Teaching for Deep Understanding in an Ethnographic Theatre Course: Undergraduate Professional Education for a New Era

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Teaching for Deep Understanding in an Ethnographic Theater Course is a workshop/presentation that focuses on learning in an arts-based environment. It examines, through interactive demonstrations, how ethnographic theater course work impacted students' awareness, aesthetic development, and learning. The workshop is designed as a practical conversation for educators who are interested in how to teach multiple-methodological types of courses and how to infuse inter-disciplinarity into the curriculum while maintaining a sense of integrity for art-making. The workshop focuses on the affect of methods designed for the course Theatre 460: Ethnographic Storytelling and Drama, taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Discussion and explorations revolve around how the course was conceptualized, the procedures and protocols created, engagement and collaborations developed, learnings and outcomes experienced by students and faculty, and the resulting works-in-progress/performances. Also, the workshop will present findings from evaluation activities that were/are aligned with Theatre 460. This workshop also examines findings from research done on the learning and instruction within this course. It describes how and what student participants learned through participating in the making of creative theatrical experiences.

Keywords: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Deep Understanding, Arts-Based Methods, Theater Education, Course Development
Stream: Creative Arts and Learning
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Robin Mello

Associate Professor, Director of Theatre Education Program, Department of Theater, University of Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

During the past eight years I have focused my research agenda on the practice of teaching and learning: creating and researching the efficacy of programs for theater and interdisciplinary arts educators and artists who work for and within urban public schools. Toward that end, my engagement has focused on directing and managing the K-12 Theater Education Program within the Department of Theater at the Peck School of the Arts and examining how teaching and learning are experienced in this area of emphasis. In addition to teaching methods and practicum courses, I have the unique opportunity to teach arts-disciplinary courses for the general education population at my university. Here, I have designed courses that combine my art form (storytelling and community-based theater) and my scholarship (how to encourage deep understanding and learning in classroom environments). My latest research explorations have resulted in an in-depth and long-term study of the affect of ethnographic theatre making on student learning. Finally, in the Fall of 2007, during my sabbatical leave I completed a book-length manuscript that delineates the activities and procedures involved in implementing an ethnographic theater course: Community Voices: Teaching and Learning through Ethnotheatre

Ref: L08P0625