TeacHero Community: Arts, Education, and Well-Being


Supporting the psychosocial well-being of public school teachers, especially during this pandemic

What does your group want to come together for? What theme, issue, or subject is at the heart of collaboration? What kinds of questions do you want to explore?

Our group feels strongly about supporting the psychosocial well-being of public school teachers, especially during this pandemic. We see the potential of using storytelling, particularly through the performing arts, as a form of intervention that gives teachers the space: (1) to share their experiences; (2) to express their feelings and concerns; (3) to build community with one another; and (4) to play.

The questions we hope to explore are related to the following fields:

(1) drama therapy, i.e., to what extent can storytelling contribute to the well-being of the participating public school teachers?

(2) applied theatre, i.e., to what extent can storytelling foster community and make space for a sense of collective agency among the teachers who will participate?

(3) ethnography, i.e., how do these teachers' stories represent the time we live in?

(4) education, i.e., to what extent do activities focused on teachers' well-being contribute to their professional development?

(5) movement research, i.e., what can movement look like in the time of social distancing and limited spaces?

Why this combination of minds, talents, and persuasions? What does each member bring to your group in terms of skills, processes, perspectives, and experience? What does each member of the group hope to take away from the collaboration?

Liza Constantino brings her background as a researcher, particularly that of movement. Her background in Literary and Cultural Studies helps her analyze both words and performance as "text;" this will contribute to the analysis and evaluation of the project. Liza is also a dancer. Her knowledge of and sensitivity to gesture and space will help inform the workshop design, especially given the participants will be moving in a limited amount of space. Connected to this, Liza hopes this collaboration can further inform her own academic interests in movement research.

Laura Cabochan's brings her background as an experienced applied theatre practitioner. She has worked with communities both locally and internationally. Her training in community-centered, arts-based facilitation, and experience working with public schools will contribute to the workshop's design and implementation. In addition, her training as a researcher will help in the analysis and evaluation of the project. Laura's main hope for this collaboration is that this project further highlights the practice of the applied arts in Ateneo de Manila and creates more opportunities for the university to support and collaborate with communities through artmaking.

Lilibeth Aristorenas brings with her the resources Unilab Foundation has to offer. In addition to mobilizing the teachers, Unilab Foundation will connect the project to the Department of Education. Unilab Foundation will also give material support, such as tokens of gratitude for the participating teachers. They have also offered to help in the evaluation of the project. Unilab Foundations hopes that this collaboration will contribute to their efforts in supporting the psychosocial well-being of the nation's public school teachers.

What research interests are furthered in this collaboration? How are artistic processes and interventions involved? How will community engagements be incorporated?

This collaboration is anchored on a project that is an arts-based, community-centered intervention for public school teachers. It is a series of storytelling workshops that will hopefully be a space where participating teachers can tell their stories, express their feelings and concerns, build community with one another, and have fun. In the workshop, participants will collectively write a play that's inspired by their experiences and interactions with one another.

Throughout the project, as the primary stakeholders, the teachers will always be asked for their feedback and suggestions, so that the collaborators can regularly adjust the project's design to genuinely support their needs. In addition, the collaborators hope to work closely with the Bulatao Center. (This partnership is currently being negotiated.) The Bulatao Center will serve as a resource in case there are participants in need of psychological support.

As mentioned in the earlier list of questions, the following research interests are furthered in this study: drama therapy, applied theatre, ethnography, education, and movement research:

(a) Drama therapy - the collaboration looks into the extent storytelling affects the psychosocial well-being of the participating teachers;

(b) Applied theatre - the collaboration looks into the extent storytelling can build collective and contribute to a sense of empowerment;

(c) Ethnography - the collaboration makes space for teachers to capture snapshots of their lives during this pandemic and make sense of their experiences;

(d) Education - the collaboration explores to what extent activities focused on psychosocial well-being contribute to the professional development of public school teachers; and

(e) Movement research - the collaboration explores the creation of movement during a time when movement is limited because of factors like social distancing and tight urban spaces.

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