From the Inside Out: Using Internalised and Empathetic Characterisations to Aid the Emotional Growth of Boys — Russell Untiedt, St. John's College, South Africa

  • Pedagogical Approaches (2011-12)

It is enactment that makes Drama an ideal subject by which young men can enter a safe emotional environment and develop empathy, as well as learn about their psycho-social selves. Through the strategies of internalisation and characterisation, young people can become emotionally engaged, and experience for themselves “the construction and layering of texts, characters, roles, tensions and dilemmas” (Department for Education UK, 2010), whilst at the same time separate themselves from the character to gain an additional perspective.

The researcher was curious to see if, by bringing elements of the Senior Course forward by one year, the younger boys would benefit in terms of their emotional growth. He sensed that the Year 10 cohort were capable of handling the internalisation and characterisation techniques, and embarked on a month-long action research project with them. Integrating into the Drama curriculum texts that echoed the boys’ lived and current experiences, the boys worked towards performing a realistic character using internalised characterisation techniques. The intervention was intensively focused on connecting boys emotionally to the selected texts, and was designed to ascertain what effect, if any, the project would have on the boys’ emotional development.