. 5 Thinking About Shakespeare Hynds (1990) surveyed English students on the question of how they felt about the texts that had been selected for classroom study. She documented the following responses, 1. F i n d more interesting stories. 2. No t to study old plays like Shakespeare. 3. I would like to read good stories that I can "get into". 4. I don't consider all of Shakespeare's works that good, and I would rather read a book that has more contemporary applications than Hamlet . I would l ike to concentrate on philosophical questions raised by the story rather than simply rehashing the story i n class to make sure everyone understood it (1990, p.255). Hynds stated that these readers did not have the "will" to read Shakespeare and recommended that readers develop a motivation to read i f they are to participate in a "supportive community of readers". She also added that readers should be given personally relevant choices in order to perceive themselves as "members of a literate community" (Hynds, 1990). What Hynds recognizes is the need for teachers to create succinct parallels between the students' social competencies and their literary behavior competencies. "In real life, we are most interested in understanding people who affect us in some significant way, and who can teach us something about ourselves" (p.252). Presumably then, the prerequisite for a more complete reading of text is not only cognitive in nature. It is not merely the ability to understand a given text but the 6 ability to possess a "social intelligence" that can create inferences of personal significance from the text. Thus, the "good reading" that Hynds describes must find the reader encountering the text as i f it were similar to, or explicative of, "real life" (p.253). I hoped that by introducing Shakespearean script through a planned sequence of dramatic activities the students would find both a supportive and interpretive community of readers, and would experience a higher level of participation and personal relevance in their encounters with the written text. Resulting from the influence of Bolton's work, my focus on the plays has shifted from teaching the content in a traditional manner according to universal themes, poetic form, and imagery, to an active engagement with the life of the text through drama. A n active engagement means that the students are invited to depict for themselves thematic content and, where appropriate, to recognize the logic behind the social issues that arise from the text. It insists that meaning is more important than method when choosing, designing, and evaluating the lessons being studied. Personal, cultural, and social development are paramount. 7 M y Direct ion A n d so this 'paradigmatic shift' in my approach to teaching English has been profoundly influenced by my study of educational drama, and the role it plays in both understanding and integrating various aspects of the new Y e a r 2000 B . C . school curriculum. Bolton's (1984) theory of teaching, similar to the learning goals of the new curriculum, brings the students closer to what the implications of their learning might be. D r a m a in education gives the students an opportunity to become engaged with the subject matter. The example given of the illustrative/performance activity of Chamber Theatre is only one example of how educational drama can encourage students to work collectively, and can help to give them an opportunity to apply critical thinking skills and decision-making skills in a life-like social context. I soon realized that in order to further my own understanding of the power of drama in learning about literature, I would have to observe and describe the learning capabilities of Engl ish students. This I would do by documenting their responses as they engaged in the dramatic activities and subsequently reflected on the activities in written form. In doing so, I also saw the opportunity to explore the significance of creating social contexts in the classroom as being instrumental in both helping the students to negotiate meaning, and in further developing literacy behaviours. The possibility that educational drama experiences can enhance the students' understanding of Shakespearean script led me to the present question, what exactly is the role of drama in the teaching of literature? The following question provided me with the main direction for my study: 8 What are the different oral and written ways that students and teacher find expression for, negotiate, reconstruct, and find personal relevancy in their learning about literature through drama? 9 T H E C H O S E N R O U T E M y writing partner and I had created the sequences of dramatic activities for R o m e o and Juliet in the spring of 1992 (Morr ison and Bol ton Robinson, 1992), and I had used the dramatic sequence successfully with several different Engl ish classes. I became concerned with the idea of recording literate behaviours and, at the same time, interpreting the phenomena of integrating dramatic experiences as a way of meeting the objectives of the regular literature program. F r o m the outset I found myself pondering the following questions and issues: 1. H o w did the students feel about this new approach? 2. H o w effective would this new approach be in advancing the student's language and cognitive development? 3. H o w successful would drama in education be in terms of sparking a genuine interest in Shakespeare in the students? 4. In what different ways would the students negotiate personal meaning in their learning about literature through drama? 5. What would be the students' perceptions of their own learning about literature through drama? 6. W o u l d the thematic content of the drama relate to their Jewish historical and cultural background? 10 Establishing the Site Access to the subjects and the site presented no difficulties as I was the designated Engl ish teacher during the time of the study. A s a teacher researcher involved in the process of directing the drama project, my function was threefold, (1) to engage the students in their learning, (2) to direct the drama and observe the events of the drama as a teacher-in-role, and (3) to collect data that would document these events. M y classroom was the most obvious and appropriate site for the study as the students from the grade eight class had been attending classes in this room from the beginning of the year. M y classroom is rather small, has two large windows and is located in the far west wing of the school. The windows look out onto a vast playing field and beyond that a view of the mountains. The room is carpeted, has in it a teacher's desk at the centre front, a large seminar table on the left side and two rows of desks to the right. This classroom is one of a total of eight classrooms in the entire school. There are approximately fifty students enrolled in the school, al l of whom are of Jewish heritage. The school had originally been nothing more than a dream of one R a b b i who was firmly committed to the idea of advancing both Hebrew and Judaic studies among the young Jewish people in the area. There are presently no other Jewish high schools in the province. A s an independent and fledgling institution, the school gained its accreditation status from the Ministry in phases. Accreditat ion was granted for grade eight and nine in 1987 which was followed by accreditation of grades ten to twelve in 1990. Approximately ten percent of the students have immigrated to Canada from the M i d d l e East and Eastern European countries, and require Engl ish as a Second Language ( E S L ) instruction. 11 The school has developed and implemented two curricula, the traditional general studies and the Judaic studies, which include Talmud, Jewish Law, Navi , Chumash, Hebrew and Jewish values. E S L was offered in the school at the time of the study. A l l the students are required to complete a set number of Judaic credits in addition to the general study requirements mandated by the Ministry. Because of this dual curriculum students attend school from 8:25 A M to 4:10 P M and many attend an after school Judaic class extending their school day by one hour. The structure of an average school day differs from a regular public school day with an afternoon prayer named Mincha . The Jewish people pray three times daily, and the middle prayer, Mincha , represents a type of service to G o d practised by the Jewish people during the time of the first and the second temples. A s the Jewish people are waiting for the holy temple to be rebuilt, this prayer or Davening replaces the early temple sacrifices and prayers that were made to G o d . These sacrifices were intended to arouse a mood of repentance in the participant. So the prayer is, therefore, a temporary but important substitute for this ancient ritual. The students greet these prayers with a mixed response, some with indifference, some with rebellion and others with dedication and devotion. Other orthodox requirements that are inherent to the school's philosophy and practices include an adherence to a strict dress code, the wearing of a K ippo t for the males, and the attending of regular Shabbot and other religious holiday assemblies. The religious nature of the school provides a layer of richness to class discussions and is often at the heart of the students' written expressions of their views on life and on society. Dur ing the course of my study I began to recognize the importance of the religious content of the data I had collected. 12 Committing to the Project O f the fifty students enrolled in English classes, the grade eight class consisted of ten students. A l l the students involved in the study had obtained permission to do so. Three students from the class volunteered to be interviewed for the purpose of gathering data. M y selection of the grade was based on drama material previously prepared for a grade eight level class. This material had been prepared to meet grade-specific content recommendations suggested by the Ministry. Students were informed of the change in the approach to learning a Shakespearean play and were told that their written and verbal responses to the work would form a part of my research analysis. 13 M y Teaching Role A s I had been teaching at the school for three years, the students were all quite familiar with my expectations and my teaching style. I described some of the different kinds of activities that we would be engaging in as a way of learning about the play, and also explained that I would not always be assuming the role of "expert" but throughout the drama I would be in role as the facilitator or co-learner. Through these roles, I further explained, we would question the character's motives in the play, we would reflect on several of the themes in the play, and we would document in written form our responses to these activities. A s a percipient, which means to be both observer and participant, I participated in the drama activities and also observed how I was reacting to the dramatic sequences and how the students were reacting to them. A s teacher in role I assumed the role of Prince Escalus, the lawgiver in R o m e o and Juliet. This role served to bui ld belief and a sense of commitment in the students. It also enabled me to employ more creative strategies for asking questions and for assigning follow-up written homework. 14 D O C U M E N T I N G T H E E X P E R I E N C E A s a teacher researcher, I employed a variety of data collection techniques in order to identify the learning and to observe the literacy behaviours extending from the drama experiences. These techniques included five sources of data, including (1) students' homework assignments, (2) predetermined exam question responses, (3) video tapes of al l classes, (4) audio tapes of the classes, and (5) taped interviews with three students. Students wrote in their exercise books to explore and reflect on their experiences as a result of participating in the drama. They also wrote in these books as a means of extending a discussion, or for the purpose of introducing a content related issue to be explored in the next day's lesson. Other written responses to the dramatic sequences included a series of predetermined exam questions that I had created, and several creative writing assignments. A n example of one of the creative writing assignments was to script the unheard gossip that might have been exchanged between servants after Juliet's sudden death and Romeo 's banishment. These assignments were designed to encourage the students to explore their own insights on a given social situation or poli t ical di lemma. E x a m questions required the students to discuss, explore, and answer in the form of written compositions, the larger moral or social questions raised in the plays. V i d e o footage was gathered by recording each class from beginning to end. This was done either by myself or by a student in the class. One or two students who were self trained with video equipment volunteered to film the group presentations using hand held shots or close up shots. 15 A u d i o taping was done in two ways. If the students were working in groups each group was responsible for operating their own cassette recorder while one member from the group documented the name of the lesson and wrote each member's name on the outside of the cassette. If the drama activity involved the participation of the whole class, one tape recorder was set up in the center of the classroom and remained on record for the duration of the drama experience. I included interviewing as a part of my data collection strategy. Three students from the class volunteered to be interviewed, and were asked to describe in detail what each of the steps in the drama had meant to them personally. I asked them to include in their descriptions, any new perceptions or new ways of thinking that they had experienced as a result of participating in the drama. I then proceeded to inquire as to what they had learned from step number one, "Brainstorming the Grudge", and then step number two, "Physicalizing the Grudge", and so on. These interviews often developed into lengthy discussions based on a wide range of topics. 16 The Students' Thoughts and Reflections Throughout the study, students are given pseudonyms so as to assure their anonymity. Da ta from the student journals, essay responses, and transcriptions of taped interviews are presented verbatim. The description of the nine steps of the drama and the subsequent description of student responses to the drama, provided me with the necessary data from which to conduct this study. The following description of drama activities took approximately six weeks of classroom time: these included three one hour sessions per week, regular homework time, and a two hour final written response. The nine sequential steps to the drama were designed by myself and a colleague and were intended to provide the students with an introduction to the sixteenth century setting, the characters, the atmosphere of the feud, the developing plot, and the language and imagery of R o m e o and Juliet. The nine sequential steps invited the students to engage in activities such as brainstorming a grudge, storying the origin of a grudge, physicalizing a grudge, role playing a market scene, writing lines of script, presenting epitaphs, and finally reflecting on their own level of responsibility and involvement in the enmity that existed between the two feuding families. The dramatic experiences were not designed for the purpose of dramatizing the entire plot but rather were intended to be integrated into other language and literature activities for the specific purpose of illuminating certain key aspects of the story. 