G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Dialogism as an Integral Element in Process Drama : Insights into a Drama Teacher’s Artistic-Pedagogical Expertise (2020)
Dialogismi erottamattomana tekijänä prosessidraamassa : Käsityksiä draamaopettajan taiteellis-pedagogisesta asiantuntijuudesta

Viirret, T. L. (2020). Dialogism as an Integral Element in Process Drama : Insights into a Drama Teacher’s Artistic-Pedagogical Expertise [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 238. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8189-1

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Viirret, Tuija Leena

eISBN: 978-951-39-8189-1

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 238

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8189-1

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


The quality of interaction is essential in drama education because of the personalising and corporeal nature of drama practices. In this study, the artistic– pedagogical dialogicality of three drama teachers is elaborated both in their practice of process drama and in their reflective of thinking and reasoning. Process drama is a genre of drama education in which the teacher and the participants together create a fictional world where they act in different roles and use different drama strategies. An essential strategy is the teacher-in-role (TIR), in which the teacher is able to have an effect inside the drama. The main research question is as follows: How does a drama teacher construct the artistic–pedagogical dialogue with the participants in process drama? The study takes a phenomenological approach, in which the focus is the meaning structures of the actors in their lifeworld and the relation of these structures to theories. Thus, this thesis investigates dialogical action and its fundaments. It uses the phenomenological, philosophical, sociological and neuroscientific knowledge and understandings of dialogism as a background, including the concepts of face-work and intersubjectivity. Additionally, the study takes an ethnomethodological approach in elaborating the interaction. The data include the videos of three different process dramas of three drama teachers, as well as the reflective interviews of these teachers when they were watching their own teaching from the video (stimulated recall). The analysis was mainly conducted using narrative analysis, but conversation analysis (CA) and content analysis were also used. The study comprises three sub-studies. The first sub-study is a case study on face-work when using the TIR strategy. The analysis with CA showed that in role work, the teacher (in TIR) acts in an area where both the faces of the self and the faces of the role need protection, which can be constructed in all stages of the entire process drama. Respectively, if the protection is not adequate, the experience in drama may become threatening or even harmful. The second sub-study explores intersubjectivity in drama education from a philosophical point of view. Additionally, according to recent findings in the field of neurosciences, it is emphasised that intersubjectivity is understood as an innate capacity in which corporeal understanding is primary. This comprehensive and continuing phenomenon in interaction generates jointly shared and understood experiences which, for one part, explain the efficacy of drama practices in learning. The third sub- study elaborates dialogicality in the three drama teachers’ current teacherhood. Dialogicality needs a clear agreement (drama contract) in the ways of working in drama, and through an open, tolerant and positive atmosphere, the participants can act in their roles safely and freely. Then, the aspects of alterity and unity in dialogue may become realised at the experiential and interactional levels. The implications of this study’s findings for drama education are theoretical, methodological and practical. First, the findings strengthen the ideas of bodymind, reflective dialogue and the sound phenomenological and philosophical basis of dialogism in drama education. Thus, intersubjectivity is regarded as a key phenomenon in drama education. Second, the use of CA and narrative analysis widens the methodological field in research in drama education. Third, drama teacher education should pay special attention to the knowledge of dialogism, and to the intersubjective intercorporeality that exists in interactions. Efforts should be made to create and maintain an enthusiastic, participative, safe and dialogical atmosphere in order to create the best possible learning space for participants. The study showed that a drama teacher’s artistic-pedagogical expertise in dialogism consists of sensing, perceiving, thinking and acting at the corporeal, interactional and psychic levels and within the frames of education, arts and being a human being. This expertise includes the virtues of respect, presence and confidence. The study promotes a deeper understanding of the necessary, challenging and vulnerable dialogism in drama education. In addition, it highlights the demand for implementing an expert, artistic-pedagogical teacher education program in drama education and in the various areas of arts education.

Keywords: dialogue; interaction; drama education; process drama

Free keywords: dialogism; face-work, intersubjectivity; process drama; teacher-in-role (TIR)

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:34