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‘Play It Forward’


An investigation of a peer-to-peer applied theatre process with young people from refugee backgrounds
Confirmation of candidature presentation by Deanna Watt

Start Date

30th May 2017 8:30am

End Date

30th May 2017 9:15am


Education Video Conference Rooms:

  • Launceston: NH.A221c.Video
  • Hobart: SB.Hytten325.Video
  • Cradle Coast: CC.D214.Video

Australian classrooms are diverse, and now Include young people from many different backgrounds (Grant & Sleeter. 2012; Stefanek, Strohmeier. & van de Schoot 2014). One area that merits further investigation is the programs in place to support young people from refugee backgrounds in our educational environments. Young people from refugee backgrounds may present with traumatic or complicated pasts and may feel isolated and alone before entering the education environment (Banks. 2007}. The difficulties in adjusting both socially and emotionally in a country different from their country of origin, present young people with additional obstacles in the settlement process (Naidoo, 2008).

There is a limited, but promising body of literature that investigate how drama practices can be used to foster resilience in young people from refugee backgrounds. whilst also giving them the opportunity to develop their self-esteem and communication skills (Balfour, Bundy, Burton, Dunn, & Woodrow, 2015). Additionally, peer teaching programs using drama practices are currently in place in some schools within Australia, to explore the different types of bullying and strategies in conflict management (Burton, Lepp, Morrison, & O'Toole, 2015). This study aims to draw upon both of these concepts and investigate how an applied theatre peer-to-peer learning and teaching program could support young people from refugee backgrounds.

A hybridized methodology of action research, ethnography and narrative inquiry will be interweaved to investigate the experiences of young people from refugee backgrounds participating in a drama program. Furthermore, this study aims to explore and communicate the pedagogy needed and used in peer teaching and the impact this can have on the students. This qualitative study aims to illicit positive narratives of settlement through drama practices, and instil confidence in young people from refugee backgrounds where they are able to teach these skills to their younger peers. Through peer learning and teaching. this study proposes that young people from refugee backgrounds will develop and practice their skills of agency, confidence and find aesthetic ways to communicate and the support one another.