TRAINING BY PLAYING. THEATRE AS A MEANS OF TEACHERS’ PREPARATION FOR CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
University of Florence (ITALY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The paper presents a blended training programme addressing 183 (future) teachers in Italy within the framework of the Erasmus+ project EAR (Forming active European Citizens through the dialectical method and theater). The training phase of the project aimed to introduce trainees to the dialectical method and theatre techniques as a means to promote students’ citizenship competences, namely interacting effectively and constructively with others, thinking critically, acting in a socially responsible manner, acting democratically (EC/EACEA/Eurydice, 2017). In this respect, EAR pedagogical approach to citizenship education is intended to guide students to reflect on the (dis)connections between the social reality they inhabit and fundamental democratic values (e.g. equality, social justice, solidarity), as well as to delevop their civic imagination and agency in a wider democratic culture. The training programme included both face-to-face and online sessions to familiarise the trainees with the EAR method, particularly through the simulation and the discussion of educational scenarios and classroom activities informed by social theatre (Boal, 1992; Clark, 2013; Midha, 2010) and the dialectical method (Plato & Bloom, 1991; Freire, 1970). Teachers’ training extended over the course of two months (October and November 2019) and included the implementation by practitioners of EAR educational scenarios in the classroom with about 900 primary and secondary school students (aged 9-15). After presenting the structure and the main contents of the training programme, the paper discusses teachers’ responses to an online survey through which they were asked to evaluate the impact of the training on their professional development in relation to the teaching of citizenship education at school. In this regard, the discussion of research findings highlights how practitioners benefited mostly from the practice-oriented training sessions and particularly from their own simulation of drama techniques before the implementation of classroom activities with students.
 Boal, A. (1992). Games For Actors and Non-Actors. London: Routledge.
 Clark, R. (2013). Drama Techniques. Exter: IPC. European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2017). Citizenship Education at School in Europe – 2017. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
 Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury Press.
 Merriam, S. B. (2001). Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education. San Francisco (CA): Jossey-Bass.
 Midha, G. (2010). Theatre of the oppressed. A manual for educators. Amherts: University of Massachusetts.
 Plato, & Bloom, A. (1991). The Republic of Plato. 2nd ed. New York: Basic Books.
Keywords: Citizenship education, social theatre, dialectical method, teachers’ professional development.