ABOUT THE PROJECT
In order to transfer use of Drama in a context of inclusive education JOIN IN and make a change brought together organizations working in the field of drama, special education and inclusive education from Slovenia (Taka Tuka), Czech Republic (The Basic School of Arts Na Popelce), Greece (Sxedia Stin Poli) and Poland (Innocamp PL).
Throughout the project all the partner organizations worked jointly on research, promotion and implementation of drama as an effective tool for inclusive education. They did current state analysis of inclusive education in partner countries, developed a training course for teachers, teaching assistants and special educators, measured the impact of drama on inclusion, and advocated for using drama for improving inclusive education.
The project resulted in production of number of useful resources for educators who want to enrich their teaching practice and make it more inclusive; ABC inclusion & drama games, Collection of papers JOIN IN & be inclusive, Handbook “The Art of Teaching”, Examples of Cultural Heritage through Drama workshops, Collection of papers “Drama for Inclusive Education”.
As a response to COVID-19 the consortium developed additional results to support educators in providing inclusive and interactive online teaching; an educational book with drama games to support on-line learning (ABC on-line games) and Drama lab with various on-line tools which offer to teachers the digital use of the drama techniques.
The core of JIMAC philosophy and good practice is about learning through empowering relationships. This involves: building and sustaining trust, mindfulness and empathy, developing collaborative skills and collective resilience as well as appreciation of students’ imagination, creativity, uniqueness, etc. The JIMAC research confirms that all stakeholders of inclusive education benefit from activities and facilitation of studying with/for the community of learners, showing respect and capitalizing on mutual strengths rather than competing, labeling, bulling, humiliating or excluding for any sign of diversity from mainstream population. JIMAC evaluation also proves the advantage of drama over more traditional methods of teaching in helping students engage in meaningful work, leading to enhanced motivation to learn and participate in civic/societal actions.
Students seek opportunities to create impact, feel their agency, co-design their classrooms and learning experiences. They don’t expect the adults to precisely plan and control every step of their education but clearly point to the need of independent exploration, risk taking, reframing of challenges, facing uncertainty and strategizing within the groups or wider networks of support. JIMAC shows that drama is a highly effective method to meet all these expectations, focusing on spontaneity and testing the required competences under pressure but within “no penalty zone” - meaning permission to be fully playful with ideas, roles, ways of communicating, make mistakes, fail and initiate out-of-the-box actions that might be even offensive for the mainstream environment.
The golden rule of inclusive drama improvisation is about embracing the uncertainty with the other by saying YES, and … The participants are in it for each other, trusting, supporting, listening and developing ideas and initiatives rather than showing off or sabotaging the proposed course of action. Experiencing “suspense of disbelief” together results in bonding, solidarity based on unconditional acceptance and appreciation of differences, creativity based on diversity of experiences and cultures. Improv finally teaches positive interdependence and cognitive flexibility and stamina leading to enhanced resilience – ability to rebound after failure or adverse experience with even stronger internal locus of control and self-efficacy beliefs.