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By Karen Robinson

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n the fall of 2013, Department of Theatre and Performance Studies professor Dr. Charles Parrott supervised students in TPS 4010 Storytelling Practicum (known as the KSU Tellers) as they developed and delivered a curriculum for building storytelling skills to the students at the Global Village Project (GVP). This was the first step in an ongoing project. The GVP girls (as they refer to themselves) are refugees from across the globe who have been placed in Clarkston, Georgia. The school’s main mission is to prepare the girls for a traditional high school or GED program. But the faculty also works diligently to develop the girls’ self-esteem, communication skills, and creativity. Dr. Parrott and the KSU Tellers visited GVP four times and each time, focused on a different set of storytelling skills. The KSU Tellers began the project with two primary questions. First, they sought to discover how they could best teach storytelling to students with limited English language skills. Second, and more importantly, they asked: how they could ethically engage performance pedagogy with a sensitive population of refugee girls? The students created lessons about narrative structures, emotion, and characters that were designed for students with limited English skills. They modeled their approach on Dwight Conquergood’s notion of dialogic performance, which “struggles to bring together different voices,

world views, values systems, and beliefs so that they can have a conversation with one another” (9). This approach considers “the subject and object of research as co-subjects” (Pollock 326). In short, they encountered the girls not as research subjects, but as co-creators of the experience. In addition to teaching storytelling to the girls (and having a great deal of fun along the way), the Tellers and Dr. Parrot kept an inventory of observations, interactions, and feelings they experienced along the way. In student journals and in-class brainstorming sessions, these feelings and memories held the answers to the questions posed. The final phase in this activity was a panel presentation about the project delivered by four of the KSU Tellers. Hannah Sims, Nick Johnson, Kyle Egelhoff, and Laura Driskill presented their findings at the September 2014 International Association of Service Learning and Community Engagement Conference in New Orleans. Parrot said, “The IARSLCE conference allowed the students to demonstrate how performance could be used to shared qualitative outcomes of service learning and engagement projects. Several scholars from around the country engaged the students in up-close conversations about their process. This allowed the Tellers out of the classroom to rehearse what it’s like to engage in professional scholarly conversation.”

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Profile for Kennesaw State University College of the Arts

Flourish Magazine Kennesaw State 2014/2015  

The magazine of Kennesaw State College of the Arts

Flourish Magazine Kennesaw State 2014/2015  

The magazine of Kennesaw State College of the Arts

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