The scientific approach to teaching has long dominated educational thought, but we have finally reached a point at which the arts can serve as models for educational practice. The term 'performative' awakens a vision of pedagogy that is inspired by the arts, particularly the theatrical arts. An interdisciplinary 'performative pedagogy' aims to facilitate the transition from the prevailing cognitive orientation in education to a holistic understanding of teaching, learning, and research.
Drama techniques have a long history in critical pedagogy and therapy because they lower speaking barriers and promote empathy and interpersonal/intercultural understanding (cf. European DICE project). They have been highly recommended by foreign language teachers and researchers for the same reasons, as well as for improving motivation, integrating kinesthetic learning styles, personalizing content, providing genuine contexts for speaking, improving accuracy, fluency, and complexity, and drawing attention to gaps between interlanguage and target language structures.
Through publications, conference panels and projects, members of Germanic Studies investigate the transition from passive/receptive modes of learning towards forms of active, embodied engagement. Susanne Even is co-editor of SCENARIO, Journal of Drama and Theatre in Second and Foreign Language Education, and co-organized the SCENARIO Forum International Conference on Performative Teaching, Learning and Research in Cork, Irland (May/June 2014). Troy Byler is Outreach Coordinator and organizes the annual German Theater Project for High Schools at Indiana University.
Even, Susanne. In Thought, Word, and Deed: Drama Pedagogy and Critical Thinking. Paper at the ACTFL Conference, San Diego, CA, November 2015.
Even, Susanne. Drama Pedagogy in Foreign Language Teacher Training. An Argument for the Necessity of a Performative Component in Education. Guest Lecture at the Drama and Theatre in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning Conference, University of Reutlingen, Germany, July 2015.
Even, Susanne. 'Nobody will walk if you don't let go' – Performativity in Teacher Training. Workshop at the 7th lecture/workshop series Ringvorlesung Café Europe – International Perspectives on Performativity and Aesthetics in the context of foreign languages and teacher training. University of Education in Freiburg, Germany, July 2015.
Even, Susanne. Drama, Grammar and Action Research: A Qualitative Study. Paper at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, Lexington, KY, April 2015.
Even, Susanne. Drama and Authenticity. Deconstructing the Quest. Paper at the SCENARIO Forum International Conference: Performative Teaching, Learning and Research. Cork, Irland, May/June 2014.
Even, Susanne. Drama Grammar: Towards a Performative Postmethod Pedagogy. Language Learning Journal 2011, 299-312.
Even, Susanne. Moving in(to) Imaginary Worlds: Drama Pedagogy for Foreign Language Teaching and Learning. Unterrichtspraxis Deutsch 41.2 (2008): 161-170.
Even, Susanne & Weber, Silja. Research on Drama for Foreign Language Learning: Stars into Constellations. Panel at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, Lexington, KY, April 2015.
Weber, Silja. Measuring Time in 'Tír na nÓg'. A Foray into the Relationship between Drama Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition. Paper at the SCENARIO Forum International Conference: Performative Teaching, Learning and Research. Cork, Irland, May/June 2014.
Weber, Silja. Drama and individual differences: What makes students speak? Paper at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, Lexington, KY, April 2015.
Wuensch, Juliane. Co-Organizer of Indiana University's Share Fair 2015: Performing the Foreign Language. Games, role-plays, scenarios, improvisations (April 2015).Wuensch, Juliane. Drama Pedagogy, Cartoons, and Comics: Possibilities and Limitations. Paper at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, Lexington, KY, April 2015.