ISJ November 2017: Historical vignette – The theories of Lev Vygostsky as a framework for a critical analysis of learning during drama festivals organized by the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA)
My work in various capacities for the International Schools Theatre Association often involves discussion and feedback on the processes taking place and the value and validity of the ISTA experience. I see high quality outcomes for students in three key areas: the development of creativity and theatre making skills; the ability to develop and express new understandings about a chosen starting point (theme or concept) through the arts; and the development of social and emotional attributes often associated with the IB Learner Profile (IBO, 2014), specifically international mindedness. Student and teacher feedback support these observations.
The drama experience allows a student to ‘symbolize her sense of the world and an audience to see and hear the world from another’s perspective’ (Neelands 1990). I set out to analyse the generic framework of an ISTA festival in the context of three key aspects of Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s work in order to investigate the theory that might underpin the learning taking place.