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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Kneading narratives, communities and culture : recipes, reflections and revelations Michals, Lisa

Abstract

self and other. If reading the local papers and talking to parents is any indication, Education, it seems, is asked to play a greater role in the upbringing of our students. The schools are responsible for ensuring that the students are well fed and adequately supervised not just during school hours, but before and after as well. Schools are expected to keep up with the rigors of ensuring that the students are practiced in the almighty disciplines of reading, writing, arithmetic and now, technology skills. This will somehow propel them into the economic demands of the new millenium. But the impact of the culture and the community from which the students come - the histories of their experiences as individuals and as a group- are seldom explored. L Intuitively, I am drawn to my own stories when trying to make sense of the stories that swirl and swish amongst the myriad of moments that collectively comprise each experience. The influence our narratives have on the way we understand and learn is explored in this paper. Sandwiched in between the stories is a study of how using Drama as an instructional technique can be used to explore our narratives and expand on our ways of knowing and understanding, particularly how it is experienced by the English as a Second Language (ESL) learner. . Twenty-six grade five and six students from a multi-cultural, suburban community were observed. The students participated in a two-month, tri-weekly unit on basic drama methods, which culminated in a final class narrative performance. Four ways of data collection were employed. A static camera (i.e. a video camera that remained in a fixed position on a tripod in one of the classroom corners) was used throughout each lesson to record the events and to supply another view to the multi-perspective data collection. Student journals as well as a personal narrative from each participant (a video portrait) were collected. The classroom teacher also kept a journal and made observations about her students throughout the unit period. This dissertation was not limited to the stories of the students in the classroom as this journey precipitated a desire, indeed a need, to tell my own stories of daughter, mother, sister, student, teacher and friend. Since our physical experiences, our stories and our ways of understanding are integrally intertwined, this (re) search honored narrative as a way of including these aspects in the dissertation.

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