The Role of Democracy Through Drama in Education
The role of democracy literally means “rule by the people”. The term is derived from the Greek words “demos’’ (people) and “kratos” (rule) and it refers to the system, where people themselves rule and they rule themselves.
It is underpinned by the following (non-exhaustive) indicators:
- Representative government, chosen and replaced through free and fair elections;
- Citizen participation in the political process;
- A rule of law, in which laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens and require majority support in parliament;
- Transparency of political acts and process in general (both electoral and policy ones);
In the context of the classroom, the role of democracy is a dialogical process based on tolerance and freedom that many understand as non-negotiable principles of modern organized societies
The Demo:Dram project believes that it is useful to understand the role of democracy as an on-going process of individual and collaborative engagement that facilitates authenticity, understanding, and involvement in the decisions that affect us. This active engagement can be fostered and practised in school settings, but it is important to clarify that it can mean much more than voting about specific issues or understanding institutions of democracy. It is about exploring, negotiating and understanding values, norms, democratic skills and attitudes around issues that matter to us as humans who live in societies.
“Being involved in an advisory capacity for the Democracy through Drama initiative was really interesting and useful to my PhD, publication and practice where I am researching identity and positioning through drama. It is wonderful to witness the inclusive drama pedagogy that is being applied in practice with a wide range of colleagues, including teachers of other subjects as well as drama practitioners and students. The work of the Demo:Dram team in the positioning of their participants empowered and engaged us, and we were able to identify features we could draw on in our particular subject areas. We were able to bring in our own expertise, and find new ways we could provide spaces for reflection on democracy for the young people we work with.”Iona Towler Evans
"As a Drama teacher, finding new and innovative ways to improve my pedagogy practice is invaluable. Being involved in the Demo:Dram project proved very helpful and insightful - so much so that I have incorporated elements of the pedagogical strategies into my own Drama lessons and practice with much success. These strategies allow my pupils to explore many subject areas across the curriculum in an exciting and unique way, even when dealing with difficult topics and new perspectives. Not only are these strategies exciting, they are also accessible for a wide range of teachers to use."Jordana Wilson
What We Do
Our Drama in Education (DiE) Demo:Dram workshop ideas have been created in partnership with various experts, teachers and educationalists across Europe. Our Demo:Dram workshop ideas aim to provide teachers with inspiration, support and innovative ways to approach the creation of democratic classrooms and democratic spaces for young people.
We define democratic classrooms as a space for creativity and imagination where the child’s experience is acknowledged, valued, nurtured, encouraged and developed. As part of this, the child is recognised as an individual human being in their own right.
Democratic awareness is gained in situations and experiences when children and young people recognise themselves as equal citizens in their own right. Democratic awareness stresses the importance of the democratic quality of the processes and practices in daily life that determine the shaping of democratic citizens.
Democratic awareness can be obtained through children and young people’s participation in the social services and institutions, and in society more generally.
Student civic engagement is central to the Demo:Dram project. Through our project, we aim to develop student civic engagement by tackling a commonly held view that young people can be disconnected from wider society. Student civic engagement attempts to interest young people in the values of community, motivate them politically, and heighten awareness of others.
Demo:Dram UK Project Leaders
Want to know more or if we can support you and your school with drama class exercises?
For more information please use the contact form below and we’ll be in contact with you.
Dr Eleni Kanira - Project lead
Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies / Childhood courses Research Co-ordinator / Birmingham City University
BEd./PGCE in Early Childhood Education
MA (Drama Education) & PhD (Education)
PGDip. In Psychoanalytic Infant Observation
Christopher Bolton - Drama lead
Senior Lecturer in Drama Education / Subject Route Leader PGCE Secondary Drama / Research Co-ordinator Secondary & PCET / Birmingham City University
BA (Hons) Drama and Theatre Studies with English Literature
MA Performance Analysis
PGCE Secondary Drama
Want to know more or if we can support you and your school with drama class exercises? For more information please use the contact form and we’ll be in contact with you.
BCU, City South Campus
Birmingham B15 3TN UK
+44 (0)121 331 5000
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Demo:Dram European Partners