This paper focuses on the use of dramatic performance as pedagogy in an elective module in drama education, located in the final semester of a four-year initial teacher education programme in Ireland. The paper focusses, specifically, on the experiences of one of the students, ‘April’. The module, grounded in post-structuralism and performance studies theory, was based on the premise that in telling and retelling narratives of our experiences, we shape and reshape our identities. It was designed to provoke students – through the processes of creating and performing solo dramatic works – to trouble the notion of a fixed (teacher) identity. Students’ told narratives of their experiences firstly in oral form, then in play script format and, finally, in solo dramatic performances. In the paper, I explore how April, as she told and retold narratives of her experience (in dialogue with others) repositioned herself within broader cultural narratives of teaching.
“The aim of the project was to provoke final year students […] to question the whole notion of a fixed teacher identity […] As we tell and retell our stories, we shape and reshape our identities. That we are, what we are, to use Maxine Greene’s words, ‘narratives in the making.’”
A lecturer in drama education at Mary Immaculate College, where she is course co-ordinator of the College’s MA in Education and the Arts (META). She also worked for many years as a primary teacher and as a provider of continuing professional development for primary teachers. Her research interests lie in research-based theatre, theatre-based pedagogy and theatre for young audiences. She is particularly interested in troubling culturally dominant constructions of gender.