About the project

We wish, through the implementation of practical tasks in class, to trial methods with drama/theatre students, make observations, and document these with sounds and images. We will set up interviews in the form of focus interviews, and study - and possibly come to conclusions about – how such seemingly simple methods might promote the students’ learning and artistic creativity. 

In this project, we are concerned with how one might increase the creative potential in a group and in each individual group participant, and how it is possible to increase the individual students’ experiences of making their own choices based on their own artistic and academic background and intuition. We are curious about the extent to which the teachers’ own artistic choices and ambitions have been decisive for the students’ artistic results. How important for learning in the arts is the teachers’ artistic expertise? Is “apprenticeship learning” an important and correct term in this context? How is it possible to teach students to trust their own assessments and to develop their own expression? How is it possible to avoid “grading the teacher”? What is the basis for the assessment of the quality of an artistic (group) process?

We wish to trial, describe and discuss how work with Liz Lerman’s method, “Critical Response System”, “Critical Response Process” (Lerman and Borstel, 2003),can function as a supervision form in drama / theatre teaching. The method is about feedback in arts education, especially created for dance, but also applicable in other different art forms. This is a method for giving and receiving meaningful feedback in creative processes. The method builds upon four stages:

-       During the first stage, one gives feedback on that which was meaningful in the performance. ‘Meaningful’ might mean inspiring, engaging, surprising, interesting, different, thought-provoking etc.

-       During the second stage, the performers ask artistic questions. The respondents are to give honest answers, but always be to the point. It is, in other words, the performers who control what kinds of questions which are to be highlighted at this stage.

-       At stage three, the respondents are to direct open, neutral questions to the performers. These questions are to open up reflection and get the performers to find solutions.

-       At stage 4, the respondents can offer their input and opinions. They must, however, articulate clearly what their suggestion is about and ask for permission for this. For example: “Would you like to hear a suggestion as to how to communicate the text more clearly?”

There are three roles which one can assume:

Artist – the performer – in our context those in the class who have shown their product

Responders – the rest of the class/group

Facilitator – or teacher/supervisor


The process will contribute to allowing the performers in focus, in collaboration with those who give the feedback, to find solutions to their own artistic challenges and problems. We will investigate the method’s possibilities through guided work processes in theatre production.

We will furthermore attempt to shed light upon this method by looking at it in connection with the method “reflective team” https://no.wikibooks.org/wiki/Reflekterende_team_som_veiledningsstrategi

which is also a method developed to activate participants and increase the extent of their own reflections.

  • The performing group presents its product.
  • The rest of the class sits in a ring a little way away from the performers and advise. They are a “reflective team”.
  • The supervisor/teacher asks the performers if there is anything in particular that they wish for feedback on. Reflexive questions are used here, where the supervisor expands on the performers’ answers.
  • The supervisor/teacher goes to the “reflective team” and asks for their thoughts concerning what the performers have said. The performers listen.
  • The supervisor goes back to the performers and continues to question them based on the reflections the team has made on what they have heard.
  • The performers say something about what they have gained from the guidance given.

In the two different feedback methods, the teacher must limit his/her own assessments, advice and directions. The plan is to carry out CRP with some groups, Reflective Team with others and some without a particular methodology other than open questions and a teacher free to give his/her own assessments, advice and directions. 

Project employees

Gunnar Horn
Associate Professor, Director of Centre for Teaching and Learning
University of Agder


Marit Wergeland-Yates
Associate Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts
University of Agder

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