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Encountering Texts

The Multicultural Theatre Project and «Minority» Literature

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Joi Carr

Encountering Texts represents the theory and praxis uncovered through an ongoing interdisciplinary arts-based critical pedagogy that engages students in critical self-reflection (disciplined, sustained thinking, requiring engagement) on difference. The Multicultural Theatre Project (MTP) is a dialogical encounter with literature through the dramatic arts. This book provides a blueprint for the multiple ways in which this enacted theory/method can be utilized as a high impact practice toward transformative learning. The significance of minority literature as fertile testing ground for raising and seeking to answer questions about difference is undisputed. To address this dynamic, this research utilizes Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutical method of understanding to engage students in the interpretive process using theatre as methodology. Gadamer’s concept, described as a fusion of horizons, provides a methodological approach by which students can bring their own «effective history» to the hermeneutical task. He argues that hidden prejudices keep the interpreter from hearing the text. Thus an awareness of these prejudices leads to an openness that allows the text to speak. The MTP facilitates this kind of subjectivity by engaging the interpreter holistically. This integrative work provides a promising pragmatic interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that creates bridges to liberatory knowledge, both cognitively and affectively.
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Shirley R. Steinberg and Priya Parmar

Series Editors

Critical Praxis and Curriculum Guides is a curriculum-based book series reflective of theory-creating praxis. The series targets not only undergraduate and graduate audiences but also tenured and experienced teachers of all disciplines. Research suggests that teachers need well-designed, thematic-centered curricula and lessons. This is accomplished when the school works as a community to meet its own needs. Community in this sense includes working collaboratively with students, parents, and local community organizations to help build the curriculum. Practically, this means that time is devoted to professional development workshops, not exam reviews or test preparation pointers but real learning. Together with administrators, teachers form professional learning communities (PLCs) to discuss, analyze, and revise curricula and share pedagogical strategies that meet the needs of their particular school demographics. This communal approach was found to be more successful than requiring each individual teacher to create lessons on her/his own. Ideally, we would love it if each teacher could create his/her own authentic lessons because only s/he truly knows her/his students—and we encourage it, because it is possible! However, as educators ourselves, we understand the realities our colleagues in public schools face, especially when teaching in high-needs areas.

The Critical Praxis and Curriculum Guides series provides relief for educators needing assistance in preparing their lessons. In the spirit of communal practices, the series welcomes co-authored books by theorists and practitioners as well as solo-authored books by an expert deeply informed...

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