17 The First Step: "An Introduction" M y objective for this first activity was to focus on (a) the polit ical conflicts that are central to the play, and (b) the atmosphere and theme of human discord as manifested in a grudge. So I began with the following words: "Wi l l i am Shakespeare's R o m e o and Juliet is set in Verona , Italy during the sixteenth century. H i s direct source for the play was Ar thur Brooke 's poem entitled The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet published in 1562. The spirit of the Renaissance began in the city-states of northern Italy during the late 1400's and continued into the early 1500's. These Italian city states had grown extremely wealthy, mainly because merchants from Venice, Genoa, and Pisa controlled the most profitable trade routes to the eastern Mediterranean. M a n y of these city-states, such as Verona , were not only in competition with, but were frequently at war with, wealthy neighbouring families. Because our play opens with a scene of servants on the street armed with bucklers, we know that all is not well in Verona . V e r y quickly, these servants of the two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, break into a fight, one hating their enemy as much as the other." I wrote the following four lines of Prologue on the board and asked the students to find the lines in their own texts. T w o households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona , where we lay our scene, F r o m ancient grudge break new mutiny, Where civil b lood makes civil hands unclean. (Prologue 1.1-4) I further explained, 18 "Blood is going to be spilled and this civil b lood wi l l make civil hands unclean. The very order of the entire town is to be disturbed. Angry young servants roam the streets challenging each other with words such as, 'Draw thy tool ' , suggesting the idea of love bound up with violent death. Benvolio, nephew of Montague and a good friend of the main character Romeo , enters the scene. Tybalt, the nephew of Lady Capulet, also enters. H e is a hostile and fiery character and is terribly keen on fighting. E v e n o ld Montague and o ld Capulet, the heads of the two houses, attempt to enter into the feud action." A s an aside I added: "It would not have been unlikely that as bankers or wealthy merchants, o ld Montague and old Capulet would have been, behind the scenes, vying for large profits through commercial ventures or negotiating loans with the princes and/or with the leaders of the church. Finally, the Prince of V e r o n a who is the law-giver, enters the bloody street scene and attempts to restore the peace and good wi l l of his city." I invited the students to answer and discuss ideas about where we might find instances of such power and wealth today, what influences do such people have, and how common might grudges be between these kinds people? The students immediately answered by listing several examples, (1) Israel and Palestine (2) Bosnia and Herzegovina, (3) Catholics versus Protestants, (4) pro-abortionists versus pro-lifers (5) environmentalists versus logging industrialists, (6) wars over land or money, and (7) marital differences. This class was excited about the activity. Everyone had something to relate and was keen on sharing and extending their ideas. The drama had begun. 19 The Second Step: "From Ancient Grudge" I briefly explained the derivation of the word "grudge". I then asked the students to find a partner and to brainstorm as many different types of grudges of which they could think and also to consider possible origins for these grudges. After five minutes of doing this I then asked them to write a short dialogue that might have developed between any one of the two opposing parties. This activity took them about ten minutes to complete and they are quickly ready to read their dialogues aloud. The first group of students presented their work; they have titled it, "The grudge of Christians versus Jews", Ishmael: H e y you Jew! Josh: Shalom, Shalom Halecham. Ishmael: Y o u dirty Jew you used my child's b lood to make your matzas. Josh: What? W e do not k i l l . W e are not murderers. It is against our T O R A H ! Ishmael: Torah-Sorah. Don ' t tell me stories, I saw with my own eyes. Josh: So you are happy with what Hi t le r did with us Jews. H a ! I can see it. Y o u are very happy. Ishmael: Y e s ! I am very happy, and I would have done the same. Josh: Listen, I don't want to argue with you, and you can believe whatever you want. But we are not murderers, and we would never do such a thing. Good-bye, I must leave as I am late for Shul. Ishmael: Shalom Halecham. 20 In setting up this activity I had expected more everyday adolescent issues to arise based on either school or T . V . related themes or on issues based on their own personal lives. Whi l e some of these issues did surface, I was genuinely surprised at the degree of emotional intensity demonstrated by the students regardless of the nature the content. The next grudge dialogue was called "The Student Grudge": Rache l : Wai t a minute, you didn't do the homework and I did. M a y a : So? Rache l : W e l l , work on the project at lunch since we are partners. M a y a : Hey, have you got something against me because I didn't do the assignment? Rache l : Y e s I definitely do. M a y a : W e l l don't hold a grudge or anything. Once again the intensity of their involvement was remarkable. This homework exchange was as real an issue and as valid a grudge as the Christian Jewish exchange, and from my adult point of view I had to be careful not to give it any less credence. It was important for me to note that there was learning going on here. I asked the students i f this is a common occurrence and they al l shouted back with a unanimous "yes". The next group of students to came forward tell the class in advance that their dialogue is going on right now. Hagar: W e Arabs want you to know that Palestine is a holy place for our people. Esther: If we were to give part of it to you, you would only want more and more! 21 Plus you are asking for places that have become established homes for many Jewish families. These peoples' lives would be in danger. Hagar : But the K o r a n is the only true Bible and it says that we should have Palestine. Ester: Absolutely not! This is where we left off as we found the discussion difficult to resolve. The subjects for these dialogues continued to cover a wide range of ideas from the issue of abortion to domestic marriage spats, to the politics of religion, to the everyday disagreements between friends in the classroom. Dur ing the presentations of these dialogues I played a very minor role as the students listened intently to their classmates' presentations and after each presentation, engaged in a lively discussion. Towards the end of the activity I asked the students why they did not feel compelled to resolve any of their grudges. One student responded by saying that "the only way to do this is to compromise somehow ... because of the grudges there is very little grey area, you know what I mean? Unfortunately, there is usually very little compromise going on." Knowing that there would be many more opportunities in the drama to discuss this issue, I drew the students' attention back to the plot of the play and comment on how quickly the feud is resolved once the two young lovers have tragically died. T o this, the same student replied, "Wel l one of the best ways to resolve a grudge is a tragedy or a sacrifice. Y o u see the thing is, that people in my opinion like grudges. It is precisely why people like to become lawyers, because they like to argue. People don't l ike to make sacrifices to stop the arguments, and they take pleasure in uprising against 22 another force to try to crush i t . . . I mean this may sound brutal but it is the truth. F o r every grudge there is going to be a sacrifice one way or another whether it is actually someone dying or it is another kind of symbolic sacrifice." This comment spurred the discussion on to a conversation about ancient pagan sacrifices which I presumed the students had been studying in their Jewish history courses. So I asked the students i f they had become aware of these ancient pagan sacrifices from their Bible studies? Ishmael responded with the following answer, There have been a few such as ... wel l this one applies to both the Jewish religion and to the Christian religion. Moses was taking the Jews out of Egypt to Israel and the Egyptians were chasing when G o d decided to split the sea, and then he closed the sea and the Jews celebrated. G o d didn't l ike this and so he said, 'Hey, I had to sacrifice these Egyptians and these are my children too, don't think that you are the only people in this wor ld that I love'. So you see, to resolve anything there has to be a sacrifice. The only other thing that can resolve a grudge is fear of punishment. It's the same as how a deadline can really bring forces together to do something; same as with grudges, such as, well you know how different countries try to keep their technologies from each other because they all want to be the most powerful. I was watching a show yesterday, and it said that if the sun were to nova in about 1000 years it would probably bring al l the countries together to resolve their differences and to work together to figure out a way to get off this planet. I 23 think that it is the same way with al l grudges; some kind of penalty is going to have to happen sooner or later. Y o u can't really save two people ... resolve your grudge ... you have to have more motivation than that. In an interview setting, and after completing the drama work, I asked this student whether or not he thought it possible for mankind to resolve their differences before people became victims and lives were taken. H e said, People say that we learn from every mistake we make, but I disagree. I think that we can learn from the small mistakes. I mean have you noticed how many miracles have happened in the past and still people haven't learned? Okay, I believe that after the statues were built for R o m e o and Juliet everything would be okay for about a year and then no doubt, another grudge would happen, and the Montagues and Capulets would be fighting again. If it were today someone would put spray paint on them and start it all over again. Such as it says from history or religious history anyway, that first G o d split the R e d Sea and then al l the plagues that Moses impositioned the Pharaoh with ... and what did we do but worship the golden calf ... you know what I mean. I mean people don't really learn that much. I think before humankind can resolve grudges on his own he wi l l have to evolve a lot mentally. Because the way we are now, our minds are really more tuned into hate. 24 I agreed with the student and said that in life it often does seem that man finds it easier to hate. H e interrupted me and said, Notice in life how many more enemies a person has than friends? If you get on the phone and the receptionist is rude it's an enemy. I think in fact that a lot of enemies are made out of fear, okay because an enemy is easier to deal with than a friend. In order to have a friend you have to be there for them and an enemy you just leave them alone, you avoid them. It takes a lot more sacrifice to make a friend than a enemy and people hate to make sacrifices. This student was no longer negotiating meaning transactionally but in fact was creating what Stanley Straw (1990) describes as a "parallel text". This theory essentially suggests that meaning is no longer the property of the text but is seen as a product of what the student himself is bringing to the text: his personal constructs of knowledge, his background knowledge and his wi l l to comprehend the text. The student's basis of comprehension was not in the surface structure of the plot or in the written script of the play but was in meanings and relevances that he had already located as background information within his own inner life and surrounding environment. It would appear as i f the role drama experience has invoked a degree of cognitive competence as a result of the student's frequent attempts to make connections to constructs of knowledge that he already knew. The students had previously been divided into groups of two and had been asked to interview their partners on the nature and the cause of the grudge. Another grudge 25 dialogue, based on the current day issue of abortion, was presented as follows, A b r a m : What i f the woman is raped? E z r i : So, she wi l l be taken care of and she wi l l have the child quite happily. A b r a m : W o u l d you have more poor and more homeless children running around on the street? E z r i : W h y do you think that they wi l l be poor? A b r a m : Because often times women who have babies by accident just don't have the money to feed them. E z r i : They don't have any families to take care of them? A b r a m : Sometimes they don't! E z r i : But there are houses that take care of those babies. A b r a m : Those houses are getting full, orphanages are getting full and they are underfunded. E z r i : So the government should take care of them. A b r a m : The government is in a deficit already. I am very careful not to interfere with this discussion as I know that the nature of the subject is a controversial one in Jewish law. I found myself leery about pursuing the pro-abortion argument, and I remember thinking at the time something like, "oh my G o d , what have I unleashed here." I am profoundly aware that this k ind of discussion could easily offend some of the more orthodox students. Later that day, when reflecting on my own hesitancy and fears to further pursue the discussion, I began to confront my own personal convictions on abortion and also the degree to which the drama can invoke emotional responses in both the students and the teacher. 26 However, in being committed to this process I realized two other things, (1) that enabling emotional involvement is essential i f the students are to become committed to the drama and i f the drama is to become a source for them to learn and to construct their own meaning, and (2) that the teacher leadership role I had undertaken required me to trust my intuition i n order to gauge the appropriateness of continuing or discontinuing the discussion. I believed that I was working as a teacher-artist at this moment. The discussion continued, E z r i : The government should take care of them. They are human people, they are alive, they have souls. W e can't just throw them away like garbage. A b r a m : W o u l d you rather have a baby alive for, say a week, or for a baby that lives life time of crime and poverty, and starvation? E z r i : N o , i f I know ahead that he is going to be out on the street and going to be starving to death and these kinds of things then of course. I 'm not punishing them. E z r i had come from Israel and had been in Canada attending our school for only six months. H e had not participated in many other class discussions and certainly never to this degree. H e was considered to be an E S L student and so I have never really assessed, in earnest, either his comprehension or writing capabilities. M a n y students had raised their hands and were keen on voicing their opinion. T h e first student addressed the Israeli student. Rache l : I don't understand why you didn't really answer any of the questions asked. Y o u just pushed most of them away. I don't know, but I feel that you 27 weren't presenting a very good view. I then tried to re-word the argument for the student by saying that it is difficult to determine when exactly a fetus comes to possess a soul. M a n y people feel very strongly about the rights of the unborn child. Channah: But M s . Morr i son , do you think that if a girl is raped at fourteen does she have time to come out of school with al l the problems that she already has? Some of the students seem to be uncomfortable with the discussion so I tell them that I think it is a difficult issue to resolve given the obvious moral , ethical, and religious ramifications. Other grudge dialogues are presented and each one seems to provoke more discussions, all with definite opposition and a variety of differing opinions. M a n y social forces are at play. First, the students are bringing to the activity their own personally construed constructs of ideas relating to the discussions of their classmates. Some of them are heavily influenced by the religious tradition