The purpose of this study is to identify and describe the process of Playback Theatre workshops as delivered to adolescents, especially those labeled "high risk", and to determine whether or not the adolescents' participation in these workshops results in raising their self esteem.

Observation of high risk adolescents suggests that these young people typically have low self esteem. Low self esteem has been linked with negative attitude and unsuccessful performance in school and in life. Strategies such as Playback Theatre workshops, if successful in the raising of self esteem, could be a worthwhile investment for schools and their communities.

The Association for the Study of Higher Education at George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development in 1990 on "High Risk Students and Higher Education: Future Trends", describes high risk students as minorities, the academically disadvantaged, the disabled, and those of low socio economic status. This report studied the adverse affect of negative attitudes on student's self-esteem and performance. The suggestion was made that businesses and community based organizations could form partnerships with educational institutions to reduce risk. The following articles demonstrate approaches that employ theatre groups as an example of community based organizations working with educational institutions.

In 1993, a project was carried out which reported that improvisational drama and live theatre was used to impact high risk students. The Living Stage Theatre Company of Washington, D.C. conducted a project that used the art of improvisational theatre with special needs youth to affect social change, in this case, a group of teen mothers (aged 13-16). "This initiative was striving to help these "at risk" adolescents "to change their self perceptions and choices in relation to the rest of society". (Nelson, 1994)

A position paper, prepared by the Living Stage Theatre Company for a National Conference, "Imagine the Difference Building Artistic Partnerships to Save Our Children" reports that, "For many years the creative arts have been utilized as a therapeutic and rehabilitative medium with very diverse population groups. Creative arts strategies and activities, particularly in the area of the performance arts, have been employed with a variety of groups, but especially with groups with special needs." (Baxley, 1994)

Also in 1993, The Under Pressure Program in Chicago, Illinois used live theatre to investigate adolescents' attitudes and behaviour related to drug and alcohol abuse education and prevention. (Safer and Harding, 1993)

Since 1989, Yes Oh Yes Drama Outreach, a non-profit multicultural professional theatre company, based in Toronto, Ontario, has delivered Playback Theatre workshops and performances to schools and social service agencies exploring such issues as: violence, dropping out, racism, substance abuse, sexism, prejudice, and conflict in order to facilitate the discovery of new behavioural choices.

Yes Oh Yes Drama Outreach claims that their Playback Theatre "promotes appreciation of individual differences, builds confidence in one's own decision-making skills, encourages individuals to make choices, helps focus value systems, involves audiences by dramatising their own stories, uses high quality dramatic techniques to empower and celebrate their communities and facilitates taking personal responsibility". (Stirling 1994) By accomplishing these empowering outcomes, this process likely has a positive affect on the self esteem of those participants in the workshops.

I believe that theatre organizations, such as Yes Oh Yes Drama Outreach, can form partnerships with educational institutions to reduce risk by enhancing adolescents' self esteem and performance. Given the lack of research and funding to support such initiatives, it would be valuable to learn if indeed, these workshops are justified as contributing to self esteem. The ideal would be for this outcome, higher self esteem, to positively affect the adolescent's performance in school and in life.

Involvement by high risk adolescents in Playback Theatre workshops may result in greater self esteem and confidence. This improved self esteem may lead to improved relations with peers, authority figures and family and to better performance in the school setting.

-High risk: those individuals or groups identified as possibly having and potentially developing problems (physical, mental, educational,etc.) requiring further evaluation and/or intervention. For the purposes of this study, individuals identified as having a number of barriers to success, ie, problems with authority.

-Playback Theatre is a drama therapy process, informally related to psychodrama, whereby individuals volunteer and are guided to tell stories from their lives which may be related to specific themes (such as teen suicide). These stories are renenacted (through role playing and taking) by designated performers until the teller is satisfied that the essence of the story has been captured. The teller is then encouraged to make choices regarding the story: to accept the story, to "repair" the story or to see the story "transformed" by new choices. Members of the audience witness the process and may be "triggered" to share other stories by the same process. The process is guided by a trained "conductor" who assists the teller and acts as a conduit between actors, tellers and audience. Prior to performance, the actors are trained in improvisational techniques which serve the tellers in the interpretation of their stories. In workshops, participants are prepared to act out stories for each other.

-creative dramatics - activities where participants create informal, nonscripted plays using their own words and movements.

-role playing - psychological or behavioral enactment of social roles other than one's own, typically seen in child's play, or used as an experimental, instructional or psychotherapeutic technique.

-role taking - perceiving, understanding or experiencing the social, emotional or physical aspects of a situation from a standpoint of another person or persons.

