Teaching philosophical developments in the dramatic arts classroom : an action research study to improve my teaching practices.
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In order to improve my teaching strategies in the Dramatic Arts classroom in which I teach, I conducted an action research study with my students. This study was underpinned by critical pedagogy and guided by four research questions. Firstly I looked at how effective my usual teaching strategies were. Secondly I determined what interventions were used to improve my teaching practices. Thirdly I explored how the interventions in my teaching practices, were used to improve the teaching and learning of philosophical developments in Dramatic Arts. Lastly I focused on how the interventions improved my teaching practices. I drew on the teaching strategies, interventions and action research studies of other educators and researchers. The participants of this study were Dramatic Arts students in a secondary school in the Durban South region. Data was collected using various methods such as pre-intervention questionnaires, observations, journal entries, test marks, a focus group interview and post-intervention questionnaires. After teaching each philosophical development, data was collected and thematically analyzed, according to positive and negative responses from students. Thereafter careful reflection took place. The analysis and reflections informed the next intervention that I created and used to teach the next section. The interventions included teaching strategies such as teacher led discussions, teaching at a slower pace, constantly repeating the content of the lesson, using more examples in the classroom, having an activity at the end of the lesson and replacing complex terms with simpler meanings. I also aimed to create a suitable teaching environment and used problem-based learning, visual images, quotes, hotseating, groupwork and group feedback. The teaching strategies that proved to be the most effective were teaching at a slow pace, using examples that students could relate to and replacing the difficult vocabulary with simple and more understandable words. These were the teaching strategies that allowed me to become a more effective and successful educator. As a result, my students understood well and performed better. This in turn, made my teaching strategies more effective, satisfying and enjoyable.