from which they have been trained, and others from an genuine position of inquiry. It seems that meaning for these students is no longer the property of the Shakespearean text, but has become a product of the student's interpretive activities and interpretive communications. Stanley Straw (1990) suggests that this type of communicative function of reading is gaining more and more attention. H e states that reading comprehension is seen as a result of transactions and negotiations between reader and text, and this type of transactional comprehension has been found to increase retention. Furthermore, as informed readers the students are gaining competence 28 through a membership in an interpretive community. They are not only competently participating in the meaning of the text but have temporarily suspended their own identity and have come to assume a role quite different from their own. This personal and social involvement enhances their understanding of the human implications underlying the text. The drama has provided a powerful and necessary literacy tool. The following excerpts are two examples of students' attempts to explain the origin of the feud in narrative form. The students had prepared these at home as part of their homework assignment. It al l started when shopowner W i l l i a m stared at Lady Jessica with lustful eyes. Needless to say that when her brother T i m saw this he went into such a rage that he burned down Wil l ' s shop. Later , W i l l made his gang bloodthirsty for Tim's head. Af ter the first attack, T i m got his revenge. The blood, red as wine, has left a permanent stain on the streets of our city. The second student began her story with, "I know exactly how the grudge started...." and then continued very authoritatively to say, One day, at the market place, a tradesman from one of the families (I know not which one) accused the other of stealing a dime from his money bag. Then they found other reasons to get angry at each other, and it evolved into this huge grudge, until this very day. I was pleased that the students were creating stories that were metaphorically true 29 to the sixteenth century atmosphere of the play. The stories indicated that the students had engaged in a way of giving structure and meaning to the experiences that they had in the previous class. This k ind of literacy behaviour has been defined by literacy-response theorists, as "storying" (Hanssen, Harste, and Short, 1990). It is a valuable exercise as it creates and provides metaphors and helps to develop signs or meaning from the students' experiences that eventually contribute to a construction of a new wor ld view. W h e n we internalize these stories we condense them, and when we tell stories, the opposite happens simply because we are trying to make our connections clear to others (p. 162). B y creating such a dramatic frame the students had found their own voice. In the next step the students would be physicalizing, in the form of a tableau, an incident leading up to their grudge stories that would bui ld further belief in their newly constructed ideas and views. 30 The Third Step: "Physicalizing the Grudge" In this next step, the students in their groups of two, joined together to form groups of four for the purpose of creating tableaus that would capture the original incident leading up to their grudges. This activity is an illustrative\performance activity that intends to show through a still depiction or still photograph an actual event or idea. A s described by Bol ton (1992), it "usually entails pupils getting into small groups, discussing a focus, trying things out to meet the task, holding the picture still while the rest of the class observes, relaxing and hearing comments, and giving further explanation i f it seems necessary" (p.23). The tableau is a valuable learning tool given its power to achieve, i n a short per iod of time, a depiction that effectively gets at the essence of the subject material, and at the same time stimulates discussion during its preparation. Whi l e students worked I circulated among the different groups to encourage or offer suggestions. The room was a hive of activity. After approximately five minutes I asked each group to prepare to freeze their tableau and to hold it. I also told them that I would tap one person on the shoulder and that person must be prepared to "speak their thought" as a character in the grudge scene. E a c h group presented with a degree of artistry and uniqueness. I was amazed at how committed each member was to having their scene read accurately. The scenes dealt with the same conflicts raised in the brainstorming activity, and once again I was reminded about humanity's propensity to engage in conflict. In one scene students were pointing guns at each other, and in another a student was gesturing to stab another student in the back. It made me shudder! 31 The Four th Step: "In F a i r Verona " . . . . .Civi l B l o o d Makes C i v i l Hands Unclean" The activities in the next step included the role-playing of a market scene, cumulative speaking, casting of characters and teacher-in-role. I began with the following text, I'd l ike you now to think about a craft or a sale i tem that you wi l l be preparing to sell at a weekly market fair in the town of Verona . A t these markets, merchants traded in horses, furs, fish, wine, gold, fine silk, etc. Artisans also sold and displayed their works. I would l ike you to think of a simple task that wi l l be connected with it: one that wi l l allow you to sit or stand and one that is repetitive. F o r instance, i f you are a cobbler, you may be sewing very tiny stitches into the seam of a sole on a boot. If you are a goldsmith you might be working on chiselling the fine line of a vein on the surface of a hand on your sculpture. Y o u wi l l , of course, be allied with either the Montague family or the Capulet family. Whi le you are working on your task, think of a line that you could say to the craftsperson on the opposite side of the courtyard whose item for sale is obviously inferior to your own. I wi l l divide the group in half and we wi l l soon begin the fair. Remember to keep the grudges in mind that you thought of earlier, as one of these grudges may apply to the person opposite who is also trying to make a profit on his goods for sale. There are certain other facts that you might want to avail yourself of before either buying or selling goods at the market fair, - Mal lards , i f young, wi l l have supple quills on their wings. - A good hen must have been bled by the throat and immediately put in cold water to 32 die. - Wine must not have too much water or mould. - A good women to buy from is a chaste women. - A good horse is recognized by the quality of its dung ...also check its gums for slime. - M a k e sure meat has not been mixed with sand to increase its weight. W e then proceeded to set up the room to prepare for our market scene. The students labelled themselves either as Capulets or as Montagues and gave themselves name tags according to the craft that they had chosen to role-play. The trades ranged from tailors, weavers, and bakers, to carpenters, spinners, and goldsmiths. They quickly began to find ways to work at their craft task and at the same time to articulate reasons why their goods were superior to the products being sold by a craftsperson from the opposite side of the fair grounds. Wi th in a very short period of time the students now in role as craftspeople were screaming at one another and were quite out of control. Some of them were even hurling insults at one another that pertained to ideas in the script of the play, " Y o u dirty rotten scoundrel you deserve to carry coals ...." " O h dare you, I heard that your R o m e o had the nerve to crash our sacred festival." "Your servants are illiterate!" "Your servants always start fights." "Your meat is puffed with wind." No t being an actress at heart, I found this next step in the drama as teacher in role difficult. But realizing that this strategy places individual students ' in context' (Bolton, 33 1992, p.32) requiring more than a non-committal response, I mustered my confidence and said, "What, ho! Y o u men, you beasts..." "Rebellious subjects, enemies of the peace..." "Stop your fire of pernicious rage..." "....another civil brawl has on yonder square disturbed the quiet of our street. I am here to find out i f any of you know why this ancient quarrel has been new abroached?" Hav ing arrested their attention I moved in closer and began to demand a direct response from each of the different participants, "Do you, baker, know anything pertaining to this ancient quarrel?" "Do you, shoemaker?" "Do you, winemaker?" "Do you know anything at all about this quarrel? Have you had any involvement? The students say nothing at first. Then one said, "Nothing, Prince". The tension in the air was palpable. Thei r silence and the one response of 'nothing', suggested to me that the students had taken ownership of the experience and had assumed responsibility for their individual roles. The medium of teacher in role is highly symbolic and also creates a social interaction. Ye t , as Bol ton describes it, "it is more than a direct experience because of 'metaxds' (seeing from two worlds at the same time) giving a reflective edge to the role-play which direct experience often lacks" (p.33). I asked the students to describe what they had experienced during this step in the 34 drama. One student started the discussion, Ishmael: The market scene is, well , a market scene anywhere; people were screaming at each other. The interesting thing about the market scene that people never think badly about themselves afterwards. The Capulets would never say that they were wrong. O h , and something else in the market scene is that people would even compete to blame some one else. I responded by saying, "But this element of competition, isn't it simply based on the drive to sell such as what we might find in any business minded individual?" Ishmael: Yes , I think so. L o o k at the car industry for example where sales men say, "look at this car", and say,"it is the best car ... and that the other dealership has bad cars." Wherever there is going to be sales there is going to be this hatred. M e : What do we think underlies this hatred? Ishmael: The people just want to get more for themselves. M e : So it is based on greed? Ishmael: Y e s or desire for more money. M e : D o we think that it might be a good idea then to eradicate al l competition from schools? Ishmael: See the thing is, with competition you either get evolution or hatred, or you go back to your pr imal instinct which is hate. I think the one thing that has slowed our evolution has been fear and hate. M e : Al though I wouldn't call our century a slow moving period in history, at least not in terms of its technological developments, would you? 35 Ishmael: But, M s . Morr i son , can you imagine how much further ahead we would be if al l the countries would share their technologies and their wisdoms? M e : Yes , I agree with you. This social dialogue that is being exchanged between students and teacher and between students and students carries significant meaning. I realize that it could become quite involved and probably lengthy, yet my heart did a small flip for this k ind of maturity in a discussion does not often occur in an English eight classroom. In Beyond Communicat ion Bogdan & Straw (1990) attempt to re-conceptualize theories on reading under the central rubric of "actualization" models. M o v i n g the traditional notion that the text was a means to transmit the author's meaning, literary theory changed to the concept that the primary purpose of reading was for communication. The "beyond communication" model , or actualization model , places the importance of reading on the readers to realize his own potential and meaning within his own individual set of circumstances (Bogdan & Straw, 1990, p.3). If students conclude that the emotion of hatred is connected to man's need to be competitive which stems from man's capacity to be greedy, they have created meanings in a social interaction, and internalized these interactions in the form of thought (Bakhtin, 1973). Hanssen, Harste, and Short (1990) write about the significance of dialogue or social interaction in the learning process as being a way of making connections that the reader would not have otherwise made. E a c h of us wi l l understand what is being said in terms of the meanings we already have. The meanings in our head have come from other conversations that we have experienced. Af ter 36 we have parted and we think about our conversation, we wi l l be engaging in a k ind of inner dialogue between the meanings created in our conversation and those coming out of other conversations we have experienced (Bogdan & Straw, 1990 p.260). Basically what this means is that new ideas wi l l have been created from this internalization or inner dialoguing process. 37 The Fifth Step: "Let Lips Do What Hands Do" By way of introducing this next step the students were asked to find, read, and study selected excerpts from the script that would help to introduce and demonstrate Shakespeare's contrasting, almost antithetical, themes of love and hate. The first excerpt identified was spoken by Romeo: Romeo: Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will! Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here? Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here's much to do with hate, but more with love: Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O anything, of nothing first create! Act I, Scene i, 1, 168-174 The students recognized the hatred as being the hatred between the Capulets and the Montagues. The love as being a love that we learn later is for Rosaline and also learn about Shakespeare's use of oxymorons. Other scenes identified are the sword fighting scenes and the scene where Romeo and Juliet exchange their first words of love. One student Josh was very astute in his observations regarding the crossing over of the love and the hate action: Josh: "When Romeo and Juliet fall in love they are crossing over a dangerous line!" We took some time to discuss this point. 