-self-esteem- the evaluation a person customarily maintains with regard to him or herself; a judgement, expressed by attitudes which indicate the extent to which a person believes him or herself capable, significant, successful and worthy. A confidence and satisfaction of oneself: self respect and self concept are given as synonyms though self concept relates more specifically to the mental image one has of oneself.

In this study, the concern is with "high risk" adolescents, and the impact that a form of drama therapy, Playback Theatre, may have upon their self-esteem. In preparing the ground for such a study, it is important to understand the elements of creative drama, drama therapy, and storytelling on which the Playback Theatre intervention is based.

Drama has its roots in Greece in the fifth century BC. and in the Great Mysteries of Eleusis. The initiation rites celebrated there are believed to have involved participation in the performance of powerful scenes. Initiates reportedly returned from these rituals transformed, full of joy and happiness, feeling satisfied. As drama developed, the theatre became an integral part of healing centres such as that founded by Asklepius at Epidauros. There is every indication that drama, to this day, has great therapeutic value.

"Unfortunately until empirical studies demonstrate directly that transfer of learning occurs through dramatic activity, some element of doubt will continue to exist - at least amongst objective social scientists. Until that time, the quiet revolution will continue." (Courtney 82)

In contemporary society, drama, viewed as a process of "acting out", offers unique opportunities which relate directly to the four goals of education for the Province of Ontario. "...the curriculum will provide opportunities for each child (to the limit of his or her potential): - to acquire the basic skills fundamental to his or her continuing education; -to develop and maintain confidence and a sense of self-worth; -to gain the knowledge and acquire the attitudes that he or she needs for active participation in Canadian society; -to develop the moral and aesthetic sensitivity necessary for a complete and responsible life". (Ministry of Education 1984)

There is much evidence to indicate that learning through drama is the primary learning mode of all human beings. While creating images and experiencing feelings, the child becomes involved in conceptualization and language.

Many problems associated with learning disabilities may result from insufficient development in the affective domain. Drama activities serve to strengthen that development through the following components of learning through drama - learning through action, through reflection, through personal experience, through vicarious experience, through cooperation, through presentation, through discussion, through enjoyment.

"In summary, drama is a form of learning which is holistic. It can provide a foundation for the development of physical skills, oracy, numeracy, and literacy. It stretches across the total curriculum in the development of awareness, skills, concepts, and values relevant to participation in the human community." "Where students with exceptionalities are involved, the vicarious nature of drama enables them to develop emotionally, socially, and creatively in ways otherwise denied them..At the same time, it provides a vehicle for the safe expression of much of the anger and resentment which they may feel." (Ontario Ministry of Education 1981)

"Drama games can be used to to sharpen communication skills and enhance self esteem. According to current research citing reasons for drug abuse among young people, the most consistent characteristic is low self esteem. Games help people learn to be in touch with their feelings and give them safe ways to express those feelings, understand and accept them, and build self esteem. Communication happens on all levels, through body language, voice and attitude.

Drama games teach people to communicate more fully and accurately by expanding their repertoire of ideas. It helps them put thought into action through a conscious process that is within their control." (Dayton 1990) "When people are responsible for their own activities, they feel a relationship to their own inner needs. Education which relates directly to the personality is immediately effective. Moreover, as dramatic activity is inherently self-motivating, the concentration, sincerity and absorption of students of all ages can be extraordinary." (Courtney 1982)

"Among the kinds of anecdotal material most frequently shared by creative drama leaders are those which point to children's improved self-concept... because self-expression has been encouraged and positive guidance rather than criticism has been the leader's method, the child who might otherwise feel rejected now feels that his or her ideas have importance. The self can stand taller." (Heinig and Stillwell 1981)

One study which suggests the effect of creative drama and personal growth was done by Irwin, who demonstrated that a large group of third graders receiving forty minutes of creative drama each week for fifteen weeks, showed significant improvement in personal and social adjustment when compared with a control group. The testing measurements were the California Test of Personality, sociograms, teacher ratings and grades. (Irwin,1975)

Playback Theatre was developed by Jonathan Fox in 1974. Yes Oh Yes Drama Outreach, which delivers workshops in Playback Theatre was founded Toronto 1989 by Annie Stirling. After 25 years of teaching experience and a MEd in Applied Psychology and Counselling, Stirling trained with Fox. This form of creative drama, based on personal storytelling has its roots in psychodrama and Moreno's Theatre of Spontaneity.

