Presentation Title

’On Your Feet!’: Navigating Disability in Theatre-based Teaching Pedagogies

Advisor Information

Kristin Girten

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 225

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

7-3-2014 1:15 PM

End Date

7-3-2014 1:30 PM

Abstract

Instructors engaging in critical and radical teaching pedagogies are concerned with challenging the traditional power structures of the classroom and transforming it into a more inclusive, democratic teaching space. Incorporating theatre activities into the classroom is one method of developing such a space with students (Boal, Rutter). Student-centered classrooms enable marginalized people an opportunity to develop their voice and agency. However, these same methodologies may ironically limit their own potential for inclusiveness, particularly when considering issues of disability (Hillcoat). I argue that most theatre-based teaching methods, such as Theatre of the Oppressed, Open Space Learning and others rooted in theatre, assume a certain level of able-bodiness in its participants. Currently, theatre activities in the classroom regularly need modification when a student with a disability is present. Such modifications are not always adequately developed. I propose using the tenets of Universal Design in order to allow for inclusiveness in these activities. By doing so, facilitators will be able to develop changes in activities that might have originally privileged able-bodied participants to be more inclusive, without necessitating people on the disability spectrum to self-disclose (Brueggemann, et.al., Dolmage, Knoll). By thinking through issues of accommodations and accessibility in advance, facilitators can ensure that objectives of the original activities are maintained while allowing for the most participants possible.

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Mar 7th, 1:15 PM Mar 7th, 1:30 PM

’On Your Feet!’: Navigating Disability in Theatre-based Teaching Pedagogies

UNO Criss Library, Room 225

Instructors engaging in critical and radical teaching pedagogies are concerned with challenging the traditional power structures of the classroom and transforming it into a more inclusive, democratic teaching space. Incorporating theatre activities into the classroom is one method of developing such a space with students (Boal, Rutter). Student-centered classrooms enable marginalized people an opportunity to develop their voice and agency. However, these same methodologies may ironically limit their own potential for inclusiveness, particularly when considering issues of disability (Hillcoat). I argue that most theatre-based teaching methods, such as Theatre of the Oppressed, Open Space Learning and others rooted in theatre, assume a certain level of able-bodiness in its participants. Currently, theatre activities in the classroom regularly need modification when a student with a disability is present. Such modifications are not always adequately developed. I propose using the tenets of Universal Design in order to allow for inclusiveness in these activities. By doing so, facilitators will be able to develop changes in activities that might have originally privileged able-bodied participants to be more inclusive, without necessitating people on the disability spectrum to self-disclose (Brueggemann, et.al., Dolmage, Knoll). By thinking through issues of accommodations and accessibility in advance, facilitators can ensure that objectives of the original activities are maintained while allowing for the most participants possible.