Because of you, this is me: An Auto ethnographic study of drama in practice

Bolton, Christopher J. (2020) Because of you, this is me: An Auto ethnographic study of drama in practice. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the affective nature of my new and emerging hybrid identity and practice as a teacher/researcher. It demonstrates how the drama practice of both new drama teachers and I is entwined and entangled whilst existing in a regime of performativity (Ball 2003). The primary focus of the research is to explore and unpick how my identity and what I have called artful practice as a drama teacher helps to shape, challenge and affirm the entry of new drama teachers to the teaching profession. This new approach to initial teacher education (ITE) and drama in education (DiE) not only meets the requirements of a “performative culture” (Ball et al. 2012: 514) but also, more importantly, has a longer lasting, deeper and more affective impact on new drama teachers as learners and professionals. It contests and challenges the current English neoliberal educational agenda, which has seen a demise of arts education more generally, and rejects the meta-narrative of schooling as a performance (Ball et al. 2012).

Using international literature from the field of drama in education, I contextualise the position of DiE in the wider global neoliberal climate. New drama teachers’ identity formation and the subject itself are under threat, from neoliberal and risk-aversive teaching, which values the product and outcomes of learning more highly than any process and experience. I argue that this educational environment inevitably affects my professional identity and practice and has forced me to question my own understanding of drama practice and drama concepts that I believe have value in the field of DiE. My use of an auto ethnographic (Ellis and Bochner, 2000) methodological position combined with an Arts-based research approach explores how my professional identity is created, imagined and framed. I use an artful and innovative approach to the collation of data that puts to work concepts of truth and fiction. This approach views drama as a way of knowing the world that is personal, individual, subjective and values the possibility of there being different and contrasting ‘knowledges’. Consequently, in the findings section a textual staging (Richardson, 1997) process has been adopted, which has enabled narrative accounts and experiences of a drama workshop and research process to be woven together to illustrate new and engaging spaces for interpretation. Unpicking the data in this way has created new arts-based methodological approaches to the data such as ‘textual-tableaux’.

In conclusion the thesis examines the ways in which my professional identity and practice is intertwined with new drama teachers developing their pedagogy, whilst simultaneously exploring its effects on their emerging practice. I question and un-pick how the creation of framed boundaries in teaching practice can both restrict and limit teachers whilst at the same time look for ways to shape and liberate my own professional identity and create forms of affective practice in ITE. I also argue for a clearer understanding for those new to the teaching of drama about the relationship(s) between perceptions of truth and fiction, time and space and professional identity formation. Finally, this research re-celebrates and values the potential creative eagerness and passion of drama teachers and the importance of drama in the school curriculum.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Date: 14 December 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: Drama, education, teacher identity, auto ethnography, drama practice
Subjects: L600 Anthropology
W400 Drama
X100 Training Teachers
X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Education and Social Work
REF UoA Output Collections > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2021 12:08
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 05:30
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11320

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