"Through spontaneity we are re-formed into ourselves. It creates an explosion that for the moment frees us from handed down frames of reference, memory choked with old facts and information and undigested theories and techniques of other people's findings. Spontaneity is the moment of personal freedom when we are faced with a reality and see it, explore it and act accordingly. In this reality the bits and pieces of ourselves function as an organic whole. It is the time of discovery, of experiencing, of creative expression." (Spolin, 1963)

"Drama therapy is concerned with the creative development of the whole person, physically, mentally, and emotionally, through the drama process. Often problems can be understood or resolved spontaneously without situations being designed to solve specific problems. Roles can be tried out, relationships tested, self awareness as a social and political being can be discovered, and social skills can be learnt. Feelings can be explored and understood in relation to individuals and groups; and the creative process brings about aesthetic satisfaction, confidence and hope." (Jennings,1981)

Playback Theatre is a process that can be categorized as a form of drama therapy. This is to be distinguished from psychodrama wherein the therapist guides the patient as "protagonist" to play themselves. In Playback, the participant becomes a storyteller who witnesses an actor playing him or herself in the improvisation. Casting is non-traditional - that is, the teller may select anyone from the pool of available actors to play themselves and other people in the story. This distancing gives a sense of safety not necessarily felt in psychodrama when playing oneself and all of the peripheral roles.

Storytelling is the basis for Playback Theatre. Participants are guided by a trained conductor to tell stories from their lives which are then played and replayed to the teller's satisfaction. "Story is a living context for making meaning. It can reinforce the imaginative framework of the developing child, give validity to important feelings, promote insights, nourish hope, reduce anxieties, and provide rich fantasy life. Story gives children ways of dealing constructively with inner experience, communicating an intuitive, subconscious understanding of their own nature. Being a human being in this world means having to accept difficult challenges, but it also means encountering wonderful adventures." (Barton and Booth, 1990)

"Story helps us to gain an understanding of the complexity of our emotional responses, demonstrated by the expressive voices of characters speaking eloquently and powerfully of their feeling. We cannot teach children emotions; we can only help them reveal them and understand them." "Story causes us to tap into the universal situations of life, to stand in the shoes of others in all the world's past, present and future, taking risks, suffering, sorrowing, laughing, wondering, challenging, feeling satisfied but, most of all, tuning into the archtypes of all story wisdom." (Barton and Booth 1990)

"Stories think, and they do it in the same way we do. They talk straight sometimes, right to the heart, but they have always a deep, symbolic understanding of reality that can dictate what happens on a conscious level. This analogy to our thinking may explain why stories are so important to us and why they appear to be so meaningful. They speak to us, as dreams speak to us, in a language that is at once highly symbolic and childishly literal. They mirror our consciousness exactly because they are composed through a process both conscious and subconscious." (Martin, 1988)

Jo Salas, in her book on Playback Theatre writes about the process based on her close working relationship with husband Jonathan Fox, founder of Playback. "When we weave our experience into stories, we find meaning in what we have undergone. telling our stories to others helps us to integrate the story's meaning for us personally. It is a way, too, for us to contribute to the universal quest for meaning. The intrinsic element of form in a story can transmute chaos and restore a sense of belonging to a world that is fundamentally purposeful after all. Even the most desperately painful of experiences are in some way redeemed when they are told as stories." (p 18-19)

"In a busy institution full of troubled kids there are very few times that a staff member can listen attentively to one child's story. Few, if any, of the children have the patience or maturity to listen to each other. And most have come from families where concrete survival needs like food, shelter, and physical safety have preempted the subtler hunger for story.....these children and many other deprived people remember their stories. They are aware that telling them is of urgent importance. What they lack is the opportunity that most of us have to share stories in the course of our daily lives." (p 20)

"The stories we tell about ourselves accumulate into a sense of self, an identity, the most personal of mythologies. We also tell stories about our world, and they help us to comprehend what otherwise might seem to be a confusing and random universe." (p 21) "We are, all of us, storytellers. Story is built into our way of thought. We need stories for our emotional health and our sense of place in the world. All of our lives we seek opportunities to hear and tell them. I'm convinced that this is the reason that Playback Theatre has grown the way it has: it is a place where the need for story is fed." (p 22)

"Playback's healing efficacy comes from a number of elements. ...people need to tell their stories. It's a basic human imperative. From the telling of our stories comes our sense of identity, and our place in the world, and our compass of the world itself. In the fragmented existence that many of us experience, where there may be little continuity of people and place, where life moves too fast for us to listen carefully to one another, where many people are searching for meaning that seems more than elusive, Playback Theatre offers a non-judgemental forum for the sharing of personal stories."

