Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-15-2017


The purpose of this practitioner action research (PAR) study was to explore experiences of middle school students enrolled in a basic drama class, creating a performance piece that allowed for the representation of voices and opinions of participants. Seventh and eighth grade students developed work relating their perspectives on issues important to them--friendship, respect, equality, secrets, and moving on. Questions were 1) how are trust, ensemble, and community developed with the participants? 2) how do students respond to drama games, and 3) how do participants express their perspectives regarding issues using the creative drama strategies? Students created a performance of improvisational scenes related to the themes.

The data were language based, and thus provided opportunities to analyze evidence around the context of lessons. Use of drama games, dialogue journals, video-recorded sessions, pre and post surveys, and exit interviews provided data sources for analysis. An on-going reflective researcher’s journal supported modifications for implementation of lessons. Analysis of data was through a critical literacy lens. Side conversations and personal responses in dialogue journals provided insight into participants’ realities.

While the current climate of public education is to standardize outcomes of students’ academic experiences, drama can provide safe, accepting circumstances for adolescents. The primary result of this study became the rapport created amongst the participants through drama strategies. This study can be the start of further exploration of the use of drama in middle schools and its influence on academic and social aspects in the lives of adolescents.


Adolescents, drama, experiences, critical literacy, issues

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Pisarn Chamcharatsri, LLSS

Second Committee Member

Dr. Holbrook Mahn, LLSS

Third Committee Member

Dr. Shelley Roberts, LLSS

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Shiv Desai, TEELP

Fifth Committee Member

Susan Pearson, MFA, UNM Theatre and Dance, Emeritus