Three Cognitive Processes
in Drama Teaching Design
While listening to the 23 presenters at the Drama Australia Symposium 2017, and thinking about my own interest in the concept of metacognition and its importance in higher level learning especially at the senior secondary level at which I used to teach, I have come up with these three concepts.
The papers which were most significant in my thinking were:
Susan Davis: Dramatic Thinking: Identifying and Owning Our Creative Process - "This paper investigates the concerns and considerations of the creative process in drama with reference to systems theories of creativity and the notion of signature pedagogies to propose embracing the concept of 'dramatic thinking'. If we accept that there are signature pedagogies (Shulman 2005) which are endemic to different disciplines and professions, these may also be seen to extend to thinking and creative process used by the dramatic pedagogue and dramatist."
Brad Haseman: Thin Redundancy or Rich Aesthetics? Drama Education and Online Learning Design - "While the paper is immediately relevant to those working with drama and digital technology, it is also relevant to arts teachers who are having to deal with educational approaches dismissive of constructivist, problem-based and experiential learning."
Paul Gardiner: Creative Climates: Collaboration for Creativity in the Context of Individual Assessment - "This paper explores the findings of research into playwriting pedagogy and the associated pedagogical strategies that develop student creative capacity and creative confidence.... It examines classroom practice through the lens of creative environments (Isaksen & Ekvall, 2010) and how collaborative practice can further foster student creativity through encouraging idea support, debate, trust and openness."
Alison O'Grady: Navigating Context in a Post-truth World: Confronting a New Challenge for Researchers - "In a recent workshop, it was discovered that divergent personal truths could co-exist, while simultaneously suggesting what was believed was most likely a lie."
John Nicholas Saunders: Using Drama as Creative, Critical and Quality Pedagogy to Improve Student Literacy and Engagement in the Primary Years - "The paper will illustrate how using creative pedagogy (partularly process drama-based strategies), combined with quality children's literature, can improve student academic (English and literacy) and non-academic (engagement, motivation, confidence and empathy) outcomes in the primary years of schooling."
Michael Anderson: Capitalising on Creativity to Re-imagine Schooling: Beyond STEM and STEAM - In this presentation I will discuss the role of creativity as a driver of innovation across all subjects and fields and explore what we are missing out on by siloing STEM from other areas of creativity and innovation in the curriculum."
My purpose is to offer these three headings under which a teacher may plan drama-based activities appropriate for the needs of their students; while they may be helpful in judging the success or otherwise of the activity when assessing the students' learning outcomes.
Process Drama: a linear process from implicit learning in the active drama phase to explicit understanding of external material. For the students, this is "Simple Cognitive" experience, in which they learn about subjects which are not Drama.
Drama Process Drama: a linear process from implicit learning in the active drama phase to explicit understanding of drama process. For the students, this is "Metacognitive" experience, taking their understanding of Drama to a higher level. This kind of experience was the objective of my development of extended group improvisation method for Years 11/12 1985-1992.
Theatre Process Drama: a recursive process from metacognitive understanding in rehearsal to internalised implicit recall in performance phase. For the students, as actors in a drama (whether formally or informally staged), this "Recursive Metacognition" experience enables them to act, in Hayes Gordon's words, rather than 'perform'. (Hayes Gordon: Acting and Performing, Ensemble Press, Sydney © Hayes Gordon 1987, first published 1992)
© Frank McKone, Canberra