38 T o begin this next drama activity I asked the students to resume their previous roles of either Capulets or Montagues and to stand on opposite sides of the room. They then chose and faced a partner from the enemy family. Once each student had found a partner I said, "Listen very carefully to these instructions and when I have finished giving you the instructions I wi l l give you a signal to begin. D o not move until I give you a signal to do so. First, you wi l l begin by moving very slowly towards your partner. Then, when you are an arm's distance away from your partner, challenge your partner with an aggressive statement of hate in the form of a number, e.g. one, then try two, then try three and so on. Y o u r partner wi l l then return the challenge by verbalizing in a slightly louder voice a larger digit number. Start with a low number and increase the number as you get more angry. Continue to increase the number exchange and increase the volume and the forcefulness of the challenge. The tension may become almost uncontrollable when the exchange reaches this point. B o t h partners wi l l find a hand gesture that wi l l , without making physical contact, represent the emotion. A s a final culmination, verbalize your feelings of hatred by exchanging one short line of dialogue. Is everyone ready? Okay, (I give them a hand signal) begin now." The room was electric. I could feel the silent movements, the eye contact, an ever so slight hesitation and then a head long rush of rising anger. In the culminating moment fists rose in hatred, others stabbed the air with punching gestures, and al l were screaming out verbal exchanges of hatred, "Enemy" "Die!" 39 "Scum" "Give it up!" "You ' re pathetic." I had to ask them several times to come out of role and to relax. Once they relinquished their roles, I continued the drama as a narrator and said the following, " A t the beginning of the play, R o m e o is madly in love with Rosaline. However, Rosaline, having the wisdom of Diana , the virgin Goddess, has managed to avoid Cupid 's arrow and wi l l not allow herself to stay the siege of loving terms. Suddenly, the Eros or Cup id , angry at being left out of things, strikes down R o m e o and Juliet with his arrows of love". "I would like you now to reverse the exercise you have just experienced by beginning with your very loud, aggressive exchange of numbers and then very slowly soften your tone while you decrease your numbers. W h e n you feel it is appropriate, find a hand gesture that wi l l represent the emotions. There are many references in the play to hands. Remember for example when R o m e o said to Juliet, 'Let lips do what hands do...' Then, as a final expression of love, exchange, in turn, one line of dialogue. Begin now." This time the students reacted very differently. They were easily able to repeat their expressions of hate but found it very difficult to reverse the situation. This time I felt their hesitancy; I wondered i f some of them would make the transition at a l l . W i t h great reluctance they yielded. Some appeared ashamed, embarrassed even, and quietly made amends by saying, 40 "I'm sorry." "Friends?" "One." "Okay?" Others shook hands in silence. Throughout the course of watching this activity I realized that the emotion of hate lies just beneath the surface. I understand the importance of the emotional protection offered by being in role. Emot iona l involvement is minimal because the event only appears to be happening now, and the priority is to experience the emotion through the context of theatre rather than directly. This form of dramatic behavior, is therefore, automatically protective (Bolton, 1984, p. 128). W e stopped for reflection as I was aware of the need to guide and care for students after this type of work. The following three conversations were shared in an interview setting and took place after reflecting on the entire drama, M e : What did you think about the power of this exercise to transform the emotion of hate into an emotion of love? Sarah: That it's easier to hate than to love because it's easier to find flaws than it is to find good qualities. Yes , it's easier to have a negative approach than a positive (one). M e : Has this changed your perspective on your own world? Sarah: A bit, you think that you shouldn't criticise people or whatever. M e : D o students in your class criticise one another? Sarah: If you read this play, you k ind of think that you shouldn't criticise each 41 other and that's it. It's really easier i f you think what would you do i f you were in that position of being affected by hate, what would you do? L i k e if you try to put yourself in somebody else's shoes then you don't want to hate them. M e : A n d this was something you learned from the play? Sarah: Through most of the exercises. The second student's response was also quite philosophical: A b r a m : I think this was one of the most important experiences of al l because it showed that it is much easier to get mad or to hate someone than it is to stop hate or to love. Y o u know it was very difficult to say let's be friends. M e : D o you think the world would be a better place i f we had been created with different inclinations? A b r a m : N o , I think the wor ld is good just the way it is. Because in every bad thing there is a good thing. F o r example when something bad happens to you to try to find the reasons that might be good about it. The third response was as follows, M e : A n d what did you think of this activity? Sara: W e l l , i f you hate for long enough you get bored of it and then you have nothing to lose. But me personally, I can't be angry for more than a day, where as others can take the smallest thing and hold a grudge for more than a year. A n d maybe never forgive. M e : I agree, a day is as long as I want to be mad at someone. It is no doubt very 42 important to resolve our differences as soon as possible. H o w ironic I thought to myself. The drama was about grudges and long standing grudges yet this student had not yet made this connection. Should I push h im any further in this direction? Is this really what I want here or not? I realized that with this k ind of teaching this particular moment begs a curriculum question, but I said nothing more. What I also observed from this was that three different students, although they have participated in the same "supportive community of readers", have used their own interpretive strategies to negotiate meaning. The language being shared has established a social context and the social context has influenced further learning but the students' responses could not be described as revealing the same mode of comprehension. The drama had enabled the students to engage in reading as a subjective act and not as an objective act. Reader response theorist, Dav id Ble ich (1980) suggests that the experience of reading is a personal development of making meaning. The reader constructs meaning according to his background ideology, his prior knowledge, and his own personal purpose for reading. Ble ich draws some very strong assumptions about subjective reading and literature pedagogy when he says that "the purpose of pedagogical institutions from the nursery through the university is to synthesize knowledge rather than to pass it along (transmission): schools become the regular agency of subjective initiative" (p.159). 43 The Sixth Step: "Shame Shall Come to Romeo" Once again I asked the students to assume their previous roles as either Capulets or Montagues. I gave a piece of paper to each member of both families. I then asked for a volunteer from each group: one to be R o m e o and the other to be Juliet. After narrating the details of the events that take place at the Capulet bal l where the two lovers meet, fall violently in love, and on the very same night not only prove that their "bent of love is honourable" but also insist that on the very next day the intention of marriage be confirmed, I asked the two 'lovers' to leave the room. I then asked each member of the two families to write a few lines of advice or chastisement to R o m e o if they were Montagues, or to Juliet i f they were Capulets. Whi le doing this I explained that one person in each group had already received their lines of dialogue from lines actually spoken by the Fr ia r in A c t II, Scene i i i . Whi le these lines of dialogue are being created and scripted, I coached the 'lovers' who were out in the corridor and told them that they are to enter the room, find their respective families and state their intention to marry the other. Wi th in minutes I called the young lovers in and they took their places inside the center of the family circles. Juliet's family chastised and advised her in the following ways, #1 Montague: Juliet, Juliet, Juliet. W e are enemies! It's l ike mixing fire and ice. I 'd rather see you dead than marry a Montague. #2 Capulet: A r e you crazy?! Don ' t you know what you're talking about? Come to your senses and realize how foolish you've been. Come to your senses before they k i l l you. 44 #3 Montague: Juliet, we have been best friends for a long time and both of us know that this marriage wi l l end in a terrible tragedy. Hate and love just don't go together l ike that. Th ink about what your parents wi l l say when they find out. E v e n though you love him, this is a great mistake, trust me! #4 Montague: She is a Capulet so you won't have a chance for this love, especially after you ki l led Tybalt. Capulets are al l bad and bloody. It's impossible to be their friends. R o m e o and Juliet remained true to each other and were quite adamant about defending their love in spite of family pressure. I then signalled to the two students who had the lines of script spoken by the Friar , and asked them to rescue the two lovers. Joining hands with both R o m e o and Juliet, the two Friars say, in turn, the following lines, . . . I ' l l thy assistant be; for this alliance may so happy prove, to turn your household's rancour to pure love. A c t II, Sc i i i , 90-92 I asked one member from each family to collect the scripts and bring them to me. W e then came out of role to discuss the activity. Issues that the students were concerned about had to with the safety of what Juliet was about to do and the foolhardiness of what R o m e o had already done. They compared it to intermarriage within their own Jewish culture. This I know is strictly forbidden, as I have heard the 45 problem of intermarriage being compared to the devastation of the holocaust. They recognized the ways in which R o m e o and Juliet have become isolated from family and friends but were not prepared to empathize with their situation. They thought that the act of falling in love with an enemy should have been avoided. I felt a mixture of emotions as I observed these students being what I perceived to be too rigid and overly disciplined in their thinking about this issue. I asked the class what they thought about the words of advice offered to R o m e o and Juliet. M a y a : W e l l I said follow your heart but don't get into trouble. M e : But what i f it was your own daughter who had fallen in love with an enemy? M a y a : (This answer was given emphatically) I would say, N O W A Y ! Channah: But they are from the same religion and they are the same colour! Ester: Channah, the Capulets and the Montagues take their differences quite seriously. Channah: Doesn' t matter how seriously they take it: one comes from G o d and the other's from man. They have only been in love for a day. They are spoiled. This last student was comparing the difference between a Jewish person intermarrying versus a non-Jewish person. The Jewish people believe that they are the chosen people of G o d and i f they intermarry they have violated a dictate from G o d . 46 The Seventh Step: "I'll Thy Assistant Be" This next activity is an adaptation of F o r u m Theatre. This illustrative/performance form of drama activity was created by Augusto B o a l (1979) and was used by Bo l ton (1992, p.25). The method is a form of participation theatre where a team of actors presents a social or moral issue-related problem with the purpose of empowering the audience (class) to take action to change society or the given moral di lemma at hand. I suggested that a good way to begin our F o r u m Theatre might be to bring R o m e o , Juliet, and the Fr ia r forward and have them try to find a solution to their problem. The problem was identified by the Fr ia r as follows, "The love between the two of you has been oppressed by your own growing loyalties to each other and by your own diminishing loyalties to state and family. Y o u have become victimized by your parents' enmity. H o w can we solve this problem? C a n we find a peaceful solution?" Students volunteer to play the roles of the Friar , R o m e o and Juliet. Fr iar : Y o u are forcing yourselves to love one another. T don't think that two people who have been in love for only one night are really in love. Therefore you should not get married as it would end very unhappily and probably tragically. Anyway, I highly doubt that you are in love. Juliet: If you believe this then why did you marry us? (The first student acting as the Fr ia r was very determined to neither accept the marriage, nor to try to undo the bond. The student acting as Juliet bravely, and with equal determination, insisted on confronting the marriage issue.) 47 Juliet: Y o u know us very well and you love us. So your lines are not really right. Y o u know that we are truly in love. I think we should run away. R o m e o : No t a good idea. W e are already married and people would only pursue us. W e would be chased after for the rest of our lives. W e ' d be on the look-out for ever. Juliet: N o they won't. They don't realize how stupid they are. They ' l l say that they have lost their heirs and then no-one wi l l have to die. Fr iar : A n d then they'll realize what a terrible mistake they've made and they wi l l learn a great lesson in the end. R o m e o : N o , they won't learn. They ' l l find us and we' l l say you're right and blah, blah and then we ' l l all be happy. Not . W e ' l l run away because we have to run away. Fr iar : But it wi l l only bring more hate to the two families as each family wi l l blame the other family. Juliet: O r maybe we could just see each other some time or, I don't know, or maybe I could tell my parents that I 'm going to live on my own or with my friends and then. The Fr iar interrupts, Fr iar : E a c h one of you should go separately to your parents. Ta lk to them about it, and i f they won't let you marry then come to me and I w i l l divorce you. Juliet: (Grabbing Romeo's hand) N O ! ... we love each other. W e do not want a divorce. Fr iar : So you love each other more than you love your parents? Juliet: I don't even know what my parent's first names are. Yes , my parents hate me!!!!! They even call me a bloody piece of sewage. 48 Friar : Maybe they hate you because you have acted so immature by getting married. Juliet: That's no way to make me love them. I love R o m e o more than life itself. The student acting as R o m e o is quite rational. She wants to maintain the best of both worlds and not create any kind of a disturbance. The student playing Juliet, however, is wil l ing to turn her back on family and friends and create a new wor ld for herself. The student playing the role of the Fr ia r is remaining true to her original conviction which is that these two have done something wrong. The marriage was not sanctified by their family and was therefore wrong. M e : D o you think that it is possible to find a way to bring peace between the two families? A student acting as audience shouts out: IT 'S N O T G O I N G T O H A P P E N ! ! ! ! ! ! It seemed as though the students themselves did not want to pursue the possibilities of resolving the issue based on any kind of a 'peace plan ' and so I moved on to the next activity. I asked the students in small groups to read the final scenes in the play that lead to the death of both R o m e o and Juliet. W e paraphrased together the Friar 's description of what has happened, and then read aloud, and al l together the final reconciliation between L o r d Montague and L o r d Capulet. W e noticed that L o r d Capulet took the hand of L o r d Montague and called him, "brother". Montague responded with, "I wi l l raise her statue in pure gold; That whiles V e r o n a by that name is known, 49 There shall no figure at such rate be set A s that of true and faithful Juliet. Capulet agrees to do the same for Romeo , A s r ich shall Romeo 's by his lady's lie, Poor sacrifices of our enmity! A c t I V , sc i i i , 1.299-304. 50 The Eighth Step: "Poor Sacrifices of our Enmity" F o r this next step I asked the students to work in groups of four, two as statues of R o m e o and Juliet and the other two presenting epitaphs to the statues. The presentations of the epitaphs would, when enacted, depict the effect of the evil feud on the entire society of Verona . They took this task very seriously. Epitaphs: G r o u p #1: (For Romeo) It brings woe to us because he is with us no longer... ...a fencer in life and a lover in death. (For Juliet) Juliet who saw through the hate for my love— wi l l always be remembered. Group #2: (For Juliet) W h o died for her love of R o m e o a Montague; They helped make peace between two feuding families, M u c h love, a Montague. (For Romeo) Romeo , a victim of the ongoing hatred between the Montagues and the Capulets. A young soul whose first real love was to his first real enemy. He re stands the monument for brave young R o m e o . 