"Secondly, the microcosm of a Playback Theatre performance (or other event) is a benign one. Respect is a cornerstone. No one is exploited or ridiculed or demeaned. It is safe, even nurturing. This atmosphere alone is enough to engender healing. People who experience it for any length of time - company members, or groups that use Playback in regular meetings, or participants in a workshop that lasts a few days - may grow simply from being in such an environment of acceptance and generosity. "The other essential element in Playback's healing effect is aesthetic. Stories are not just told, they are responded to with the artistic sensibility of the Playback team and shaped into pieces of theatre." (pp 111-112)

"Many people now trained in Playback Theatre come from the helping professions. (Some are drama therapists and psychodramatists, already familiar with the therapeutic effectiveness of using drama to explore personal experience.) The ways in which this ritualized story-telling is broadly therapeutic to the general public also makes it a valuable tool with children and adults who suffer from emotional difficulties and mental illness. "People in treatment have a pressing need to tell their stories, and are likely to have less opportunity to do so than the rest of us." (p 116)

"There are several safeguards against the dangers and loss of boundary that could be present in psychodrama or drama therapy...One is the skills of the therapist-conductor, who is trained to guide the telling of the story with clinical sensitivity. Another is the distancing effect of the form itself - there is a built-in control when the teller watches but does not participate in the drama. And thirdly, almost all tellers, whether they are psychiatric patients or members of the public, follow an innate sense of what is appropriate to tell in any particular context." (p 116)

STUDY p13 "Many troubled people are acutely in need of any experience that can hint at the existence of an underlying pattern that might make sense of their suffering. Beauty of any kind tends to be in short supply in the lives of our most troubled fellow beings, and they are the ones who need it the most. Equally, they need opportunities to experience their own creativity, imagination, and spontaneity. It can be from such experiences that the sense of authorship of their own lives begins to grow, leading to increased autonomy and health." "In addictions treatment, Playback Theatre has provided a non-judgemental, non-threatening forum in which clients may find the courage to look at on a role in someone else's story. Suddenly, she is someone with gifts to give, no longer defined only by her deficits." (p 122) "The success of Playback depends on the group dynamics: even with emotionally wounded people it is possible and necessary to ensure that stories are chosen, told and enacted in ways that promote trust and respect." (p 124)

"Playback Theatre's earthy simplicity and directness make it readily accessible to almost anyone. The work can have immediate relevance to people of all levels of education, sophistication and means." (p 146, Salas, 1993) "Around the world, many groups and individual practicioners have explored the possibilities of Playback Theatre in education. " (Fox 1992) They have experimented with work in schools at all levels, and although some have been discouraged by school culture and conditions, others have succeeded, with diplomacy and persistence, in building a hospitable environment for Playback.

Projects range from one-time performances to committments that may extend over days or weeks, perhaps providing a forum for an issue that the school community is dealing with, or offering a novel way to explore curriculum material. "Playback can even become a permanent feature - I know of two highly successful school-based companies, one is Alaska and one in New Hampshire. One is made up of high school students, identified as "at risk" - of suicide, alcoholism, and other dangers of the mine fields of adolescence -and the other of eleven and twelve-year-olds, who go out into the community performing at nursing homes and elementary schools." (Salas 1993) "For young people who may have special needs for emotional and social support, like the Alaskan teenagers, the chance to belong to such a group may literally be a lifesaver. These young people have the satisfaction not only of sharing their own stories in a safe, intimate, consistent environment, they also find great pride in bringing their skills to public audiences". (Salas 1993)

Toronto's Playback Theatre director Annie Stirling, describes the workshops as totally experiential and dealing with problem solving, decision making, recognizing choices, taking responsibility for one's own well-being, conflict resolution and goal setting - all self esteem issues. The workshops empower participants to see that they do have choices and they can find new and healthier ways to function. "We look first at ways to reconnect with our own power so that we can find satisfaction in our lives in spite of our environment or outside influences". (Stirling 1994) Individuals are encouraged to share and value their own life experience. This engenders empathy from others and is thus community building. It allows individuals to honor their feelings in a non-judgemental framework.

This research indicates to me a compelling arguement for the use of creative drama, storytelling and specifically, the combination of these elements as utilized in Playback Theatre in working with students, especially those labeled "high risk". Whether or not the process in fact impacts on these adolescents' self esteem however, is the work of this study. The term "high risk" has been used interchangeably with the term "at risk". There is no precision in describing these characteristics to date - researchers continue to find it difficult to cite clear indicators that can apply globally. Likewise, Donmoyer and Kos in their insights from and about research find a variety of profiles and interventions being used. Their conclusion is that the very idiosyncracies of the individuals involved defy simple explanations or solutions. "The matter can be stated even more baldly: Ideal types are, at base, stereotypes. They may not emerge from malicious intent as many other stereotypes do, but the effect can be the same: Researcher ideal types greatly simplify our perceptions of at-risk students; they focus our attention on a relatively small number of variables; they obscure idiosyncracy." (Donmoyer and Kos, 1993)

