Learning Drama Pedagogy through Story at NIE

Learning Drama Pedagogy through Story at NIE

Friday, 20 January 2017

Website Pic Learning at NIE 2
by Assistant Professor Charlene Rajendran & Assistant Professor Prudence Wales
Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Academic Group


"Drama has provided me with a safe platform to explore pressing issues which may be deemed controversial, but demand attention in a rapidly globalising world. The drama courses that I went through helped me to approach the issues from multiple angles, which then led to a final production, where these issues were presented to a wider audience to provoke thinking and elicit responses from members of the community."-Rusydiana bte. Kusni


Drama at NIE is being used as a vehicle to explore contemporary social and cultural issues in Singapore. This is having an impact on the way our student teachers see themselves and  others in a global and fast-changing society. Much of the work they do in drama involves exploring their  ideas  and  feelings  about  issues such as cultural difference, social inequity and national identity. Student teachers examine their own stories of conflict and struggle as material for drama, deriving ideas  for  character,  plot and  storyline from a combination of situations they then research on and interrogate. In unpacking their own stories, they reveal and reflect on the stories of others, developing a capacity to articulate and recognise the complex multiplicities within allegedly single cultures.

This approach to drama led to a graduation   production   in  2015  called Lost   in   Trans(Nation),  attended    by the NIE/NTU community and a wider audience. It generated energetic and fulfilling  post-show  discussions  led  by the  student  teachers, about  the  need to recognise identity as a construct of several elements and histories. Student teachers devised the script based on a collage of experiences they encountered and cultural frameworks they had researched on. These approaches first began  in  a Drama  Education  course, and  were further developed  in courses on Cultural Theory, Applied  Theatre, Directing  and Dramaturgy. In preparing for their Performance and Production course,  student  teachers  were  tasked with   creating   performance   that   drew from drama theory and practice,  critical pedagogy, national education and 21st century skills. Drama was performed as both pedagogy and art.