Drama and Theatre Education
教育戲劇和劇場


Characteristics of Drama/Theatre Activities and Essence of Drama and Theatre Education
戲劇/劇場活動的特質,以及什麽是教育戲劇和劇場

Here I return to my earlier discussion of Greece. Theatre and democracy, two of humanities greatest inventions, both originated in ancient Greece. This cannot be a coincidence, there must be a link between the two. If ancient Greeks regarded “who am I?”, “where do I come from?”, and “where am I going” as the ultimate philosophical questions and began the human exploration of the meaning of life from there, they had raised questions about life through drama and accordingly laid a foundation for the development of human civilisation and society long time ago.

Inspired by history, ancient Greek playwrights wrote plays and arranged rehearsals. On stage, actors in character constantly asked the audience “what should I do?” This question in the face of Greek drama’s moral dilemmas and crises spurred the audience to discussion and reflection while providing guidance. Dialogues made participants, both actors and audience, open to the outside world and put everyone into independent consciousness. It was in such an environment that democracy was nurtured. Therefore, dramatic and theatrical activities possess two indispensable elements for the teaching processes—dialogue and democracy.

The practice of drama has developed over the course of more than two thousand years and has, in that time, undergone many changes, but now as then, in the performing arts, the performers are the real subjects of the theatrical activities. Thus, teaching approaches characterised by the twin mediums of drama or theatre allow students and performers to share the same identity and work as the subjects in creating/teaching and learning processes.

As the most comprehensive type among all art forms, dramatic arts includes performing arts, visual arts, sound effect, choreography, lighting and so on. Each field can be designed into a course boasting a wealth of content. Take performing arts as an example. It not only achieves practices of text comprehension, text writing and verbal expression through the form of stage plays, but also realises training of imagination, creativity, aesthetics and physique by means of physical/dancing arts.

The teaching mode with drama and theatre as a medium is mainly divided into two branches. The first one is Drama in Education, which introduces drama elements into classes, such as “role-playing” or a variety of drama games in teaching. It is unnecessary for students to be equipped with acting skills; all they need to do is being willing to engage in games, play parts, experience a story or complete a task by communicating and collaborating with others under the guidance of supervisors. It aims to stimulate students to experiment on their own without right or wrong answers, rewards or punishments. In such a relaxing and safe teaching and learning environment, children are encouraged to show themselves and explore potential capabilities, so that they will take challenges and solve problems in real life with larger confidence and therefore greater innovation.

The second mode is Theatre in Education. Teachers here are performers, creating dramatic works about topics relevant to students, motivating them to ponder questions raised through performance, spurring them to dialogue and debate. At the same time, the performer-teachers invite students to interact, for instance, asking them for advice and to complete dialogues or to help make choices and decisions, etc. and then continue with performances according to students’ ideas. After the end of plays performed by teachers, discussions are usually carried out. The purpose is to make students be aware of their existence in a larger social context and thus develop a more in-depth understanding of cultural, social, moral and ethical elements and also know how to deal with their relationships with others and the society.

I believe that teaching approaches based in the performing arts such as Drama in Education and Theatre in Education should be explored further by educators. There is plenty of room here to discover and develop new teaching theories and methods and break educational boundaries as well.

由此我要談回到希臘,劇場和民主這兩項人類歷史的偉大發明同在古希臘發源並不是某種巧合。民主的誕生,和劇場之間存在著某種必然聯繫。如果說古希臘人最終將人生的終極哲學問題定在“我是誰”、“我從哪兒來”、“我要到哪兒去”開啟了人類對於生命意義的探索,那麽在更早以前,他們已經通過戲劇對人生發出提問,並為人類社會的文明發展奠定了基礎。

古希臘的劇作家們從現實中獲得靈感,將其改編成本排演成劇,演員在一個個道德困境和決斷危機時向觀眾反復發問“我該怎麽辦,我該怎麽辦?”,使演員及觀眾進行對話和思考,從而對現實生活進行指導。對話使得每一個人向外界敞開,讓每一個人處於有獨立意識和可變性的狀態中,而民主,正是在這樣的環境中得以孕育。戲劇/劇場活動因此具備了教學活動中所必需的兩項重要內容——對話及民主。

人類的戲劇活動發展已有兩千多年,其中經歷了很多變化,但本質上作為一門表演藝術,表演者是戲劇/劇場活動中真正的主體,因此以戲劇/劇場作為媒介的教學方法,使得學生和表演者的身份合二為一,成為創作/教學/過程中的主體。

戲劇/劇場藝術在所有藝術形式裡是一門最具綜合性的藝術種類,它包括了表演藝術、視覺藝術、音效、舞美、燈光等等,每一個環節都能設計成為具有相當教學內涵的課程。例如表演藝術,既可以通過話劇表演藝術形式實現在文本理解、文本創作、口頭表達方面的訓練,也可以通過肢體/舞蹈藝術形式來實現想象力、創造力、審美、形體方面的訓練。

以戲劇和劇場作為媒介的教學方式目前主要分為兩大支系:第一是教育戲劇,即在課程當中引用戲劇元素,例如“角色扮演”或各種戲劇遊戲進行教學。學生不需要有特殊的演技,只需要在導師的帶領下一起玩耍或成為某個角色,通過與他人溝通、協作,共同去經歷一個故事、完成一個任務。這個過程旨在經歷、體驗,沒有是非對錯、獎懲排名,輕松、安全的教學環境使得孩子更加大膽地去呈現自己,挖掘、開發更深層次的能力與自我,從而在現實生活中更加自信更具有創造性地去面對困難、解決問題。

第二個是教育劇場,老師同時作為表演者,針對學生群體當下比較關注的話題,例如早戀等改編成劇,在表演過程中通過對話和爭辯引起學生思考,並邀請學生進行互動,例如向學生征求意見、讓學生代為對話或讓學生幫忙做選擇、決策等,再根據學生想法將表演進行下去,劇演結束後再集中進行討論。其意圖使學生在更大的社會範圍內意識到自己的存在,從而對文化的、社會的、道德的、倫理的各個方面有更深的感知,更加知道如何去處理人和他人,人和社會的問題。

除了教育戲劇和教育劇場,筆者認為以表演藝術作為教學途徑也應成為教育戲劇和劇場的之外的另一重要支系。這個領域是充分開放的,可以由更多的人來擴充教學理論和方法,突破教學邊界。


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