Performing for the Unknown Culture: Using Early Childhood Performance as a Window into Tertiary Drama Education

By Delyse Ryan.

Published by The International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 8, 2014 $US5.00

This paper describes a drama assessment task that helps ease first-year Drama students into tertiary performance through a non-threatening community performance. By engaging students in a project which encourages them to become socially aware community members, this performance helps students understand intracultural differences and shows them how they might moderate the skills that they learn in a Drama classroom to suit the needs of different groups within their community. This paper presents some pedagogical challenges faced by students. Using Vygotsky’s theory of the zone of proximal development, the students help each other create short performances for children at a childcare centre or primary school. Through this task they hone scriptwriting, set design, and other performance-based skills. One important outcome of this assessment task can be seen through the students’ formal reflective reports which demonstrate that the assessment task has helped the students understand how their efforts have provided an opportunity for their own deep learning as well as how they can use their new skills to benefit others. This performance provides an opportunity for the students to create a rich introduction to the arts for children who might not otherwise enjoy the experiences that the performers take for granted.

Keywords: First-year Experience, Drama in Higher Education, Children’s Theatre

The International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation, Volume 22, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.11-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 8, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 702.986KB)).

Dr. Delyse Ryan

Senior Lecturer in Drama, School of Arts, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia