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UBC Theses and Dissertations

In search of play : a performance kit Taylor, William Douglas


My thesis is about educating through play. I have been playing, experimenting, thinking, and living my thesis for eight teaching years. At times insight has come with certainty and passion; more often, insight has not come, or it has been diluted or made problematic. I have read educational philosophy, and history, and psychology; I have experimented with evaluative models; I have tried product and process approaches. No matter how fancy the language that I use, no matter how simple and direct the models I create, no matter how intricate and accountable my evaluative strategies are, teaching and learning work best when the heart is at the centre of the enterprise. Becoming educated is learning how to love: to wonder, to question, to quest. Educating is about loving, about finding ways to bring people confidence, and hope, and openness. Play bridges the opposition between order/chaos. It helps me locate the generative, constructive forces in our schools. As a reader of this thesis, I invite you to become a play director. The stories told here do not live on the pages. They do not even really live in the spaces between text and active reader. The only way for these stories to live is if they're played to life through performance. I invite you to read these stories about writing, and community, and culture in the classroom as a producer would read a playscript. To that end, this thesis is presented in the form of a performance kit which contains theory on acting and directing, specific production strategies, the scripts themselves, and background information on the generation of these scripts. I believe that this extended metaphor—teacher as director, students as players, community as audience—can serve as a useful aid to bring play back to the multi-vocal theoretical literature of our discipline and to the stories enacted daily in our classrooms.

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