Mahammad Hasnat and Janinka Greenwood: I am illiterate, they are educated; what can I say to them?: A performative presentation of case study data

Mixed-media dramatic presentation to present data from a case study of rural parents’ engagement in education in Bangladesh.

This presentation uses mixed-media dramatic presentation to present data from a case study of rural parents’ engagement in education in Bangladesh. The data revealed not only a lack of engagement but also a major communicative gap between rural parents and teachers in local schools. Illiteracy and poverty, differences in social status and power and the impact of prevalent social discourses were identified as key, and apparently insuperable, problems. However, the study also found a rural head teacher who broke through perceived barriers by visiting parents in their homes and in market tea stalls and so created a basis for communication and engagement. The use of hand puppets, overhead projections, and recordings allows the data to be understood as a social drama and so highlights the interplay of experiences of frustration, inadequacy, courage, and hope that are the human aspects of what is sometimes seen by policy as a statistical problem.

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Mahammad Hasnat is Bangladeshi and a recent doctoral graduate from the University of Canterbury, and a researcher of parental engagement in rural schools in a developing country.

Janinka Greenwood is Professor of education at the University of Canterbury and a playwright and community theatre practitioner.

Tegan is a strong advocate for the development of Theatre and the Arts in community settings and has been involved with numerous Applied Theatre programmes throughout her professional training and experience. Tegan graduated with a Master of Arts with Distinction in Applied Theatre from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has professional experience in Community Performance that promotes Young People’s expression and engagement through Puppetry and Theatre practices. As well as collaborating and performing with ERTH Visual & Physical Inc and Welsh theatre company PuppetSoup, she has co-directed and worked alongside Shop Front Arts Co-Op Junior Ensemble of 8-14-year old’s to create the original devised production, The Unknown. Tegan is currently working as Teaching Artist for Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘School Drama’. This is a Teachers Professional Development Program designed to improve teaching and learning by modelling the use of drama-based strategies with quality children's literature.