University of Athens (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 3605-3613
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
Assuming that, to a large extent, children's creative contact with drama depends on the nature and the quality of the teachers' artistic education we explore aspects of the question: In which ways can elements of the artistic production of the traditional Puppet Theatre be combined with the educational knowledge, beliefs and practices formed by early childhood teachers during their education.

The sample was composed of 147 students who chose to attend the introductory class on puppet theatre in the Early Childhood Education Department of the Athens’ University. Of these, 82.3% were first-year students who were attending their very first classes. The other 17.7% were more advanced students, who were, however, attending a class on puppet theatre for the first time.

The students watched a recording of a performance of Fassoulis. As a puppet theatre persona Fassoulis was born in the heart of Carnival and belongs to the great family of Polichinelle, Punch and Judy, Fagioletto and Guigniol. The students watched also videotaped excerpts of traditional European Fassoulis and immediately after answered a questionnaire, which comprised three categories of questions. We expected the answers to the first category of questions to give us an insight about the students' theatrical experience as spectators of puppet theatre. The second and third category of questions were aimed at getting answers representing –qualitatively and quantitatively– the students' beliefs about various aspects of a possible pedagogical involvement with performances of this particular category. These aspects concern the students' beliefs shaping their predisposition to take the children of their future class to watch this particular performance of Fassoulis.

Our hypothesis suggests that the students' predisposition depends on: a) their attitude towards the specific event of “we take the children to watch Fassoulis”, an attitude resulting from the co-evaluation of “what do I have to gain and what do I have to lose” from something of this nature; b) their assessment of the children's attitude towards this event; i.e. the assessment of what the children attending the performance are likely to gain or lose; c) the subjective norm, which bears on this event either positively or negatively, i.e. “what do I reckon the others who are important to me will say if I do it”; and c) the assessment concerning the control of this activity, that is to say an evaluation of whether one will succeed in this venture.

Among others, results evidence a problem in the aesthetics of our pedagogical theories. The first-year students appear indifferent to what others will say and take into account only whether they and/or the children will enjoy themselves, while in the case of the more advanced students the opposite seems to hold. Have we managed to persuade the older of our students that the "musts" are more important than the "I likes"? We believe that this should worry us and intend to explore it further.
Early childhood education, teachers’ education, theatre education, puppet theatre.