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The Experience of Theatrical Performance in EFL Teacher Education

In the general field of aesthetic education, the various approaches now grouped under the rubric of the performative have increasingly been shown to affect the learning process in positive ways. Nevertheless, relatively little scientific attention has thus far been focused on the question of the performative competence of the teacher him­ or­ herself, nor on how this competence might be effectively trained as part of teacher education. Proceeding from the assumption, then, that teaching (especially foreign language teaching) is as much a performing art as it is a science, and hence that teacher education ought to encompass performative/artistic processes and experiences as well as traditional instruction in pedagogical methods, this empirical study aims at assessing the potential benefits for teachers ­in­ training of the experience of theatrical performance, i.e. performance before a live audience. The qualitative data for the study are drawn from a series of experimental courses taught at the Freie Universität Berlin, in which EFL teachers­ in­ training are given the opportunity to create, rehearse, produce and perform their own original theatrical works in English. The project thus ultimately aims at contributing to the development of a performative foreign language teaching and learning culture.

Dr. John Crutchfield (john.crutchfield@fu-berlin.de)