51 G r o u p #3: (For Romeo) Romeo , ki l led by hate, l ived with love; He re now his statue stands above. (For Juliet) He re is to Juliet, who lived through great sorrow, She was deeply cared for and deeply loved. W e hope she finds peace in the heavens above, Best of peace and silence, oh Juliet. G r o u p #4: (For Romeo) Here 's to Romeo , a sacrifice of power used to bring peace; A good man who loved his enemy. (For Juliet) Here 's to Jul ie t . . . here is for our love who died; B y death she shall receive her wish for peace. The presentations of the epitaphs were serious and solemn. The statues had been sculptured to show the hands of the two lovers in many different positions. They were either being joined or joining, and while one pair was reaching up high as i f in a gesture of tr iumph, another pair was on the verge of touching as i f in a state of frozen innocence. The symbolism of love, peace, and reconciliation was most evident in the students work. I asked the groups to present their epitaphs one more time and to freeze their positions upon completion. I also told the students that I would be i n role as the Prince by the time they had finished presenting their offerings. In role I said to them, 52 " Y o u vain and stupid people. Y o u have all been so busy presenting your gold "dowries"... and for what purpose? T o absolve yourselves of the responsibility of the deaths of young R o m e o and young Juliet? Y o u have been spending al l your money on gold, how ostentatious! I ' l l hear none of it. E a c h of you is responsible and each of you wi l l be pardoned or punished according to the laws of this city. The court wi l l hear your defense and the jury wi l l decide who the enemies of these two innocent victims really are." A student interrupted to say, Ishmael: They should both compromise or fight very hard to end this thing because really they both thought each other was wrong. (He pauses) There is no real redemption for either the Capulets or for the Montagues, except it is better for them to at least do something like raise a statue than do nothing. M e : Why? Ishmael: Because maybe it's symbolic of the peace to come .... W h i c h was their wish the whole time. M e : So symbols of peace can be as important as peace itself. Okay. This discussion created a perfect transition to the next step which was an activity designed to make the students think more about the causes and the effects of colliding social forces that exist in the play and to consider who might be ultimately responsible for maintaining peace, order and good government in society. 53 The Ninth Step: "Some Shall be Pardon'd and Some Shall be Punished" Feel ing the pressure of time, and knowing that this was the last class we had allowed for the drama work, I proceeded. I hoped that the students would continue to think about the ideas shared in the last discussion, and would find a way of expressing their thoughts on the topic in their written responses. Having this thought, I then extracted the papers from step 5 ("Let L ips D o What Hands Do") and subpoenaed each of the involved individuals according to the words of warning that he or she had each written down earlier. I asked the students who had been in role as Capulets to stand on the right side of the room, and the students who had been in role as Montagues to stand on the right side of the room. In role as Verona 's lawgiver, I said, "I now call on the feuding person who was heard to have said to R o m e o on the day of August 14, 1562, ... The love is not all, it is not that important. This love and hate wi l l not disappear so you should disappear. R u n away! G o o d luck and farewell. (The accused comes forward.) Expla in to the court your role in the deaths of R o m e o and Juliet. Include in your statement reasons why you should be either pardoned or punished in this story of woe." Accused #1: "I'm innocent. M e n , women of the jury, I want to say that I 'm not guilty. They died because of love. They trusted love too much. It was because of that that they died. It's their problem if they died not mine. They are the ones to blame!" 54 The jury was given time to determine and to write down a verdict on each of the accused. I then said, "I now call on the feuding person who was heard to have said ... Romeo , personally, I don't think you should get married it wi l l just cause death and trouble." Accused #2: (This student seems at a loss for words and stumbles over her words.)" I 'm not guilty ... al l I do is scrub floors and that's all I do. That's it!" Aga in , I spoke, "I now call on the feuding person who was heard to have said .... She is a Capulet, so you won't have a chance for your love, especially after you ki l led Tybalt. Capulets are al l bad and bloody. It's impossible to be their friends." Accused #3: "I'm not guilty. It's hard to be friends with the Capulets because they want to fight and besides they started the fight and they never wanted to stop it." I said, "I now call on the feuding person who was heard to have said ... B o t h of us know that this marriage wi l l conclude in a terrible tragedy. Hate and love just don't go together. Trust me this is a terrible mistake." Accused #4: "I am not guilty because i n my advice to Juliet I told her that it is not wise to marry a Montague. A n d I am her best friend. Therefore I know what is best for her. I did not tell her to marry him, therefore, I am not guilty. Finally, I said, "I now call on the feuding person who was heard to have said ... Y o u are crazy. 5 5 W e hate each other. It is l ike mixing fire and ice!" Accused #5: (This student ponders.) "I'm afraid I 'm guilty. It's because of me that they died ... ( H e starts to walk back to his seat, the other students are snickering at h im and he shouts out ....) C A N ' T W E A L L J U S T G E T A L O N G ! " I am amazed that one student had the pluck to make such a statement. I was not even sure what to say. The jury asked to leave the room to pass final judgement on who they thought was guilty. Wi th in seconds they were back and the spokesperson said, "We have decided that the culprit is accused #1." This surprised me as I thought that they would either accuse every person involved as guilty or no one. I asked them why they had chosen accused #1 and the spokesperson said, "We thought it would be a good idea to throw people off." This ended the drama part of the study. I gave the students their final written assignment questions. They were to take the questions home in order to think ahead about the kinds of answers and ideas that they would explore in response to the final test that they would write during the next class. 56 Finding the Writers' Voices Throughout the course of the drama work I found myself marvelling over the range of responses that the dramatic activities seemed to be eliciting in terms of the students' capacity to express their own independent ideas and at the same time reflect the commitment that they brought to each of the learning situations. The medium of the drama had invited and had been successful in assisting the students to participate in many different literacy acts and speech-related behaviours, (1) they had engaged in a social dialectic, (2) they had provided metaphors for storying, (3) they had created intertexuality ties (ties that form relevant connections to other material or background knowledge relevant to the ideas being constructed), (4) they had shared meanings with an interpretive community of readers, (5) they had taken ownership of the material, and (6) they had worked collectively to apply their own critical thinking skills and decision making skills in a lived through context. They now had to come to terms with the transition from the oral activities of the drama to finding written expression of the knowledge they had acquired as a result of having completed the drama. Someone said to me once, "a writer does not know his thoughts or feelings until he has put them down on paper", and as a language arts teacher I have often found this statement to be true. D o n a l d Graves (1983) comments on the chasm that exists between print and speech by quoting the words of a professional writer who said that when writing we should be "writing for the other se l f . Graves agrees but also adds that the other self may not always be there when a person is required to put pen to paper. H e writes, "Un t i l I have information, a sense of voice, know what I want to say, there may not be another self at the outset. Thus I struggle alone to create the self on the 57 page" (1983, p.161). Whi l e working on the drama in class the students had many companions to help them with what they were to say. Their smiles, their frowns, their expressions of interest or disinterest would have played a major role in choices they made i n verbal responses and similarly with the actual outcome of the drama. N o w they would have to struggle "alone" to find their own "se l f on the page. I asked the students to choose two out of the three questions given to them. Their fourth writing task was a creative writing exercise. Before beginning to write, I told them that I was not looking for retrieval responses or rote answers, and encouraged the students to think of the questions rather as starting points for them to shape their ideas. A s the drama had proven to be a valid strategy for encouraging certain literacy behaviors, I was now curious to find out how or i f the writing process had been enhanced by the drama activities, and whether or not the drama activities had enabled the students to find their own writing voice. It is Graves' belief that students wi l l succeed in the writing process i f they are not intimidated by the conventions of written language and i f they do not have to struggle to gain adequate access or information to the assigned topic (1983, p.162). Evidence in the writing that the writer has overcome these two difficulties wi l l be apparent i f the writer: 1. maintains a clear purpose for writing 2. communicates ideas with clarity and with precision 3. demonstrates an ability to manipulate language creatively 4. reveals a degree of self-knowledge and self-awareness 5. analyses the problem with keen awareness and insight 58 The World of the Student's Written Responses The following questions required the students to problem solve a solution to the feuding action, to display a clear understanding of the terms used in each of the questions and also in the play, and to draw on a wide range of possibilities to manipulate language in order to achieve these purposes. The first question was worded in the following way, Q U E S T I O N #1: S I R T H O M A S M O R E W R O T E A B O O K E N T I T L E D U T O P I A , W H I C H D E S C R I B E S A N I D E A L S O C I E T Y W H E R E P E O P L E L I V E A T P E A C E W I T H E A C H O T H E R . W R I T E Y O U R O W N S H O R T M O D E R N D A Y C H R O N I C L E D E S C R I B I N G W H A T W O U L D F O R Y O U B E A N I D E A L A N D P E A C E F U L U T O P I A . C O N S I D E R V E R Y C A R E F U L L Y P O S S I B L E S O L U T I O N S T O T H E F E U D I N G A C T I O N T H A T O C C U R R E D I N T H E S T O R Y O F R O M E O A N D J U L I E T . Sarah's response reflects her ideas about an ideal U t o p i a that is based on her own personal faith in man's capacity to love one another, M y idea of a peaceful U t o p i a would be that everybody is friends and i f people fall in love they can do what they want. People should not do things purposely to hurt a person and people 59 should be allowed to wed whomever they please. There should be no weapons so people can't hurt or destroy themselves. Grudges would be something unheard of because everybody in this town loves each other. There would be absolutely no need for anyone to run away because you could do whatever they want. M y main idea is that man would not have the capacity to hate just the capacity to love. H e r central idea about what a peaceful world should be is based on two specific criteria, freedom and a natural inclination to love one another. Al though this response is somewhat idealistic, she has examined the conditions of the feud in the play and concluded that much of the hatred was due to certain restrictions placed on man's choice to marry or not to marry a certain individual, and based on man's capacity to hate as demonstrated by his unchecked use of weapons. She has made the choice not to write a personal narrative and not to employ any creative literary devices, but has chosen to establish a deliberate and clear emphasis in order to describe her own ideal world . This answer not only recalls the destructiveness of the sword-fighting scenes but also reveals a sociological interpretation of the implications of the "grudge" action. The next response indicates a clear understanding of the question and also a somewhat wider-reaching analysis of the consequences of the character's actions in the play, The best example of U t o p i a that I can think of is a society without money or craving for personal belongings, because I find that most violence and hatred comes from greed and ego. 60 What people need to do in order to keep the peace and not create grudges is to forgive and forget or at least try to do so. What the Montagues and the Capulets should have done was they should have forgotten al l their grudges. Maybe the reason so many religions are at war nowadays, is because they either don't know how to solve their problems and their differences and don't know how to deal with them, so their only logical choice is to fight which solves absolutely nothing. The reason many grudges are still going on nowadays is because people don't want to be wrong, and usually there isn't a wrong anyway, they are both right in their own ways. This student is working more closely with the content of the play and is at the same time generating new ways of scrutinizing a situation that are outside the boundaries of conventional thinking. It is accurate to say that most "people don't want to be wrong", but to push the thinking task further and to observe that "both people are right in their own ways" is seeking a solution that is not apparent. This k ind of thinking has been identified by Marzano as a disposition of creative thinking which he describes as being an ability to break through certain assumptions that were established while conceptualizing the task to view the problem in a new and diverse way (1991, p.63). The next response has been written by Rachel . Rachel 's answer to the question demonstrates an ability to employ literary devices in order to create a clear set of images to describe Utopia. Marzano would describe this k ind of response as "imagery". 61 Lying in my bed, staring at the stars, I wonder what it would be like to live in a peaceful world. A time where every religion accepts another, every human cares for the other. N o more criminals, no more pain. N o more war, no more chains. Jails would be empty, policemen, there would be a few. Chi ldren would be running, the whole world be new. But why do I bother thinking when I know this wi l l not happen. Lying in my bed staring into the night wondering i f the world would ever be so bright. This highly articulate vision of what it would be like to live in a Utopia indicates a high level of "knowledge about what she wants to say". She has used imagery to describe her ideal Utopia but then, with a shift in emotions, turns her mind to the reality of today's wor ld and states that such a vision is only fantasy. This is a very polished and descriptive piece of prose that ends on an abrupt note of despair. G iven her background as an Israeli I imagine that her formative years would certainly have exposed her to a different cultural and political climate from my own, not to mention the psychological effect that might result from living in a country that is surrounded by enemies. The next response reflects the mind of a student who chooses her tone and content according to the specifications of one of the designated tasks of the question. A r i e l l a wrote a short, one day chronicle of her life in Utop ia , I would wake up at 11:00 every morning and have a basin of water next to me to wash my face and hands in . Then I would 62 get into the shower in my bedroom and take a shower for 45 minutes. Then I would have breakfast made in the kitchen downstairs brought up to my room. Then I would sit down and read for a while until 1:00, when I would go to school until 5:00 then ... That night I would go to sleep knowing that there was peace everywhere in the world and everyone lived in luxury. After first reading this response, I was tempted to think "how simplistic", but quickly realized that what she was saying in the end was that most of man's hostility towards man is either due to his poverty or to his awareness of his own discontent of having less material comfort than the next person. H e r view of a peaceful wor ld is not simplistic but based on simplicity; in essence her ideal would be a life free of complications. Al though her answer focuses on one particular part of the question her writing is fluent, controlled, coherent, and precise. B y having maintained a consistent point of view, she has established a firm sense of voice and purpose: the reader knows exactly what the writer's intent is for writing. A n d student Nad ia writes, Peace, a society that is quiet and free from war. Everyone is helpful, the world is l ike a paradise of diamonds. The water hit the dry land and flowers blossomed. The grass may dance again with happiness. This means the grass can live with sufficient amount of water. Because peace is in the air, even the non-human things are happy. 