"Research informs us that a number of personal, social and academic factors contribute to students being at-risk. Among the most significant factors are low achievement, grade retention, behaviour problems, poor attendance, cultural background, low socio-economic status and family situation". (Phlegar and Rose) "Changes in the social, cultural and economic structure of our country and in a number of socio-demographic factors, including the increase of single parent families, usually headed by women in low paying occupations, have significantly increased the numbers and proportions of at-risk students. Consequently the challenges of meeting the educational and social needs of these students have become especially prominent." (Statistics Canada 1986)

"...the label of "high risk" is used to characterize a population of adolescent students whose patterns of behaviour and school achievement place them in extreme jeopardy. These students may be on the verge of leaving or failing school without employable skills, and of engaging in delinquent or criminal activity if they have not already done so." (Campbell, Andrews and Fuller, 1982)

In the FUTURES program in Ontario, admission into the Preemployment Preparation classes is limited to those between the ages of 16 to 24 who have been out of school and out of work for at least three months. Those labeled as "severely employment disadvantaged" could easily fit the profile of "at risk" or "high risk". Barriers to their success (in addition to specifically job-related barriers) which are assessed to determine eligibility for entry into FUTURES include the following: poor skills in reading, writing, and speaking, physical disability, emotional/behavioural problems, criminal history, poor attendance/punctuality, lack of food/shelter/clothing, single parent/lack of daycare, appearance, poor attitude, cultural/linguistic difficulties, drug/alcohol problem, problem with authority, developmentally handicapped, psychiatric/psychological history, learning disability, low self-esteem. An average of five barriers are determined by the intake counsellors for each potential trainee. The most commonly cited barrier is low self esteem. The difficulties that result are evidenced in poor social skills and at times, problem behaviour. In this study, I propose to offer these characteristics in the guidelines to teachers and counsellors who will be nominating potential participants for the Playback workshops. "Most students with social difficulties have a very limited response repertoire to problems. They either strike back aggressively or withdraw. These strategies are rarely effective and have other negative side effects".(Bos and Vaughn 1988)

"These students are often seen as lacking the home and community resources that help them benefit from traditional schooling practices. But we also know that, as individuals, they have unique qualities that can be used to enhance their educational accomplishments. Among these qualities are an interest in artistic and oral expression, a capacity for involvement in materials and tasks that involve them emotionally, and an ability to grasp large concepts and then tackle the detail and facts related to these concepts". (Levin 1987) "Ethnic minority children who value interdependence and cooperation can gain much from the power and strength of collective group feedback. In a cohesive group atmosphere, members can be very supportive of one another in patterns resembling the family situation. Like family members, they will work together to solve one another's problems. If the group consists of diverse racial and ethnic memberships, group members can learn additional communication styles and skills for expressiveness and problem solving ". (Ho 1992) "A sense of self-power also appears to provide monority-group students with an attitude of usefulness or competence in understanding other students and making suggestions which might prove useful to them". (Henderson 1979)

In his article on strategies for at-risk students, Dino Altieri recommends that the public education system collaborate with other institutions and community agencies to create neighborhoods or communities of support to provide effective preventative programming to enhance the accomplishments of at-risk students. "In order to effectively meet the educational and social needs of at-risk students, our challenges for the future involve coordinating the efforts of the school, the family and the community into a comprehensive set of strategies that mutually reinforce one another, attracting and maintaining qualified staff and sustaining long-term programming and resources." (Altieri 91)

Persons with low self esteem are perceived to be less capable of resisting pressures to conform and less able to perceive threatening stimuli. Typically, those with low self esteem have had fewer experiences of love and success. They may move towards aggression, be unrealistic, display deviant behaviour and feel anxiety. "High esteem is related to personal satisfaction and effective functioning. Creative persons rank quite high in self esteem and are likely to assume active roles in social groups, express views frequently and effectively. They are less troubled by fears and ambivilence, less burdened by self doubt. They move more easily towards personal goals than those with low self esteem". (Coopersmith 1988)

Self esteem may vary according to experience, sex, age and other role defining conditions ie, one may feel worthy in sports or music but not in academic achievement. Self esteem has been found to be constant over long intervals - several years, but can presumably be affected by specific indcidents or by environmental changes. It may revert to customary levels when conditions resume their normal and typical course. Any measurement of self esteem should therefore follow soon after any experimental intervention in order to capture resulting changes. Inspite of old patterns of low self esteem emerging, it could be conjectured that the changes might eventually influence more positive attitudes.

To refer once more to the healing centre at Epidauros, it was there that the THOLOS was used as a form of shock treatment. This was a small circular pit in the form of a labyrinth in which the patient was placed to confront his or her fears.

