Through role play to self-awareness: using process drama as a communication tool around adolescent peer pressure and drug abuse

Isaac, Chidaura
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This research attempts to raise self-awareness and articulate issues pertaining to adolescent peer pressure and drug abuse through the lens of process drama in South African primary schools. To focus the research, the target group for this project is grade 7C learners of St Theresa’s Convent Primary School in Coronationville, Johannesburg. This study uses a case study approach within the qualitative action research paradigm to interrogate adolescent peer pressure and drug abuse. The research also brings into critical focus how process drama can be used to enhance adolescent self-esteem and develop healthy decision making skills as an antidote to peer pressure. The major reason for putting a possible cause and a subsequent effect on the same footing is that, more often than not, prevention intervention practitioners seem to concentrate on effects of social contentious issues whilst overlooking the root causes. This analysis is situated against the predominant use of Theatre for Development to open out the possibilities for a more inclusive approach to awareness building. Thus, the works of Dorothy Heathcote, John O’Toole, Augusto Boal, Brad Haseman, Cecily O’Neill, Bowell and Heap among others provide this study with theoretical models against which its assumptions and arguments are based. The works of these authors are related in many ways. It is believed that through this study, Education authorities, learners, and drama practitioners will be able to reflect and critique their work for more appropriate solutions. Suggestions which will be made are not prescriptive, but rather conceptual frameworks which are open to modifications and further development.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Humanities, Dramatic Art, 2013