International Journal of Education & the Arts

Volume 12 Number 17

December 19, 2011

Drama-based Instruction and Educational Research:
Activating Praxis in an Interdisciplinary Partnership

Stephanie W. Cawthon
The University of Texas at Austin, U.S.A.

Kathryn M. Dawson
The University of Texas at Austin, U.S.A.

Citation: Cawthon, S.W., & Dawson, K.M. (2011). Drama-based instruction and educational research: Activating praxis in an interdisciplinary partnership. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 12(17). Retrieved [date] from

Drama for Schools (DFS) is a professional development program in drama-based instruction shaped by theories of critical pedagogy and constructivism. In 2007, the Director of DFS invited an educational psychology faculty member to develop a research and evaluation component for the program. This article discusses and troubles this interdisciplinary partnership through the lens of praxis, the continual cycle of thought, action, reflection and response. In this article, we touch upon implications of activated praxis such as (a) how DFS has evolved in its identity as a research-based program model; (b) how outcome measurement was embedded into program implementation; (c) the experience of disseminating findings in both arts-based and educational research spaces; and (d) how long-range planning was guided both by research and program priorities. We conclude with identification of how this process has resulted in praxis for participants across all levels of the partnership.

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