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"I didn't like it, I prefer Musicals": The lived experience of the drama teacher in the contemporary secondary suburban school

Wood, Katrina (2015) "I didn't like it, I prefer Musicals": The lived experience of the drama teacher in the contemporary secondary suburban school. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This research explains and describes Drama teachers’ lived experience of teaching Drama in contemporary schools. The case study method generates ‘rich descriptions’ of four Drama teachers’ lived experience set in the contexts of their schools. This is framed within a critical paradigm that suggests there is a politics that informs what can be learned in Drama and how it should be taught. Drama teachers’ work is influenced by those discourses concerned with control and cultural reproduction constituted within power relations. This research employs three landscapes to describe and explain the Drama teachers’ lived experience within the powerful constraints in schools. Critical discourse analysis was used to reveal how Drama teachers confront, contest, accept and/or resist these powerful spaces that many believe influence their work and shape their professional identity.

Some of the findings and literature reveal that Drama teachers believe Drama offers something unique in school and often use it as a vehicle to raise awareness about social and cultural conditions that they believed were left unexplored in school. Although Drama teachers see the subject of Drama providing alternative pathways for their students, they are constrained by dominant assessment systems that fail to recognise the embodied learning experiences of students. Three core themes emerged as central to the Drama teachers’ lived experience. These include - 1) performative cultures are powerful in shaping how Drama teachers know their work, students, and schools, 2) negotiating professional identities are complexly constructed, and 3) Drama is often understood as a unique and transformative subject for students but its potential can be constrained in schools.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Supervisor(s): Thompson, Greg and MacCallum, Judy
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