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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Children's conceptions of drama in education Harpe, Sabina Dorothea


This study has been an investigation of children's views of drama in education. It invited children to reflect on the dramatic process as used by a classroom teacher in the context of integrated units of study. The specific research question addressed was: What are children's conceptions of drama when used by a non-specialist classroom teacher as an integral part of learning? Children, ages 10-12 years, were observed and then interviewed in a semi-structured manner. The data were analyzed according to the phenomenographical research methodology. This suited the intent of the study in that the aim of phenomenography is to discover and describe the world as seen by participants. The results were presented in the form of conceptions which are descriptions representing the various ways people view, experience or conceptualize their experiences. Seven such conceptions, falling into three different groups, were discovered. The first group identified three ways in which children viewed drama as a purposeful strategy used by a teacher: (a) drama is a tool, (b) drama is a way of linking, and (c) drama is a novel way of teaching. The second group identified three ways in which children viewed themselves participating in the dramatic process: (a) drama is something one must take part in, (b) drama is play, and (c) drama takes on a life of its own. The third group dealt with one specific area of drama and identified role taking as being like the donning of a cloak. Insights from the study centered around three major observations: (a) the importance of understanding the meaning making of learners, (b) the importance of reflection, and (c) the power of drama in education as an educational strategy. Implications for educators and recommendations for further research were derived from these themes.

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