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Drama for Teaching Controversial Issues in Science
chapterposted on 2023-02-14, 04:22 authored by Peta WhitePeta White, J Raphael
Central to this chapter is a transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning that brings drama and science together for exploring controversial issues. The authors are teacher educators, one from a drama education background and the other from science and environmental education. They engaged in an interactive method of studying and improving professional practice as they developed the drama-based approach to teaching about controversial issues. The research applied self-study of teaching practice methodology to explore collaborative teaching sequence construction focusing on controversial issues implicated in stem cell research. The research was part of the Reconceptualising Mathematics and Science Teacher Education Programs (ReMSTEP) project (a multi-university project funded to reinvigorate teacher education practices from 2014 to 2017 in Victoria, Australia). The collaboration between pre-service teachers with science expertise, teacher educators, and a stem cell scientist resulted in the development of two teaching and learning sequences, presented on-line for teachers of senior secondary biology. Sequence one focused on the content knowledge needed to know what a stem cell is and how stem cell biology enables research into various stem cell therapies. Sequence two harnessed drama pedagogies that enabled deepening understandings of various controversial issues implicated in stem cell research. Students were supported to investigate and play out the spectrum of views stakeholders may hold towards emerging stem cell research practices and resulting therapies. Pre-service teachers reported an appreciation for the insights they gained into stakeholder perspectives through the experience of the drama approach. They benefited from seeing teacher educators model pedagogical and research initiatives, and reported being able to reflect on the potential of drama in their future teaching of science. This chapter articulates the benefits of transdisciplinary collaboration and describes the ways drama can work as an embodied and affective pedagogy, fostering empathy and allowing for understanding of multiple perspectives through critical exploration of controversial issues in science.