Ethnographic performance: a change agent for drama teaching and learning

R. Sallis

This article considers the ways in which an ethnographic performance can be an effective means of data generation, analysis and presentation for a researcher working in collaboration with drama teachers and students in an educational setting. The creation of the ethnodramatic play was part of a three-year Ph.D. educational ethnography conducted by the researcher in the Drama department of an inner-city co-educational government school in Melbourne, Australia. The researcher mapped the development of the play including how the drama teachers and their students collaborated on its development by providing feedback as it was being written and performed. The topic of the play was boys’ participation in drama in a co-educational learning environment, how they ‘performed’ gender in the classes and how this affected, and was affected by, the drama teachers, the female students and other males in the class. The article examines how the development of the ethnodramatic play was a transformative experience for the school community. The ethnodramatic process affected a change for the better in the work habits of the teachers and how some of their students viewed their participation in the drama classes.

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