This pilot project explored the use of drama as a tool to stimulate discussion about genetic testing, in particular, the social aspects of genetic testing. A ten minute, open-ended drama was developed as stimulus for a further 40 minute discussion-based workshop that focused on the issues that someone considering having a genetic test might face. The drama was performed to groups of 20-60 secondary school students. This larger group was broken down into groups of 4-8 for the discussion aspect of the workshop. The drama was performed by final year undergraduates studying a BA Performance degree. These students were also involved as facilitators for the workshop. Seven drama-workshops were delivered to 16-19 year olds in Bristol, Reading and Southampton. A total of 240 students participated in the drama, along with six student performers. The project found that the drama/discussion workshop format prompted students to develop their learning about the social issues surrounding genetic testing, with a significant increase in comprehension and appropriate use of language and concepts over the course of the workshop. The project also found students learned socially, as a group, using the discussion time to develop their arguments and scaffold knowledge with their peers onto that delivered in the workshop. The project was extended to enable the development of a teachers’ resource pack. This resource pack was developed to provide guidance for drama teachers considering using this type of project in the classroom.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Facilitating discussion about genetic testing with secondary school students

Emma Weitkamp   The University of the West of England

Emily Dawson   The University of the West of England

Anne Hill   Southampton Solent University

John Barlow   Southampton Solent University

This pilot project explored the use of drama as a tool to stimulate discussion about genetic testing, in particular, the social aspects of genetic testing. A ten minute, open-ended drama was developed as stimulus for a further 40 minute discussion-based workshop that focused on the issues that someone considering having a genetic test might face. The drama was performed to groups of 20-60 secondary school students. This larger group was broken down into groups of 4-8 for the discussion aspect of the workshop. The drama was performed by final year undergraduates studying a BA Performance degree. These students were also involved as facilitators for the workshop. Seven drama-workshops were delivered to 16-19 year olds in Bristol, Reading and Southampton. A total of 240 students participated in the drama, along with six student performers. The project found that the drama/discussion workshop format prompted students to develop their learning about the social issues surrounding genetic testing, with a significant increase in comprehension and appropriate use of language and concepts over the course of the workshop. The project also found students learned socially, as a group, using the discussion time to develop their arguments and scaffold knowledge with their peers onto that delivered in the workshop. The project was extended to enable the development of a teachers’ resource pack. This resource pack was developed to provide guidance for drama teachers considering using this type of project in the classroom.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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