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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Karen M Gourd
B EDUC 491
Bothell Campus

Special Topics in Education

Class description

The purpose of this course is the facilitation of social and educational change. Forum theatre (FT) is interactive and dynamic, and uses participatory learning as an opportunity for students to combine action with knowledge and involvement in communities.

Participants in the course will read about and learn to facilitate forum theatre, identify communities that they participate in, brainstorm problems relevant to their communities, investigate the issues of their communities, develop scenes and characters based on their investigations and experience, and will facilitate forum theatre with people in local communities.

We will begin the term by reading from the major works of Augusto Boal and other dramatist who use drama for educational and change purposes. However, much of the learning in this course will come from hands-on, experiential learning. From the first class session, we will begin to use forum theatre activities and techniques. We will discuss the activities: What is the technique? What is the purpose of the activity? Why use it? What are issues to be sensitive to (e.g., touching, fear)? How might we respond to participants’ responses?

Throughout the quarter, participants will be involved with a particular community. Involvement with this community is crucial to the forum theatre process. Real issues of the community will be used to develop a scene. Scene development continues throughout the quarter. At then end of the quarter each group of participants will work take their scene to an audience of community members for the culminating events. (We will do trial runs during our classtime.)

Student learning goals

Based on community-based experiences, in-class participation in activities, and course readings, students will acquire and demonstrate skills that will

3. actively participate in the development, production and facilitation of a forum theatre event in a particular community, 4. gather information (data) through observation and interviewing in a particular community,

5. use community-based data in the development of a forum theatre scene and characters, 6. define critical consciousness,

7. connect critical consciousness with key issues of a selected community, 8. apply critical thinking skills to forum theatre,

be assessed throughout the quarter. During this course, students will be able to 1. define forum theatre as developed by Augusto Boal, and 2. outline the steps to develop, produce, and facilitate forum theatre

9. engage in critical discussion of sensitive issues (e.g., poverty, racism, privilege) 10. consider multiple perspectives,

11. use collaborative skills to work with peers and within communities, 12. write academically, including but not limited to demonstrating control of writing conventions.

General method of instruction

This is not a lecture class. It will be more similar to a workshop course.

Since this is an experiential learning course focused on learning through participation, assigned readings will focus on defining concepts (e.g., critical consciousness, forum theatre, communities, collecting community-based data) and how to complete tasks. For example, students will select a theatre game; then do reading necessary to lead peers in the game. Some readings will be required of all students, while other readings will be necessary for particular students according to their role in the production of forum theatre and the community event. For example, the community forum event will require work on costumes, props, program creation, and event details such as location, seating arrangement, and ensuring an audience. Although all students will be expected to have general knowledge of the entire production, individuals will be responsible for in-depth knowledge and accountability of particular details, which may require individualized readings and investigations. Consequently, after the first few weeks of class, course reading assignments will be announced and are listed on the tentative course calendar as TBA. These readings will be from the texts listed for the course or will be on reserve at the library or through the Internet.

Recommended preparation

No previous work is necessary in education or in drama production or acting. This is not an acting or a theatre class.

Class assignments and grading

A. Attendance, Participation, and In-Class Work(20%) Attendance and participation are required because the group process is key and assessment takes place through observing participation. By the second week, students take responsibility for leading forum theatre activities that they are reading about. Additionally, students also discuss and investigate their communities and community issues in preparation for scene and character development. Small groups of students (4-7) will develop scenes, practicing and revising interactively while also learning to respond to audience members’ directions, questions, and concerns.

B. Observation and Participation Learning Journal (25%) Students will act as participant observers in a community group and in the classroom, keeping a learning journal throughout the term. This journal should be a record of learning connected to the community—information that will be useful when developing a scene and facilitating Forum Theatre. In addition, the journal should be a record of individuals’ use and responses to activities—how to do them, what emotions were connected to them, questions and concerns, excitement and enthusiasm, and plans for using and adapting them. This will also be a place for summarizing and responding to the course readings.

C. Co-Facilitation of a Forum Theatre Event (25%) Students will collaborate to facilitate a forum theatre event in the community in which they have been observing and participating. This event will take place outside of classtime and will be scheduled at a time convenient to the community to ensure community members participation.

D. Culminating Paper (30%) At the end of the quarter, each small group will facilitate forum theatre with a community in which the group members were participating. Following the forum theatre event, students will complete a culminating paper reflecting on their learning and participation through their work in forum theatre.

Additionally, the culminating paper will include a processfolio, reflection on the individual’s learning through the course. The processfolio will include supportive evidence from work completed during the quarter. For example, an individual may want to compare an excerpt from an early entry in the learning journal to a later entry if the comparison demonstrates learning that the individual considers relevant. Individuals may elect to include peer evaluations with an explanation how the peer evaluations prompted a change in understanding of the individual’s work.

We will be determining/modifying evaluation criteria throughout the term; however you can find the foundational criteria by going to the electronic reserves for BEDUC 491a for this course. Search for the McKean, Appendix B item to view the criteria. https://eres.bothell.washington.edu/eres/coursepage.aspx?cid=1283&page=docs#


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Karen M Gourd
Date: 01/05/2008