63 This answer took me by surprise. Thinking in the abstract she has created a metaphor that mirrors her very poetic idea of a peaceful world. It is the k ind of response that almost seems blasphemous to dissect or to assess according to a list of writing criteria. What is significant here is that this student has engaged in the drama and is responding to the writing task in a very personal but also very expressive and feeling sort of way. This k ind of reflection is a powerful example of how the drama can crystallize meaning, and can enrich the individual's inner world even though she has not succeeded i n answering the entire question. A s she has made no attempt to consider possible solutions to the feuding action, I would say that her response is pure imagery and might be used as an example of a first line of response. She has not thought about other topics that her images might generate or be related to. One student chose to respond to the question in role and wrote the following: (I 'm writing this paragraph as a new ruler that came to Verona) . W h e n I first got here it was al l terrible, the people are split into two groups over a stupid feud. The first thing that I wanted to know, was, who were the main "feuders" or who started this thing! I got to the two main feuders the Montagues and the Capulets. I met L o r d Capulet and his wife and we talked about this thing and they told me they really hate the Montagues, so I asked them, why??? They didn't know what to say. They told me that their great great great grandparents started it, and they don't even know over what. The Montagues sort of told me the same thing. I decided to make peace once and for al l . I sat with them together and we discussed how we 64 could solve this feud. W e came to a conclusion, of course each side gave up a little, but it was worth it. Ve rona is not a hate village any more, you can only see love. B y the way, their kids R o m e o and Juliet who live there love each other until now, and they can finally make it public. They just had a baby. Shaella has written her response with a keen sense of audience and a clear sense of purpose. H e r audience appears to be the teacher who is going to be grading her response according to the directives of the question and her purpose is to include in her descriptive writing task a solution to the problem. She is the only student who perceives the concept of compromise as being a workable solution to the problem. She has no doubt weighed the pros and cons of other solutions and has decided that this act of shared compromise is the only reasonable way to deal with the feuding action. Naomi 's response is next; her ideas are not dissimilar in content to some of her classmates, M y idea of a peaceful life is when there are no wars or arguing. There is no pollution and the economy is in great condition. Everybody should be friends and friendly. Nobody should even think about how somebody else is different. F o r example, the colour of somebody's skin. People should be looking on the inside, not on the outside. That's the way it should be today and tomorrow and forever. Accord ing to N a o m i the biggest problems that plague mankind are racism, an 65 unstable economy, and pollution. E v e n though she has not attempted to solve the problems of our economy or to address any possible solutions to the pollut ion problem she is certain about how we can solve racism. H e r emphasis is deliberate as her own personal values on the subject have been clearly voiced. This next response was written by a student who has been in Canada for only one year, H e is from Russia and this is the first time that he has attempted to complete a series of exam questions in English. H e gives his work a title, T H E U T O P I A F O R T H O S E T I M E S If the family of Montagues became friends with the Capulets this could be the perfect society, but they didn't and because R o m e o and Juliet died (even though the families got in peace then) they could never get U t o p i a without R o m e o and Juliet, because U t o p i a is like one big love. E v e n i f people wi l l have a love, but don't have peace it won't be the perfect modern society. Therefore i f one of the families would forgive the sins of the other family then R o m e o and Juliet would not die but they would establish a perfect society or Utop ia . A n d probably that's why people love the play R o m e o and Juliet so much because they almost got the perfect society, and almost made the wor ld peaceful, and happy. A n d the whole tragedy of the Shakespearean play was that the people were so close to the perfect wor ld society and they couldn't get it. A n d that is why I l iked the play R o m e o and Juliet, and may other people like it too. 66 Abram's ideas are fresh and original. H i s answer shows an attempt to offer a solution to the problem of the feud and to cbme to terms with Shakespeare's purpose for writing a play based on man's inclination to engage in feuds. H i s diction and syntax are weak, but his understanding of plot and analysis of character show keen insight. I am intrigued by the depth of his analysis. The next question was designed to encourage the students to think more specifically about who or what disrupts social unity. It was intended to allow them to extend the thoughts and ideas that they had already developed in question number one, and to compare or contrast "enemies" to social unity that exist in the play with those that exist in our own society. It was worded as follows, Q U E S T I O N #2: W H A T O R W H O A R E T H E " E N E M I E S " T O S O C I A L U N I T Y ? C O M P A R E A N D C O N T R A S T T H E " E N E M I E S " T O S O C I A L U N I T Y T H A T E X I S T I N T H E P L A Y T O T H O S E T H A T E X I S T I N O U R O W N S O C I E T Y . A r i e l l a writes, A n enemy to social unity in today's society would be one who hates, likes war and likes spilled blood. A n enemy could also be described as one who doesn't socialize in a good way and does not unite to make our wor ld a better place. In R o m e o and Juliet you find much fighting and hatred between the two wel l respected families. These families would be respected a lot more i f they would make peace between themselves, instead of 67 acting like families of little 3 year olds. It shouldn't have been that there had to be 5 deaths before peace finally came. Peace and love have a lot to do with social unity, and are very important things that should be used more often. In this short paragraph, Ariel la 's central idea has been appropriately introduced, the supporting sentences have been adequately developed and the concluding comments are most suitable. A s a reader though, my attention was drawn more to the thoughtful content and creative cognitive structuring of the first two sentences. She has undergone a process of extension which, as defined by Marzano (p.34), involves first identifying the key literal points of the novel, then involves a transforming of the literal information into a more abstract situation. F o r example, The Montagues and the Capulets are frequently seen sword fighting with each other. A n enemy to social unity is one who hates, likes wars and likes spilled blood. Forming these abstract patterns of thought indicates that the student has had no trouble answering a higher mental process question. It is these kinds of linkages that students make with literature and real life, sometimes highly personal, that make extension so valuable (Marzano, p.35). The next student was the individual who had volunteered to play the role of the Fr i a r in the F o r u m Theatre activity of the role drama. In this role, she had conveyed 68 quite emphatically her disapproval of the two young people's decision to marry; her convictions were worded in the following way, " Y o u are forcing yourselves to love one another. I don't think that two people who have been in love for only one night are really in love. Therefore you should not get married as it would end very unhappily and probably tragically. Anyway, I highly doubt that you are in love." Rachel 's written response indicates quite a different attitude, A s much as we try to achieve social unity, there wi l l always be enemies on the road. In the play, the parents of R o m e o and Juliet are their main enemies. If the Montagues and the Capulets weren't involved in a grudge, R o m e o and Juliet would not have died for they would not have to marry in secret or hide their love. O n the other hand, the enemies of our societies are far more severe than those in the play. Criminals are those whom we have to overcome in order to have peace. W i t h them in our society, there is no way we can achieve social unity. A s an addition, anti-semites are enemies to the society as wel l . F o r by having a certain religion hate another, there is no way social unity could be achieved. Therefore, we have a long way until we could achieve social unity. It would seem that the two different activities have facilitated two different 69 responses. Whi le participating in the role drama and acting as the Friar , Rache l had been highly motivated to divorce the two lovers and to criticize their behaviour as being immature. She had also impl ied that the hatred being expressed between the heads of the two households could have resulted from the impetuous and juvenile love that R o m e o and Juliet have been indulging themselves in . H e r written response reflects a more universal and sophisticated outlook on the moral issue; she no longer is viewing the couple as being authors of their own demise but as being victims of their parent's enmity. H e r perspective has shifted, her knowledge on the subject has undergone a change and what has resulted is a reorganizing or restructuring of her knowledge. Marzano asserts that this restructuring of knowledge "refers to the creation of new structures either to reinterpret old schema or to create new information"(p.9). Ul t imately this suggests three things, (1) that the two different drama activities and responses have served as stimuli for the student to utilize different types of cognition, (2) that once knowledge had been acquired through the construction of meaningful activities it did not remain static, and (3) the student has drawn some very powerful and personal parallels between her own religious and cultural history to the events in the play. Another example of an obvious contrast that exists between the students' response to the dramatic situation to an attitude taken by the students in their written response is evident in Sarah's response, There are many enemies to social unity no matter where you are because everyone is an enemy to social unity as long as they have the capacity to hate. The major enemies to social unity are people who create hate in the minds of other people. F o r 70 examples the major enemies of social unity in the play R o m e o and Juliet are L o r d Capulet and L o r d Montague because of the grudge between the two families and how they try to avoid each other in everything they do. The major enemies to social unity are racist groups such as the K . K . K or the Neo-nazis. The only way we can stop being enemies to social unity is by stopping to listen to the major enemies to social unity and to get r id of capacity to hate within us. So why had this student, with these kinds of convictions, not so much as even attempted to make the slightest gesture towards forgiveness or reconciliation during the drama activities? I am again quite amazed at the obvious differences that exist between the students' oral responses voiced while participating in the drama and the kinds of ideas they have explored in their written responses. In step number nine, the final activity of the drama, where I had set up a formal hearing to determine who should be pardon'd and who should be punished, only one student was prepared to admit to any degree of responsibility or involvement in the tragic deaths. One student had said, "I did not tell her to marry him, therefore, I am not guilty." Another had pleaded, "I'm innocent. M e n , women of the jury, I want to say that I 'm not guilty. They died because of love. They trusted love too much. It was because of that that they died. It's their problem if they died not mine. They are the ones to blame." Thei r thoughts had been shaped with conviction as was evidenced by their strong and purposeful choice of words and by the forcefulness and firmness of the delivery 71 of each of their testimonies. I remembered thinking at the time that these students have very little courage. H o w could they all be so openly will ing to deny their involvement? H o w could they not see that they themselves had been part and parcel of the continuation of the hatred and the feud? Y e t now, when asked to commit then-ideas to paper and to reflect in written form on who the enemies to social unity might be, they had identified the culprit as being "anyone who has the capacity to hate", or anyone who "creates hate in the minds of others". These students had engaged i n a market scene in role as either Capulets or Montagues and had hurled nasty invectives at each other, they had said very hateful things about members of the enemy family, and they had demonstrated with their own body language a discernible degree of revulsion at the idea of the two young enemies getting married. The point here is that the students have rethought their previously held perceptions and experiences. Ideas that the drama had introduced to the students by inviting them to participate in the brainstorming of the grudges and by encouraging them to create stories to depict the origin of the grudges, had elicited very personal responses. These oral responses represented their own religious values and cultural convictions. Thei r writing, however, revealed an ability to challenge the very beliefs and thought structures that they had originally formulated. I found further evidence to support this claim in the students' responses to question number three. It was formulated as follows, 72 Q U E S T I O N #3: W H A T A R E T H E S Y M B O L S O F S O C I A L U N I T Y ? C O M P A R E A N D A N A L Y Z E T H E S Y M B O L S O F S O C I A L U N I T Y T H A T E X I S T I N T H E P L A Y T O T H O S E T H A T E X I S T I N O U R P R E S E N T S O C I E T Y . Rache l responds by writing, In the play R o m e o and Juliet, the friar is the main symbol for social unity. H e is involved in most of the ceremonies that involve unity. H e united R o m e o and Juliet. Mos t important, he is the only character in the play who is neither an enemy to the Montagues nor an enemy to the Capulets. However, in our society, it's the police or leaders who attempt to unite the world. B y stopping criminals, there would be peace, which is the main step for reaching social unity. B y having the government respect al