The Playback experience, by comparison, is not a frightening solitary therapy but one in which trust and support play a great role. Yet confronting oneself through the critical consciousness and catharsis of the dramatic replay of one's stories may give a vision of normalcy and a real perspective to the ways in which one has been dealing with life. "It has the power to deliver the hardest truths in a positive way and, as such is intensely therapeutic". (Fox) "Through imagination, creative choice allows Playback to become an instrument of empowerment: the recognition of one's own responsibility in lifes experiences; the realization that everytime I make a new choice the whole scenario changes. Even the knowledge that there is always a choice, is often a huge step in a participant's personal growth."

"Perhaps because we work with so many underpriviledged youth, who have at an early age learned to play the role of victim, it is important to open the often brand-new door of options. Perhaps it is the traditional 'oppressed' and 'oppressors' of all ages that we find have not yet completely realized how deterministic each of their actions are and do not see how they can really make a difference?" "Though much of the empowerment indeed comes from honouring our stories and from the resultant community themes as the subsequent stories provide even more insight particularly into the universality of human experience, we have seen not only immediate results, i.e. behavioural shifts, but lifetime decisions made from Transformation or Repair".

"Since Playback is a dramatic and creative forum for living one's experience with the advantage of 'Instant Replay', it can provide a vehicle to step out of oneself, like a theatrical piece of Brechtian alienation, to look at what that self is doing. In the process, new insights into what one would prefer to be doing, wish to be doing, rather be doing, or is happy to continue doing are gleaned".

"Transformation and Repair in Playback put these new awarenesses into action, giving them a more indelible stamp of approval. An athlete watches a replay not only for affirmation but to see what (s)he might keep or change in his/her next match." (Stirling)

In summary, drama, specifically the Playback form of drama therapy, could prove to be a significant intervention with high risk adolescents suffering low self esteem. The impact of this intervention is unlikely to affect self-esteem in any miraculous fashion. Opening a window however, by way of the Playback process, may let in a little light that could incrementally benefit a young life. "The reason spontaneous drama is increasingly used is that it is a most effective method of human learning. Re-play enables us to face life experiences at a symbolic level; to engage in problem-solving in a deep personal way. We 'try out' possible futures and 'act out' the problems of the past; as we learn, we adjust to time. Each actor is protected by re-play - after all, drama is not life - yet it is so meaningful to him that it reaches down into his inner self". (Courtney 92)

LIST OF REFERENCES: The supporting materials referred to have been organized into three categories:

  1. Barton, Bob and Booth, David, 1990, Stories in the Classroom: Storytelling, Reading Aloud and Roleplaying with Children, Pembrooke Publishers Ltd., 1990, pp. 12-22.
  2. Baxley, Gladys B., Building Resiliency in Youth: Imagine the Difference. Living Stage Theatre Co., Wash. DC, March 1993.
  3. Cooper, Robert G., Oral Improvisation As A Test of Oral Proficiency At The High School Level, QRP for EdD, U of T., 1992.
  4. Courtney, Richard, Re:Play; Studies of Human Drama in Education, OISE Press, Toronto, 1982.
  5. Dayton, Tian, Drama Games; Techniques for Self-Development - Health Communications, Inc., 1990, p. xiv.
  6. Gale, Derek, What is Psychodrama?, Gale Centre Publications, Essex, Great Britain, 1990.
  7. Heinig, Ruth Beall, Stillwell, Lyda, Creative Drama for the Classroom Teacher, Prentice-Hall, Inc., New York, 1981, pp 5,8.
  8. Irwin, Eleanor Chima, The Effect of a Program of Creative Dramatics Upon Personality as Measured by the California Test of Personality, Sociograms, Teacher Ratings and Grades, PhD Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1963.
  9. Martin,Valerie, "Waiting for the Story to Start" New York Times, Feb. 16, 1988.
  10. Moreno, J.L., The Theatre of Spontaneity ,1947.
  11. Moreno, J.L., in collaboration with Zerka T. Moreno, Psychodrama: Third Volume: Action Therapy & Principles of Practice, Beacon House, Beaacon, N.Y., 1969.
  12. Moreno, Zerka T., Psychodramatic Rules, Techniques and Adjunctive Methods -no 41, 1966.
  13. Nelson, Jennifer, Improvisational Theatre Helps Teen Mothers Raise Sights, Children Today, March 1994.
  14. Ontario Ministry of Education, Dramatic Arts Curriculum Guideline for the Intermediate and Senior Divisions, 1981.
  15. Ontario Ministry Of Education, Drama in the Formative Years, 1984.
  16. Polsky, Milton E., Let's Improvise: Becoming Creative, Expressive & Spontaneous Through Drama, University Press of America Inc., 1989.
  17. Safer, L. Arthur, Harding, Carol G., Under Pressure Program: Using live theatre to investigate adolescents attitudes and behavior related to drug and alcohol abuse education and prevention, Adolescence, Loyola University, Spring, 1993.
  18. Spolin, Viola, Improvisation for the Theater: A Handbook of Teaching and Directing Techniques, Northwestern University Press, 1963, pp. 3-6,15.



