UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Voice and learning in drama Bolton Robinson, Lee


This case study investigated the nature of the learning that was the outcome of a dramatic experience in which a class of grade 9 students and their teacher, created, developed and produced a collective drama on the subject of the elderly. The findings of this study present evidence in support of the idea that when students engage in dramatic behaviours, they are able to give voice to their learning. Using ethnographic methodology, the teacher-researcher conducted the study in her own classroom during the final twelve weeks (April to June) of the school year in 1989. Student subjects were chosen randomly from a class of twenty-nine students in a comprehensive high-school setting in a western Canadian city. Detailed observation of student responses both within and after the drama experience was undertaken using data collected through a wide range of ethnographic techniques. These included: student and teacher journals, video data, audio recordings, photographic records and a document collection. A content analysis of the data revealed that student learning took place in five learning areas. These were learnings (1) about the elderly (2) about the self (3) about others and (4) about dramatic and language forms. By using Gavin Bolton's theory of learning in drama to frame the investigation, the researcher indicated that learning was given voice in the drama process. This is known as "voiced learning" and a scheme for assessing student learnings in drama learnings based on the types of voice is proposed.

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