Student Teachers Present ‘Theater of the Oppressed’ at Conference

By Purnell T. Cropper | June 1, 2011

Three Arcadia University Education majors, undergraduate and graduate, co-presented at the Scholar-Practitioner Quarterly Spring Conference held May 20 and 21 at St. Joseph’s University. The students—Tiffani Cooper, Catherine Sandilos, and Robin Walton—were led by assistant professors Dr. Foram Bhukhanwala and Dr. Kim Dean, and their presentation was on “Creating a discourse of possibilities through engaging in Theater of the Oppressed: Student teachers’ make sense of their emotions, teacher identity, and agency.”

The focus of the presentation was to share the findings of their qualitative research study. The study illuminated the potential of Theater of the Oppressed activities for supporting prospective teachers in making sense, generating possibilities, and taking actions in addressing the challenges they experience with power and emotions in their student teaching. The students participated in a supplemental, voluntary arts-based seminar during their student-teaching semester, and along with Bhukhanwala and Dean they interviewed other participants, analyzed data, and co-wrote the research paper. The conference theme was “Fostering Civic Engagement: Revisiting the Role of the University and Aesthetics as a Language of Possibility.”