By Daniel Gaviria Tobón
The Legislative Theater is part of a Brazilian theater current called ‘Theater of the Oppressed’. Also, this current includes other techniques such as Theater for Deaf, Image Theater, Newspaper Theater, Forum Theater and Invisible Theater. The course of Constitution and Democracy implements all of these techniques. The Theater of the Oppressed is supervised by Professor Betsy Perafán at Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. She uses these techniques with the aim of achieving not only the academic purposes of the subject (knowledge and use of the human rights), but also to enable the students to recognize the effect of the methodology in their ethical and civic education, especially promoting social responsibility by active and supportive participation in the social welfare (Perafán, 2016)
It is important to highlight that the course of Constitution and Democracy is mandatory for all students at the university, except for law students. Therefore, the class is a multidisciplinary space, with people from different schools of thought and knowledge. The active participation of the students in the theater display gives a holistic view to the activities due to the personal responses and the arguments of the other members. As a result, “the participants live the situation and act; they have more probability of acting ethically in real life because that had already the chance to do it. Knowledge comes with experience” (Perafán, 2013).
In the video, we present two experiences of the Legislative Theater in the Course of Constitution and Democracy. One of these suggests an alternative way to curb instances of sexual harassment in the university. The other one proposes changing an existing agreement between the university and an official hospital.
Both experiences subsequently influenced real legislative changes in the university. In the first one, the university created and approved a care protocol in case of sexual harassment. In the second one, the contract with the public hospital strengthened the pedagogical and ethical training of doctors. Through the Theater of the Oppressed, we develop participative and democratic skills and competencies. It is a funny way to interact with the legislative mechanisms and the laws. Furthermore, while practicing the techniques of the Theater of the Oppressed, we live social problems in the classroom. Having lived these experiences before, we would be prepared to face them and take action if we face a similar situation in real life.
Video Created by Betsy Perafán and Conecta-Te -University of Los Andes- and Subtitled by Daniel Gaviria
- Perafán, B. (9 de Diciembre de 2013). Obtenido de Universidad de los Andes: http://repositorio.uniandes.edu.co/xmlui/handle/1992/2549
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