Particularizing Pedagogy

Sarah Golsby-Smith,
Kate Flaherty
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In Shakespeare, Theory, and Performance, James C. Bulman forges the term “radical contingency”, suggesting that Shakespeare’s plays are perennially destabilized by the participatory nature of theatrical meaning. If we see the classroom as a place where performative and participatory exchanges take place, then Bulman’s insight about theatrical meaning has ramifications for pedagogy. Intended to address the theme area “The pedagogy of performance: Teaching drama”, the workshop will explore the extent to which dramatic texts suggest a distinctive form of pedagogy; one which takes into account the immediate context and specific qualities of the individuals participating.

Sarah and Kate will briefly explain their rationale for “particularizing pedagogy” using examples from their own experiences in theatre and as teachers in secondary and tertiary education contexts. Participants in the workshop will then be given the opportunity to work on inventing a pedagogical approach to an excerpt of dramatic text. It is intended that each participant take into account the dynamics of the excerpt and its dependence on the moment of performance for specific meaning. The “moment of performance” naturally entails the work of individual performers; whether real students or imagined actors; and the space in which the scene is performed.

The overall objective of the workshop is to set up a context in which participants can explore the semantic plenitude of the dramatic text in relation to their own specific participatory insight and those of a putative tutorial or class group. “Particularizing pedagogy” is a theoretical and practical experiment born of the conviction that the intersection of a particular dramatic text with particular imaginations and experiences is bound to be generative of meaning. Shakespeare’s work is an apt conversation partner in such an experiment because it is often self-reflexive, acknowledging its own means and its dependence on the lived and performed moment for meaning.

Keywords: Shakespeare, Drama, Pedagogy, Hermeneutics
Stream: Audiences, Arts Education, Meaning and Representation
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
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Sarah Golsby-Smith

Ph.D candidate, Department of English, University of Sydney

My thesis investigates the way a secondary English classroom functions when it is inflected with Theory. Working in the department of English, I am primarily interested in the ways in which theorising about reading is inextricable from the act of reading. I am interested in the ways in which a text can be viewed as a conversation partner, rather than an object for investigation. I am a full time English high school teacher, and the impulse for my reflection stems from my experience of reading in concert with my students. I have taught in various high school settings in NSW Australia, and in BC Canada. My work has been published in The Australian.

Kate Flaherty

Department of English, University of English

Ref: A06P0321