We are delighted to present the sixteenth issue of SCENARIO as a special edition: Born out of the international SCENARIO FORUM conference on Performative Teaching, Learning and Research, which took place at University College Cork, Ireland, from 29th May to 1st June 2014, this edition has been thematically extended. It features thirteen carefully selected contributions based on papers and workshops presented at this four day event. Aiming at providing our readers with a diverse and insightful account of the conference, the guest editors have endeavoured to create a balance between theory-focussed contributions and “windows of practice”. In addition, a synaesthetic-performative perspective is offered in the form of a film. These contributions are complemented by a final report on this conference. Authors from eight different countries have contributed to this first special edition – a sign of constantly growing interest in the international exchange of knowledge and experience, as well as a growing professionalization in the area of performative teaching and learning.
The opening article by Morgan Koerner (College of Charleston, South Carolina), Beyond Drama: Postdramatic Theater in Upper Level, Performance-Oriented Foreign Language, Literature and Culture Courses deals with specific strategies from postdramatic theatre employed in third-level language learning contexts. Findings from an action research project conducted with American students of German shed light on the exciting potential of an evolving concept of theatre in terms of its linguistic, literary and didactic objectives.
This expansion and preoccupation of conceptual boundaries is also taken up by Deborah Newton (Leeds Metropolitan University). In her paper Shifting Perspectives and Collapsing Binaries: Critical Performative Pedagogy in the Performance Studies Classroom she examines to what extent an understanding of teaching and learning from a performative perspective can contribute to dissolving traditional demarcation lines of institutionalised teaching and learning processes and to drawing new lines by creative-interactive means.
The next contribution takes a look at non-, para- and extra-verbal communication – a field which is still marginalised in many classrooms and seminars. In her article Non-Verbal Communication: Why We Need It in Foreign Language Teaching and How We Can Foster It with Drama Activities, Carola Surkamp (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) underlines the relevance and quality of nonverbal forms of communication by looking at drama- and theatre-oriented speaking activities.
Annegret Thiem (Universität Paderborn) discusses the interrelationships between intercultural skills, foreign language acquisition and the importance of the body for prospective foreign language teachers in her article entitled Interkulturelle Kompetenz als Herausforderung für das Lehramtsstudium. In the face of a striking imbalance between theory and aesthetic-affective aspects in current teacher training for future teachers of Spanish as a foreign language, the author pleads for more emphasis on physical-performative aspects in future university curricula in order to develop and foster intercultural competence in a sustainable way.
The first part of this edition is rounded off with a look towards the Czech Republic. Entering the realm of the new media, Karel Zdarek (Univerzita Karlova, Prague) examines the possibilities and advantages of using web-based application software in the drama-based foreign language classroom. In his article Role-play Kitchen. A Web Application he shares his experiences using one particular web application and reports about how learners of English at a secondary school in Prague perceived and evaluated this technology in the classroom.
The second part of this special edition entails contributions which encourage performative teaching and learning by providing practical examples. A range of tips and ideas for SCENARIO readers is intended to serve as inspiration for lesson design which incorporates artistic and aesthetic awareness.
Such a “user-friendly” concept is offered by Bärbel Jogschies (Staatsschauspiel Hannover) and Anke Stöver-Blahak (Leibniz-Universität Hannover). In their contribution Ein performatives Konzept im Fremdsprachenunterricht – In 14 Schritten zur eigenen Inszenierung the two authors present a detailed workplan set up in cooperation between the university and Hanover’s state theatre, whose methodical-didactic objective was to prepare foreign language students for the staging of chosen plays.
A further performance-oriented concept is set out by Alexandra Hensel (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) in Der künstlerisch-ästhetische Aspekt im dramapädagogischen Fremdsprachenlernen: Ein Kurskonzept. The author draws a vivid picture of how learners of German as a foreign language can be introduced to playful, improvisational and performative ways of teaching and learning within a given semester.
Austrian authors Nina Kulovics (Université de Haute-Alsace, Mulhouse) and Kerstin Terler (Université Bordeaux Montaigne) expand further on a performative teaching project with third-level foreign language learners. Their contribution Herzstück: Performatives Lehren und Lernen am Beispiel eines Gemeinschaftsprojekts im universitären DaF-Bereich oder frei nach Schiller: Von der performativen Erziehung des Menschen was received as an inspiring report about the successful realisation of a European performance project.
Leticia García Brea (Universidad de León) introduces SCENARIO readers to an intra-institutional theatre workshop at the language centre of a Spanish university. Her window of practice contribution Toi, Toi, Toi! Eine Theaterwerkstatt, um Deutsch zu lernen. Vorgehensweise und Beispiele presents linguistic-didactic dimensions as well as selected teaching and learning building blocks.
In Shall I Approach thee through Improvised play?: Dramatizing Poetry, Stefanie Giebert (Hochschule Reutlingen) examines the dramatic potential of poetry in activating foreign language learners. Focussing on content, form and context, the author describes how Shakespearean sonnets can be condensed dramaturgically and appropriately taken ‘from page to stage’ in the L2 English classroom.
The window of practice section concludes with Isobel Ní Riain’s (University College Cork) contribution on Drama in the Language Lab – Goffman to the Rescue. The author describes how a combination of imaginative and articulatory aspects in the computer-assisted Irish language classroom has helped maximise student interaction.
An additional contribution to this edition, Nataliia Dzhyma’s (Kiev Taras Shevchenko National University) self-produced film „Don’t Play the Visual, Play the Emotion!” Fusing Drama Pedagogy and Film in the Teaching of Diplomatic Empathy invites viewers to draw associations between drama, sounds, emotion, empathy, and between self- and other-perception.
The issue closes with Silja Weber’s (Indiana University, Bloomington) conference report Performing a Conference: SCENARIO Forum 2014.1
Finally we would like to draw your attention to the SCENARIO Archive, which provides relevant information on the First International SCENARIO FORUM conference Performative Teaching, Learning and Research (Cork, 2014), including various materials such as documentaries, photos and feedback from delegates. Further documentation, including the keynote contributions, will be made available later this year. Readers who have subscribed to the SCENARIO FORUM distribution list will be notified accordingly.
Editing this special edition would have been impossible without the support of our committed colleagues. Our special thanks go to Manfred Schewe and Susanne Even for their valuable collegiality and assistance during the entire editing process. Furthermore, we would like to thank the numerous peer-reviewers and members of the SCENARIO Advisory Board for their trust and cooperation. We are especially obliged to the thirteen (teams of) authors, whose reflections and artistic experiences with foreign languages, literatures and cultures in various teaching and learning settings ensured a rich and wide array of thematic strands in this edition.
Your Guest Editors
Micha Fleiner and Stefan Kriechbaumer
Freiburg and Cork, January 2015