Thesis Title

The Use of Forum Theatre as a Problem Solving Strategy for Middle School Students

Graduation Date

Spring 2003

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form

Print

Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name

Education

Abstract

My research study examines the impact of using a theatre technique called "Forum Theatre" on the development of problem-solving skills for Middle School children. The techniques used in my study originated from Augusto Boal, the inventor of Forum Theatre.

Middle School children have a difficult time being successful problem solvers and they desperately need effective tools to solve problems in their daily lives. I was interested in presenting Forum Theatre to Middle School students to evaluate the impact of giving students this tool to solve problems in their lives. Would the Forum Theatre experience be an effective tool?

Forum Theatre enables participants to act out skits that reflect situations in their own lives that pose questions and problems. When the actors are acting out a scenario, spect-actors (audience) are allowed to enter the play to help resolve the problem. The "spect-actor" jumps into the scene, stops the action and inserts his/her own idea to implement as a solution. This empowers and encourages the audience to try the solutions they have acted out when confronted with similar issues outside the theatrical environment.

Participants for my research study were 6 males and 15 female students in my Leadership Club. X was a participant observer as I taught and collaborated with my students in the learning and acting of Forum Theatre.

Throughout this process I asked for 10 volunteers to keep a journal of their opinions, reflections and observations as they experienced this process with me. Along with the reenactment of a drinking episode on campus using Forum Theatre, the students also engaged in two sensory/muscular exercises. The first exercise was called "The Great Game of Power". (See Appendix A, p. 3-11). The second exercise was called "Complete the Image". (See Appendix A, p. 11-20). These activities invited the students to become more aware and comfortable with each other as a group working together. These exercises also broadened their outlook when it came to the influence of power and perception. The Leadership Club also participated in a pre and post survey. (See Appendix D). The surveys were given to the students in order to receive feedback about their feelings on their own personal values, and to discover their perceptions and ideas about underage drinking and peer pressure.

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