l religions, there is a greater chance to achieve social unity. Some day, we hope to reach social unity like the play did. Another symbol of social unity in the play is the love between R o m e o and Juliet. The love of enemies foreshadows the social unity that might occur in the end of the play. Rache l has drawn some very profound parallels between the events that occur in the play to certain realities of her own present day society. She believes that i f a 73 government respects the rights of al l religious minorities, there is a chance that social unity could be achieved. She has organized her thoughts into a causal network of ideas. F r o m a cognitive perspective she has observed a series of complex networks of causes that have been effected by other events leading to a new event which in turn might effect yet another event, and so on. In her mind she has compared the consequences of the grudge in the play to the animosities that exist between different religious groups and, as a result of having experienced in a lived-out or existential way the ramifications of these causes and effects, has restructured her thinking on the subject. Instead of seeing the love between R o m e o and Juliet as being doomed to disaster, or as being impetuous or wrong, she now views it as being symbolic of a promise of social unity in the future. Sarah responds with the following ideas, There are many symbols of social unity that exist today and existed a long time ago. One of the symbols of social unity that appeared in the play R o m e o and Juliet is the Friar . The reason the Fr ia r is a symbol of social unity is because he thought of R o m e o and Juliet as being the same and he thought R o m e o and Juliet's love could overrule the grudge but it made it worse while they lived. The church can still be called a symbol of social unity today because people go there on Sundays which brings people together in our world today but unfortunately the church is loosing its touch. The basic symbols of social unity in my opinion is religion because it brings a group of people together in peace (most of the time). But in today's wor ld 74 religion is not really accepted so people are uniting at places like a fitness club, tennis club, etc. There are many symbols of social unity where ever one goes. A n d Nad ia writes, In the play R o m e o and Juliet there are symbols of social unity, and they can be compared to our society today. T o compare these two we must ask a question. What are the symbols of unity? It is a symbol that shows unity (togetherness of the society). In the play the only togetherness you see was that the Montagues were family-like, and the Capulets were together. Mean ing that the Capulets only loved another in their society and with the Montagues it was the same. So with our society it is the same because we are against other races and are prejudice against other religions. This is just l ike how a Montague hated Capulet and how today a Christian who hates a Jew. Therefore we are just as the play today in R o m e o and Juliet. W e can compare ourselves with them by using symbols and social unity. A l l three of these responses are based on thoughts that have been shaped as a result of the students having been previously engaged in something that matters personally to them. They are offering comments, asking questions, analyzing their perceptions, expanding their ideas, examining the consequences of events in the play, 75 finding parallels, evaluating their own understanding of life, and in the end applying these new understandings to new levels of meaning making. This combination of cognitive strategies is what Bol ton (1992) refers to as reflection. H e states that the degree to which we reflect or have our understanding extended in the art form is paramount. H e also states that as "assessors we may be guided by the way the pupils are ready to stand apart from their work and reflect on what they are creating, either during the process of making it or after it has been made" (1992, p.138). Another possible reason for the students' "contrasting perspectives" could be explained by the contrasting nature of the two activities. The context of the drama is social which could account for the students' inclinations to play "devil's advocate", or to take on a role that could be quite contrary to what they really believe. It could, therefore, be the context of the drama or the dramatic situation itself that defines the attitude taken by the students in contrast to the writing activity which called for a very different k ind of response. The final question posed was a creative writing assignment. I asked the students to write their thoughts in a diary form. I hoped that students would be able to express themselves as freely as possible about personal and significant moments that they had experienced during the drama process. The assignment read as follows, 76 Q U E S T I O N #4: C R E A T I V E W R I T I N G I F Y O U W E R E T O H A V E K E P T A D I A R Y A C C O U N T O F A L L T H E E X P E R I E N C E S Y O U E N C O U N T E R E D W H I L E R E A D I N G , W R I T I N G , D R A M A T I Z I N G , B R A I N S T O R M I N G A N D O R D I S C U S S I N G T H E P L A Y , W H A T W O U L D Y O U H A V E D O C U M E N T E D ? R E C R E A T E S U C H A D I A R Y , W R I T I N G A S M A N Y E N T R I E S A S Y O U T H I N K M I G H T B E A P P R O P R I A T E G I V E N T H E M A N Y I S S U E S T H A T W E R E E X P L O R E D I N T H E C O U R S E O F T H E S T U D Y . I selected the following six diary entries based on two criteria (1) uniqueness of content, and (2) uniqueness of style. The entries not included were quite similar in content to those that were selected. D I A R Y #1 Dea r diary, day 1 Today we learned how horrible grudges are and what limit they are taken to. W h e n we did the exercise when you count to 10 and get angrier at each number, and then when you count down you have to say it happier. I realized that it's so much easier to get angry than it is to calm down, and I thought that maybe people should try not to get angry as easily as they are capable of. Luv, Sarah. 77 Dear diary, day 2 Today we did a drama exercise Of a market scene in the time of R o m e o and Juliet and we were shouting insults at each other. It struck me how it must have felt to have lived in V e r o n a at that time being, and were expected to follow your parents with the hatred, you can't blame the people in the town, because they were only following A N C I E N T H A T R E D ! Luv , Sarah Dear diary, day 3 Today we tried to think of a way to solve the problem of hatred in Verona . I had no idea what would stop the hatred, but it was interesting listening to my classmates saying that R o m e o and Juliet could have just run away to another city and it would have been just as i f they were dead and it would have stopped the feud. E v e n though they tried, they shouldn't have played with those potions. E n d of Sarah. 78 D I A R Y #2 Dear Diary, Today we learned some more R o m e o and Juliet. W o w ! M s . Mor r i son teaches it so well . I could feel it as i f it was truly happening at that time and I was there. Today I learned that Juliet has taken the potion. W o w . What a climax! I wonder what R o m e o would do? O n that, the Fr ia r shouldn't have married them in the first place. What was he thinking of? I know the thought that it would reunite the families, but I would never do such a thing. Dear Diary, Today, wow! R o m e o heard about Juliet from his secret messenger and went to a specialist and bought poison that would k i l l up to 20 people. 20 people! Then when he went to see Juliet for the last time along came Paris, and he and R o m e o had a fight and R o m e o ki l led him. G o o d for you Romeo!!! But then R o m e o took the poison and he died! I started to cry, and cried even harder when Juliet ki l led herself over Romeo . Is that a reason to die??? Then along comes Montague and Capulet and they make up. It was amazing to see what they had to go through. Two lives to get them to resolve the feud. 79 D I A R Y #3 A p r i l 23, 1993. Dear , Diary! I always thought the play R o m e o and Juliet was a story about two people falling in love and then dying. What I didn't know however, was the reason for their deaths, the time when it occurred, and the hatred that was taking place. N o w that we started learning I realize that it is a much better story than I thought of it. I can't wait to finish it. N o w I have to read the first two acts. I 'm sure it wi l l be great. P.S. One day, you should read it too. W h o knows maybe you wi l l enjoy it. A p r i l 29, 1993. Dear , Diary. W o w ! We ' re almost finished studying the play. W e had a market scene, a grudge, journal writing, and discussions. I learned from the discussion how quickly people get angry, how quick that anger becomes a grudge, and how severe the damage could be. U n t i l now Mercut io died. Tybalt died and I know R o m e o and Juliet died. Tomorrow we are planning on seeing R o m e o and Juliet the movie, so I want to finish reading the play tonight before I watch the movie. I have to go now. I ' l l write to you as soon as we finish the play. I promise. 80 D I A R Y #4 Dea r Diary, Today, something really weird happened to me in English class. W e learned about R o m e o and Juliet, and about the feud their families had, about this hatred that their families had for each for many many years. This hatred of their families, was the thing that caused their deaths. The story had such a sad ending, which makes you feel, that al l of it wouldn't necessarily have to happen. It could have got a happy ending unless this hate would come, and stand in the middle, not letting their love to spread. This story made me think about me personally. I also live in a feud: The Israelis and Arabs . I guess that a l l this hatred each side has, also started in a similar way to R o m e o and Juliet's story, but we don't know why, we just keep on hurting each other, hate each other, in our hearts, and passing it to the next generation, that probably, wi l l also have to live within this feud. But why? Why don't people learn? Why don't they look at the past? W e could have solved some serious problems we have today in our society. I 'm all full of hope that the Israeli-Arab feud wi l l be over. I don't want my children to live in this sea of hate, and in this painful everyday life. A l l I want peace, I don't want my daughter to start dealing with the di lemma Juliet had, i f she wi l l fall in love with an A r a b . I wish it's going to be over. 81 D I A R Y #5 F r o m all the experiences of R o m e o and Juliet I understood that people in those times and people in our time wi l l always easily start a fight, a conflict, or a discussion but it wi l l always be hard to calm down, to forgive, to go for the compromise, or to forget something. This is one of the many significant points in R o m e o and Juliet. A l s o I recognized that i f two families are fighting one wi l l never think that they are wrong, but wi l l always think that the other family is wrong. They wi l l never forgive other families for what they might have done. That happened in the story of the Montagues and Capulets. They could never be friends with each other, even i f they knew that they were wrong. Because human nature says: " Y o u are right,, the other guy is wrong, but you are always right". A n d that's why we have so many wars going on, on the planet, because people just can't wait to hate or k i l l other people, and when they have the chance to do this, they forget about everything else and just go and k i l l people. Sometimes they don't even remember why do they do this, but still they go and continue to do it for no reason. F o r the conclusion: In R o m e o and Juliet I found many significant points like that for people it's easy to become angry, mad, etc. But hard to calm down, and sometimes people do things and don't remember why they are doing it. A l s o when 82 people think that they are right and other people are wrong, the fight w i l l never stop. One of the fighters should go for the compromise and forgive each other's sins. Because of al l these points I l ike R o m e o and Juliet very much. D I A R Y #6 Today in English class, we were talking about grudges, and we brain-stormed some. W o w ! I didn't know there were that many grudges in the world! Arabs and Jews, parents and teens, loggers and environmentalists, divorced couples, etc. I could go on for hours with al l these grudges! It's sad, isn't it? Today M a y a and I acted out the grudge between parents and teens. I think our play was very realistic in showing how protective and caring parents are, even i f they are too overprotective. Everyone else had good plays too. W o w ! N o w I know how rumours spread really fast. In Engl ish today, we role-played a market place in Verona . Everyone was screaming for people to come and buy their foods, and gossiped in between screams. Everyone had different ideas about the grudge between the families, and they were probably al l just stupid stories. A n d people actually believed them! 83 These diary accounts varied greatly with respect to certain decisions that the students made regarding content, style, tone and purpose. Whi le the students seemed to be placing less emphasis on the mechanics of writing (i.e. punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure), they had communicated other very valuable information to me. After reading the diaries through once and then again a second time, I became almost transfixed by one thought: in a very profound way, the work had struck an emotional chord. Regardless of the number of writing rules broken or followed, the students had communicated what they intended to communicate; part of that intended message came across as being most succinctly expressed by their use of the word 'Wow' . They had ' loved' the process of learning about Shakespeare through improvised drama. Thei r responses did not resemble the responses that had been documented by Hynds ' students when they said, "I don't consider all of Shakespeare's works that good, and I would rather read a book that has more contemporary applications," or, "I'd rather not study old plays like Shakespeare". This "Wow" response was a personal victory because I had facilitated a writing process that had personality and purpose for both the teacher and the student. So often students perceive writing tasks to be for the purpose of critiquing a novel that they don't care about and or for simply getting a grade. These students are saying that, "Today in English class, we were talking about grudges, and we brain-stormed some. W o w ! I didn't know there were that many grudges in the world!" A t one level the drama had offered and had succeeded i n giving the students a sense of identification with the play. A t another level the drama activities had also invited and succeeded in giving the students the challenge of experiential learning; learning that had asked them to make critical thinking decisions 84 in a lifelike context. B y assuming ownership of the material, the students seemed to have been empowered by their own personal and social interactions with Shakespeare's text. In diary entry number six, full of pride and ownership, the student wrote, "Today A r i e l l a and I acted out the grudge between parents and teens. I think our play was very realistic in showing how protective and caring parents are, even i f they are too overprotective. Everyone else had good plays too." She has evaluated her own work and has decided, not whether it was good or bad, but that it was realistic and relevant to the wor ld of relationships between teens and their parents. This particular grudge had tremendous importance to her. Another aspect of the students' experiences of the drama activities that I had not previously considered was its potential to enhance the overall 'cathartic' effect of the tragedy itself. In diary number two the student writes,"...then R o m e o took the poison and he died! I started to cry , and cried even harder when Juliet ki l led herself over R o m e o . Is that a reason to die???? Then along comes Montague and Capulet and they make up. It was amazing to see what they had to go through. Two lives to get them to resolve the feud." The focus of the drama had been placed on the feud action and the student had recognized with real pity and fear the magnitude of the suffering and the defeat that the story had revealed. She had, at the same time, been perfectly relieved to know that she herself would never have been as foolish as the Fr ia r had been when he married the two tragic lovers. She writes,"... the Fr iar shouldn't have married them in the first place. What was he thinking of? I know that it would reunite the families, but I would never do such a thing". 