Metaphors of Knowledge: A Reflective Workshop

Keywords: drama; reflective writing; multimodality; Metaphors of Knowledge

Important! Task for the participants in this workshop: Could you spend a few moments, after each paper, seminar or workshop you attend during this conference, from Day 1 to the end, to write down some reflections on your experience? 1. Something that surprised you. 2. Something that challenged you. 3. How did you react to that challenge? You can choose the format (prose; list; mind map; diagram; table; sketch; poem or other) as long as you clearly log date and workshop/seminar systematically so that you can go back to your notes and connect each reflection to the actual event. These notes are personal, they will NOT be shared with anyone, but they will help you to engage in the overall reflection in my workshop.

Reflection is at the heart of learning in drama. How can we structure meaningful reflective experiences if our students are unaccustomed to reflect? Offering structured stimuli can help them to develop reflective skills, while using a multimodal approach to prompt reflection can bypass the language barrier. Yet, reflection is sterile without imagination. And multimodality is unworkable without metaphorical thinking.
In this reflective workshop, I share an activity that I designed to help learners structure their reflective portfolio at the end of a 12-week drama-based module. The activity is based on a card set titled Metaphors of Knowledge, by Fabbri and Munari (2010). This set of cards features 30 illustrations, used for linking external visual metaphors to internal knowledge structures. Feedback from the students suggested that the graphic metaphors enabled them to convey subtler feelings – bringing their intuitive experience to the surface.
First I introduce the context of the activity. Second, I briefly discuss the theory underpinning the metaphors game, operative epistemology, defined as “the action-based study of knowledge” (Fabbri & Munari, 2010). Third, I facilitate a practical activity, where the participants are invited to engage in multimodal reflection on their experience of conference and/or their experience as teacher-artists. The workshop finishes with a discussion on the possible applications of the Metaphors of Knowledge game as a reflective tool for drama in education.

Fabbri, D. & Munari, A. (2010). Metaphors of Knowledge. Torino: Corraini Edizioni.

Dr Erika Piazzoli is a drama practitioner, lecturer and researcher at Trinity College Dublin. Erika teaches the Arts Education (Professional Master of Education), Embodying Language, within the Master in Language Education (M.Ed. Language), and the Drama Summer School, (M.Ed. Drama in Education).