Fiona McDonagh: A teacher’s story of dramatic change

This paper presents a case study derived from a larger phenomenological inquiry into the ‘lived experience’ of teachers cocreating drama in Irish primary classrooms

This paper presents a case study derived from a larger phenomenological inquiry into the ‘lived experience’ of teachers cocreating drama in Irish primary classrooms. Co-creating drama depends on the active involvement of the teacher, their value for a creative learning environment, and their ability to enliven both egalitarian and creative behaviours in their teaching practice. The paper focuses on one participating teacher ‘Cathy’. At the outset of the study she admitted to having a limited understanding and appreciation of drama. However, as the study progressed there was a shift both in her attitude and motivation. She began to question her existing ideas about teaching and develop fresh perspectives. In the paper, I examine her experience through a phenomenological lens with reference to theories of teacher change and development theory, and seek to examine how teacher change in drama is effective and powerful when it is driven by the teachers themselves.

Dr Fiona McDonagh:
A Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Drama and Theatre Studies at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, where she teaches on the BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies. Prior to that, Fiona was the Artistic Director of Cups & Crowns Children’s Theatre Company for over ten years. She continues to research and make theatre for young audiences

Laura Dean (Associate Director)
Laura is a keen advocate for the Arts in Education. A graduate of the Comparative and International Education MA program at Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA, USA), Laura’s research interests revolve around how Arts subjects, and Theatre in particular, can play a crucial role to the development of a student’s social and emotional well-being, whilst bolstering their academic attainment. Having lived in numerous places around the world, and worked to support international students in a university setting, Laura is interested in supporting global Education policy. With an avid interest in Theatre & Performance, she is delighted to be bringing her two passions together to lead on Dialogue’s Community Performance for Education work.