Discovering emotional honesty: The transformative effects of devised theatre

Hafler, M, Hayes, P and Cantillon, P (2013) Discovering emotional honesty: The transformative effects of devised theatre. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


Current trends in Medical Education highlight the importance of supporting the development of the learner as an individual, (e.g. self-awareness, , critical thinking), yet all too often our curricula are characterized by a focus on uncritical knowledge acquisition at the expense of personal growth.1 One of the curricular antidotes to prescribed learning was the advent of special study modules (SSMs) in the 1990s. SSMs provided students, it was argued, with opportunities to develop individual interests and aptitudes. SSMs are now a feature of many medical curricula around the world. Whilst there are many descriptions of SSMs, very few relate to drama, yet drama represents a powerful means of exploring difficult issues and playing out roles in safe environments. We would like to present one such module in which we used a devised theatre model to help students to explore their perspectives on the profession of medicine. . The quotations used are all derived from student learning journals and a qualitative post hoc evaluation of the SSM.Through participating in this module of experiential learning, students developed an emotional honesty with themselves and each other. They thought and wrote about their profession, learned physical discipline, discussed ethics, developed confidence and teamwork, and touched on performing and relaxation skills. It was a wholly appropriate mode of development for young doctors and modules such as this are valued both in Ireland and U.K 5,6. This module most definitively gives the students something to enrich their professional careers and allows for development of the doctor through non typical curricular teaching. It is worthwhile and evidence to show its long-term benefits may not be far off. The student’s reflective diaries(Quotations included) confirm the worthwhile nature of the module and speak of its benefits for team-work, problem solving, creativity and public speaking. The students seem to feel that type of module is missing from the curriculum and this type space is needed in order to reflect appropriately as we encourage them to do so.

[thumbnail of INMED 2013 Book Of Abstracts.pdf]
INMED 2013 Book Of Abstracts.pdf

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