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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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


This qualitative research study examines the differing ways that students and teacher in a Jewish secondary school negotiate, reconstruct, and find personal relevancy in 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. As 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 in an English eight class over a period of six weeks from May 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. Ministry of Education. 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 all classes, (4) audio tapes of the classes, and (5) taped interviews with three students. Written responses to the drama activities included both personal reflections and critical thinking compositions. 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.

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