Lecture by E. Piazzoli, August 26, 2016

Erika Piazzoli, Trinity College Dublin

The Aesthetic Experience in Process Drama in Second Language Learning: Voice, Identity and Intercultural Awareness

This seminar is divided into three parts: first, I offer a definition of ‘aesthetic experience’ in education, with attention to voice and identity in second language learning. Then, I introduce the process drama genre, focussing on its origins in the 1970s, its growth through the 1990s, and significant research developments in the last decade. The second and central part of the seminar consists of a practical drama workshop, to give participants an experiential flavour of learning a language through process drama. Finally, a reflective forum will enable participants to ask questions and engage in discussion on teaching and learning through process drama.
Within the genre of applied theatre, process drama differs significantly from scripted theatre, as it has no external audience, no pre-defined script, and no lines to memorize. Rather, the students are invited to actively co-create and embody a collective story. The teacher-artist’s task is to weave students’ contribution into a captivating narrative, creating dramatic tension to arouse students’ communicative, affective, and intercultural engagement. In this sense, process drama aims to engage language learners in an aesthetic and intercultural experience of/within the target language.
Throughout the seminar, participants will be encouraged to reflect on voice and identity as an aesthetic element of language learning, in relation to intercultural awareness. I will present findings from my PhD on the aesthetics of L2 learning through process drama – drawing examples from a case study on L2/drama with Chinese international students enrolled in the Cultural Mediation undergraduate programme at Università Statale di Milano (Italy). I argue that drama-based strategies enabled the participants to exercise agency on their learning, using various degrees of playfulness and dramatic irony to make sense of their intercultural identity.
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Friday, August 26, 2016
3 – 5 pm
B-4 Dwinelle Hall