April 15th, 2009

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Social Theatre

I found this interesting article about how social theatre can discourage bullying and bigotry:

Flipping the Script on Bias and Bullies

What do actors have in common with bigots, bullies and their victims? They play the same script over and over. Social justice theater can teach your students to take the story into their own hands.

"You people!" the cafeteria worker barks. "You come to this country, and you think it's a free lunch." She stands over the students, in her hair net and scrubs, glaring down at them. The kids, all students of color, sit at the table in a mixture of disbelief and outrage. Free lunch is indeed the issue. One of the students is on the school's free lunch program, and he was sharing his meal with another student — a violation of lunchroom rules. The act has uncorked a hidden stream of volatile feelings in the white cafeteria worker. She snatches the lunchroom tray from the students, who respond with disrespectful words of their own. Soon the whole group is in the principal's office, facing a lecture.</p>

But then something amazing happens. A Latina grandmother shouts "Stop!"

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