Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Teachers’ Guidelines

Homepage > Teachers’ Guidelines > Theatre as Experiential Learning Tool

The role of theatre as a site for learning in a community context and how it can provide informal learning opportunities for young people experiencing social difficulty

Theatre as Experiential Learning Tool:
Step by Step Process to Implement Theatrical Laboratories in Classroom

Table of Content

8 Final Debriefing with Users
The OFF-book Theatre Lab places at the centre of the training process the people with emotional, cognitive and behavioural components as well as creative potential. The OFF-book Theatre Lab is therefore characterized as a privileged educational tool to meet the training needs not completely covered by traditional training. Learning is fixed by a final reflection (debriefing moment). In this phase, trainers focus on what happened in the experience (what?), on the consequences of the behaviours implemented (so what?) and on the possible behaviours useful in everyday life in the school environment (now what?).

At the end of each laboratory stage, therefore, the trainer must design a relevant space dedicated in the classroom to the conceptual elaboration of the experience, to the development of effective behavioural models and concrete action plans. In this phase the trainers provide support and orientation to ensure that the training process proceeds in a coherent and effective way towards the defined objectives.

The transfer of learning content to the school context is the fundamental phase of the training process. During the reflection and the conceptualization phases, the trainers stimulate and facilitate the connection between what happened during the experience and the reality of group’s daily life. In order for the transfer to be as deep and effective as possible, the planning phase is important: already from the construction phase of the program, it is necessary to keep in mind the context in which the participants "read" and give meaning to the experience, providing space and appropriate times. Space will be represented by the classroom, for the time we consider necessary from 4 to 8 hours of work.

We write down the following small user guide, composed of general indications and possible questions, for the trainer to manage the debriefing phase.

General indications:
  • Stimulate reflection on targeted questions
  • Encourage everyone's participation and dialogue
  • Summarize the meaning of the interventions

Possible questions for further study:
  • Before the story of positive events in the debriefing phase: What struck you? Why do you consider it important?
  • Before the problems highlighted during the debriefing phase: Why does this happen? (Please ask the question several times, to get to the root causes)
  • In the face of a criticality not sufficiently analysed: What would be a significant improvement?
  • Before the difficulties emerged: What would it take to improve?
  • Before accepting the difficulties and challenges: Why is it difficult to change? What are the obstacles?
  • Before challenges: Who could you help? Who could help?
  • Before the alleged exceptionality of the laboratory with respect to everyday life: What could be done differently? (repeatedly, to generate alternatives)

Useful techniques to encourage everyone's participation:
  • Conversations in pairs
  • Discussions in small groups
  • Movements between subgroups
  • Brainstorming
  • Post-it

Useful techniques to summarize:
  • Ask: what is the common theme?
  • Ask: what does this tell us?
  • Explicit the common theme and ask for consent (it seems to me that here there is a common theme ...).
  • The explicit part of the common theme and ask what is missing (is there anything else?).
  • Ask what the consequences of the statements made are.
  • Create a logical thread starting from the comments made by the participants (so, in summary, you said first of all that ... then ... then ...).
Online Resources
  • Debriefing Strategies Can Improve Students’ Motivation and Self-Efficacy in Game-Based Learning.Debriefing is an important step in game-based learning environments. Fanning and Gaba defined debriefing as “facilitated or guided reflection in the cycle of experiential learning.” In the present study, the effect of different debriefing strategies in terms of two factors, grouping (self vs. team) and timing (in-game vs. postgame), was investigated on the motivation and the self-efficacy levels of the students.
  • Completing the Experience: Debriefing in Experiential Educational GamesBy including more debriefing activities in an experiential game, the learning experience can be more effective. These debriefing elements in games can also assist teachers who want to use these games as at-home supplements to classroom lessons, by ensuring that the students go through the critical debriefing process.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.