85 In diary number four the student began her entry as a very emotional response and then proceeded to articulate certain connections that the drama had encouraged her to make. She states, "This story made me think about me personally. I also live in a feud: the Israelis and the Arabs . I guess that all this hatred that each side has, also started in a similar way to R o m e o and Juliet's story, but we don't know why, we just keep on hurting each other, hating each other, in our hearts, and passing it to the next generation, that probably, wi l l also have to live within this feud. But why? W h y don't people learn? W h y don't they look at the past?" Clearly, this response is not concerned merely with the plot of the drama but more with the inner dynamics of the drama. Events and themes in the story have been reshaped according to the writer's own human experiences and cultural insights. A s a framework for learning, the drama has created what Bol ton (1984) describes as a retrospective l ink in the following way, "Shakespeare understood that plots are not in themselves what drama is about; they are merely the retrospective l ink between situations. It is i n retrospect that a play tells a story. A s it unfolds, the audience is identifying with the occurring situation" (p.38). The student's final retrospective thoughts on the situation indicate that she has exchanged the meaning of the events in the play or drama in an attempt to find a method or way to look back on the history of her people in order to go forward, "I'm full of hope that the Israeli-Arab feud wi l l be over. I don't want my children to live in this sea of hate, and in this painful everyday life. A l l I want is peace, I don't want my daughter to start dealing with the di lemma Juliet had, i f she wi l l fall in love with an Arab ." I am very much moved by this student's feelings of anticipation, thoughts of hope, emotions of despair and words of passion. 86 Further evidence that the drama experiences had enhanced the students' understanding of Shakespearean script was expressed in diary number one. In reference to the market scene the student said the following, "It struck me how it must have felt to have lived in V e r o n a at that time, and were expected to follow your parents with the hatred, you can't blame the people in the town, because they were only following A N C I E N T H A T R E D ! " The drama had provided an important bridge for this student; it had in fact endowed her with an ability to not only visualize the time and the place, but had also given her the ability to possess a "social intelligence" from which she could then draw inferences of personal significance from a Shakespearean text. 87 PARTING T H O U G H T S A s I reflect on the way I have approached the teaching of R o m e o and Juliet I find myself thinking about four key personal observations, (1) the medium of the drama has elicited in my students a range of different literacy behaviours, (2) the result of having participated in these literacy acts enabled my students to achieve a level of competency in their writing that was re-formulative in nature: as writers they went far beyond the text, (3) discrepancies that occurred between the students' oral expression and their written expression provided me with clues as to how certain learning situations and certain cognitive tasks can lead to personal development and growth in the student, and (4) my awareness of the cultural context of my classroom and my ability to nurture learning in this area is now a significant educational aim. The definition of a literate person has expanded in our century and is now commonly associated with educational expectations in the areas of personal, social, cultural and visual literacy. This means that educators need to attend to the growth and development of their students in all these learning areas. Hynds and other reader response researchers suggest that the reader should not be striving to just comprehend a given text but should be striving to create inferences of personal significance. The students' oral responses to the role drama together with their written responses indicate that the issues of this play had personal relevance and specific applicability for this distinct group of students. The Montague and Capulet feud had been transformed into the A r a b versus Israeli feud, and the gold statues became symbols of peace between the Arabs and the Jews. Transforming the thematic context of the play into a more existential experience was an important step in the process of attending 88 to this group of students' cultural, personal and social literacy development. Teaching the play R o m e o and Juliet through drama invited my students to depict for themselves thematic content, and to come to an understanding of the social issues arising from the play. Thinking was cultivated as a result of the students' commitment and dedication to explore the many social, cultural, and moral implications underneath several layers of text. M o r e importantly for me was the opportunity to watch my students assuming very different roles to those they normally took in the classroom. The drama carried a teaching element all on its own; it encouraged students to work collectively, giving them many opportunities to apply creative thinking skills and decision making skills in a life l ike social context. I came to observe in my students a wil l ing motivation to engage in a social dialogue, to participate in the art of storying, to make intertextuality ties, and to be empowered by their role as members i n an interpretive community of readers. The medium of drama had not only enhanced the students' potential to be self-directed learners but had also encouraged the majority of the class to participate together as a community of self directed and interpretive readers. Constructing meaning through a written response fosters an understanding of the content being studied. Evaluating written responses fosters in the teacher a knowledge of how the student may have grown and matured as a result of having engaged in the content. A s re-formulative writers the students had generated certain theories about life, about why people provoke hatred, about why anti-semitism still exists, about how peace among men can be achieved, and about how realistic or nonrealistic a perfect society might be. A l l this was gleaned from having attempted to analyze the text, and from having created their own text. Marzano (1991, p.80) suggests that the result of 89 having developed these kinds of cognitive processes results in a restructured knowledge base. This idea is congruent with Bakhtin's idea that the importance of reading be placed on the reader's ability to realize his own potential and meaning within his own set of circumstances. A s was revealed by my students' written responses, they had created meanings in a social setting and had then internalized their interactions in the form of new thoughts. Whi l e participating in the drama many students denied their involvement in the feud action, resisted any provocations to admit to their inability to forgive the young lovers and flatly refused to reconcile the hatred. Y e t what was revealed in their writing was a more daring and courageous look at man's capacity to hate one another. In their writing they were seeking solutions and were arduously examining the causes and effects of social unrest. In a final response one student had restructured her thinking on the subject so significantly that she had come to recognize the deaths as being a symbolic promise of peace and social unity in the future. In a sense what she had done was to develop a new self awareness as a result of having allowed her thinking to be affected by the content. Generally speaking, Bol ton (1992) would refer to this k ind of development as personal development because it is tied up with "creating opportunities for experimentation in expression," and with "putting participants in touch with their feelings" (p. 118). Bol ton elaborates further on what personal development means in terms of learning through the art form of drama by describing it as being 'reflexive'. Work ing reflexively in drama the drama form acts as a mirror in which the participants can see themselves (p.119). The potential for drama to influence this k ind of growth did not become evident to me until I had read and pondered the ideas found in their written work. Wri t ten expression was therefore a 90 crucial step in the students' process of meaning making. Finally, I have come to recognize the importance of a social context in my classroom. A s al l the students who participated in the drama were Jewish, much of the content of their responses was related to connections they had made to their Jewish history, their Jewish beliefs and their Jewish values. What was equally important about this experience was the fact that I had not engaged before this experience in such extensive dialoguing with my students on the subject of their personal and religious values. This made me speculate on the nature of my own teaching. H o w could I, as a teacher of literature, and as an educator, who supposedly teaches and deals with the experiences of human beings in their diverse and personal relations, have missed this opportunity? It was as i f I needed to create a new social context, over and above the social context of the play itself, in order to explore an already existing social and cultural context. T o integrate drama into a regular literature class had demanded of me a very different k ind of commitment. Bol ton (1990) tells his readers what he sometimes says to his classes on the subject of commitment, " Y o u cannot do drama unless you give a little bit of yourself to it!" F o r the teacher of literature and drama the dictum might be expanded to read as follows, "The teacher cannot do drama unless he or she gives a little bit of h im or herself to it!" 91 BIBLIOGRAPHY Beckerman, Bernard (1970). Dynamics of Drama. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Bolton, G. (1984). Drama as Education. An Argument for Placing Drama at the Centre of the Curriculum. Essex, England: Longman Group Ltd. Bolton, G. (1992). New Perspectives on Classroom Drama. Great Britain: Simon & Schuster Education. Booth, David & Martin-Smith, Alistair (1988). Re-Cognizing Richard Courtney. Markham, Ont: Pembroke Publisher. Capra, F. (1975). The Tao of Physics. Bolder, CO: Shambala. Davis, D. (1986). "Drama at the Crossroads", Part Two. 2D, 7(1): 5-24. Donin, Rabbi Hayim Halevy (1980). To Pray As A Jew. Jerusalem: Basic Books, A Division of Harper Collins Publishers Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1909). Essays and English Traits. P.F. New York: Collier & Son. Esslin, Martin (1976). Anatomy of Drama. London: Temple Smith. Evans, Tricia.(1984) Drama in English Teaching. London: Croom Helm. Frye, N. (1963). The Well-Tempered Critic. Canada: Indiana University. Frye, N. (1967). Fools of Time. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 92 Giroux, H . A . (1988). Teachers as Intellectuals. Toward a Cri t ical Pedagogy of Learning. Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey Publishers, Inc. Graves, D . (1983). Wri t ing: Teachers and Chi ldren at Work . Exeter, N H : Heinemann. Greene, M . (1978). Landscapes of Learning. N e w Y o r k , N Y : Teachers College Press. Hanssen, Evelyn, et al . (1990). "In Conversation Theory and Instruction." In Beyond Communicat ion. E d . Deanne Bogdan and Stanley B . Straw. Portsmouth, N H : Boynton/Cook Publishers. Heathcote, D . (1984). Dorothy Heathcote, Collected Writings on Educat ion and Drama . E d . L . Johnson & C . O ' N e i l l . London : Hutchison. Hirsch , E . D . (1987). Cul tural Literacy. N e w Y o r k : Vintage Books . Hornbrook, D . (1989). Educat ion and Dramatic A r t . Oxford, England: Bas i l Blackwel l L t d . Hornby, R ichard . (1977). Script into Performance. Aust in : University of Texas Press. Hughes, R . (1980). The Shock of the N e w - A r t and the Century of Change. London : Bri t ish Broadcasting Corporat ion. Huxley, A . (1970). The Perennial Philosophy. N e w Y o r k : Harper Books . Hynds, S. (1990). Perspectives on Talk and Learning. Urbana , Illinois: Nat ional Counci l of Teachers of English. James, W . (1980). The Principles of Psychology. Vo lume 1. N e w Y o r k : Ed i t ed by Dover Publications, Inc. (1950). 93 Language Ar t s English Primary - Graduation Curr iculum Guide.(1990). Ministry of Educat ion, Curr iculum Development Branch, Educational Programs, Vic tor ia , B . C . Lewis , R . (Nov. 1979). Interview with editor of Parabola: "As the twig is b e n t P a r a b o l a : M y t h and the Quest for Meaning, 4(4):62-70. M c N a m a r a , Eugene (1969). The Interior Landscape: The Literary Cri t ic ism of Marsha l l M c L u h a n 1943-1962. N e w Y o r k : M c G r i l l - H i l l B o o k Company. Marzano , R . J . (1991). Cultivating Thinking in English and the Language Ar t s . U S A : Nat ional Counc i l of Teachers of English. Maslow, A . (1970). Mot iva t ion and Personality. N e w Y o r k : Harper & R o w . M i l l e r , J .P. & Steller, W . (1990). Curr iculum - Perspectives and Practice. Ontario, Canada: C o p p Cla rk Pi tman L t d . Mi l lwa rd , P . (Feb. 1990). "Drama as a Wei l -Made Play." Language Ar t s . 67(2): 151-162. Morr i son , E . & Robinson, L . B . (1992). Teaching Literature Through Dramat ic Experiences-R o m e o and Juliet. Canada: Creative Curr iculum Inc. Roberts, Peter (1992). Shakespeare and the M o r a l Curr iculum. N e w Y o r k , N Y : Pripet Press. Robinson, L . B . & Morr i son , E . (1991). Teaching Literature Through Dramat ic Experiences - Macbeth . Creative Curr iculum Inc., B C , Canada. Rogers, C a r l (1969). Freedom to Learn . Charles E . M e r r i l l Ohio : PubUshing Company. 94 Rosenblatt, Louise (1968). Literature as Explorat ion. N e w Y o r k : Nob le and Noble Publishers, Inc. Ross, Cameron (1992). Dwel l ing in Possibility: Us ing Group D r a m a as a Response to Literature. Unpubl ished doctoral dissertation, University of Alber ta . Smith, F . (1982). Understanding Reading. Th i rd Edi t ion . N e w Y o r k : C B S College Publishing. Squire, J . & Farre l l , E . (1990). Transactions with Literature. Illinois: Nat ional Counc i l of Teachers of English. Straw, Stanley & Bogdan, Deanne (1990). Beyond Communicat ion: Reading Comprehension & Crit icism. Portsmouth, N .H . :N .H.Boyn ton /Cooke Publishers. Tarlington, C . & Ver r iour P. (1991). R o l e Drama . Ontario: Pembroke Publishers L imi ted . Val lance, J . M . (1989). Collegial Conversation: A Search for Meaning in Children's Creative Dance. Alber ta : University of Edmonton. V a n M a n e n , M . (1990). Researching L ived Experience. H u m a n Science for an A c t i o n Sensitive Pedagogy. Canada: The Althouse Press. Vygotsky, L e v (1986). Thought and Language. Massachusetts: The M I T Press. Wagner, B . J . (1990). Dorothy Heathcote. D r a m a as a Learning M e d i u m . U S A : Stanley Thornes Publishers L t d . Wagner, B . J . (1988). "Research Currents: Does Classroom D r a m a Affect the Ar t s of Language?" Language Arts . 65(l):46-55. Will insky, John (1991). The Tr iumph of Literature/The Fate of Literacy. N e w Y o r k : Teachers College Press. 95 


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