  1. Courtney, Richard and Schattner, Gertrude, eds., Drama In Therapy, Vol I, Drama Book Specialists, New York, 1981.
  2. Fox, Jonathan, Playback as Oral Theatre - Chapter Four from work in progress, 1994.
  3. Fox, Jonathan, Trends in Playback Theatre for Education, Interplay, 1992.
  4. Guest, Nancy,,Race for Unity; A model for Racial Interaction, Post Project Report, Yes Oh Yes Drama Outreach and Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat, Ministry of Citizenship, 1992.
  5. Katzenbach, Mimi, The Face of a Story; A Unifying Psychology for the Art of Playback Theater - work in progress re the controversy : Playback as therapy or art?, 1994.
  6. Moustakas, Clarke E., Creative Life, D. Van Nostrand, New York, 1977.
  7. Playback training outline, The Ambassador Programme, 1993.
  8. Salas, Jo, Culture and Community: Playback Theatre, The Drama Review, Vol.27, No.2, Summer, 1983, pp. 15-25.
  9. Salas, Jo, Improvising Real Life; Personal Story in Playback Theatre, Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company, DuBuque, Iowa, 1993.
  10. Stirling, Annie, Saying Yes to Choice; Acceptance, Repair or Transformation? Essay, 1994.



  1. Altieri, Dino, At-Risk Students; Consider Integrated Strategies, Education Canada, Fall, 1991. pp. 24-26.
  2. Bos, Candace S. and Vaughn, Sharon, Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning and Behavior Problems, Allyn and Bacon, Inc., Toronto, 1988.
  3. Campbell, Donald S., Andrews, W. Robin, Fuller, Kenneth R., Evaluation of an In-School Program for Reducing Impusivity in High-Risk Adolescent Students, Queens University at Kingston, 1982.
  4. Coopersmith, Stanley, Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory Manual, Adult Form, 1981.
  5. Cross, J. Logan; Hunter, Janice K., Examination of a Counseling Center Approach to Addressing Affective Needs of Disruptive Secondary School Students, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April, 1984.
  6. Donmoyer, Robert and Kos, Raylene, eds., At Risk Students; Portraits, Policies, Programs, and Practices, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1993.
  7. Hagborg, Winston J., The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and Harter;s Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents: A Concurrent Validity Study, Psychology in the Schools, v30, n2, April, 1993, pp. 132-136.
  8. Harter, Susan, Manual for the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents, University of Denver, 1988.
  9. Henderson, George, editor, Understanding and Counseling Ethnic Minorities, Charles C. THomas Publisher, Springfield, Illinois, 1979. 10. Man Keung Ho, Minority Children and Adolescents in Therapy, Sage Productions Ltd., Newbury Park, Ca. 1992.
  10. Jones, Dianne J; Watson, Betty Collier, Assoc. for the Study of Higher Ed., High Risk Students and Higher Education: Future Trends. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 3, George Washington U., 1990.
  11. Levin, Henry M., Learning Stragtegies Can Help Students At-Risk, Teaching Exceptional Children, Summer, 1988.
  12. O'Hara, Rory M., The Relationship Between Counselling Intervention and Self-Esteem in Underachieving High School Students, Masters Thesis, Faculty of Ed. Brock University, St. Catharines, On. 1991
  13. Phlegar, Janet M. and Rose, Raymond M., At-Risk Students; Approaches to and Identification and Intervention, Rhode Island Department of Education as cited by Dino Altieri, 1991.
  14. Nave, Bill, Self-Esteem: The Key to Student Success, A Series of Solutions and Strategies, National Dropout Prevention Center, December, 1990.
  15. Preshaw, Dana; Steele, Larry, Personal Growth: A Continuation High School Drug Defense, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the California Association for Counseling and Development, February, 1980.
  16. Sapons, Carmelo V., A Mentorship Model for Students At-Risk, Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council of States on Inservice Education, 1989.
  17. Walker, Elaine M., Changing Self-Esteem: The Impact of Self-Esteem Changes on At-Risk Students Achievement, Newark Board of Education, N.J., Office of Research, Evaluation and Testing Report, 1991.




This experimental study would involve two groups of high risk adolescents, high school level, aged 14 - 19. One group would be tested for self esteem before and after attending a week-long Playback Theatre workshop. One group would also be selected from the same high risk population and would also be tested twice at the same intervals as the first group, but without the workshop. This group would be offered the workshop after the testing.

Each group would be made up from 30 - 40 participants selected by their teachers and counsellors to conform with a criteria for being identified as high risk. Each group would be made up equally from different schools in metro Toronto and outlying regions, half the schools being matched as being large, inner city, the others from the region around Toronto but all with high drop out rates and drawing upon populations with similar ethnic and socio economic mixes.

In Group I the Independent variable is High Risk adolescents who participate in a 5-day Playback Theatre workshop given by Yes Oh Yes Drama Outreach and the Dependent variable is Level of self-esteem. In Groups II, the Independent variable is High Risk adolescents who do not participate in a 5-day Playback Theatre workshop given by Yes Oh Yes Drama Outreach and the Dependent variable is self-esteem. Again, at a later date, after the data has been collected, provisions will be made for this group to attend the workshop.

Treatment group
R O X1 O
R O X2 O

Threats to Internal Validity: Steps will be taken to ensure that resources are comparable in the locations used for pre and post tests. The same data collector will be used for both groups. Because both groups will be attending workshops, the threat of one group receiving special attention will be avoided.

Groups will be selected that are homogeneous with regard to age (between the ages of 14 and 19), and who are considered to be high risk. Teachers and counsellors would be given a profile check list describing qualifiers that identify high risk adolescents.

From groups identified as high risk, participants in the study would be selected randomly from those schools, equally among inner city and regional, with high drop out rates and drawing upon student populations with similar ethnic and socio economic mixes. For the workshop, participants will be bussed in to a central location on a daily basis for the five days of the workshop.

Participants in the study would be interviewed prior to the workshop in order to determine such characteristics as socio economic level of family, gender, ethnicity, and to see what matching exists among the groups. Participants would receive pre-tests and post-tests using the same Self-Esteem Inventory.

Having studied both the Coopersmith Self Esteem Inventory and the Harter Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents, at present I am inclined to use the Coopersmith.

In a limited trial, using participants from a FUTURES Preemployment Preparation group, I administered both questionnaires. These adolescents unanimously preferred the Coopersmith as being much easier to comprehend and complete. They took particular exception to the style of questioning in the Harter which allows only the responses, "really true for me" and "sort of true for me". This is in contrast to the Coopersmith which asks for statements to be rated as "like me" or "unlike me". Subsequent discussion determined that their true preference was for surveys that are scaled to give them greater variety of response.

I will continue to search for such an instrument. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale perhaps. Correlational and cross-validation multiple regression analyses found that the RSE total score and both its factor scores were strongly related to Global Self Worth but females reported significantly lower RSE scores in Hagborg's validity study.

At this time, I choose to go with the Cooopersmith dispite the praise of Harter's. The Harter is a long and sometimes difficult questionnaire - to be sure that participants understood it, it would have to be read aloud during the testing and this could affect the outcome for those working at a faster pace.

With the Coopersmith (or the Rosenberg, I presume from my reading on it) the participants could actually be tested in the centre where they have been transported for the workshop if this is necessary to help with location control. I feel that none of these tests alone are sufficient in indicating enough information about the participants especially given the number of variables possible.

I believe that in addition to asking the referring instructors and counsellors to indicate their responses to the participants, that individual profiles of each participant both pre and post workshop are necessary to give a fuller view of this study. This information would be gathered in interviews with each participant and with each referring member of faculty whose students were selected for the study. The Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory by Stanley Coopersmith, 1981, covers: peers, parents, school and personal interests. Both school and adult forms have been used for males and females and for all ethnic groups and many special populations (eg., learning disabled). In O'Hara's study on "The Relationship Between Counselling Intervention and Self-Esteem in Underachieving High School Students", O'Hara reports with regard to the reliability and validity of the SEI. "The Adult Form was adapted from the School Short Form for use wiwth persons over fifteen years of age; the total score correlation of the School Form with the Adult Form exceeds .80 for the three samples of high school and college students (N=647)." (Coopersmith, 1987) "With regard to the reliability and validity of the SEI, the School Form has been administered to thousands of children and adults in research studies, special education and clinical programs. All socio- economic ranges and many ethnic and cultural groups are represented." (O'Hara, 1991) O'Hara cites a number of examples proving internal consistency though stability as a component of reliability has been questioned since affective traits are subject to sudden and significant change over short periods of time.

O'Hara gives examples shown to support construct and concurrent validity. "On the subject of predictive validity, Coopersmith found that SEI scores were significantly related to creativity, academic achievement and willingness to express unpopular opinions".(O'Hara)


Each school board involved in this study would be fully informed of the procedures and questions to be asked participants. Only with their consent would questions regarding socio economic status and ethnicity be asked. Prior to the Playback Theatre sessions. These randomly selected participants, once sorted, would be bussed to a central location to be given an orientation to learn the purpose of the study and testing. The pre tests could be given at this time.

At the orientation participants would submit signed parent permission letters. They would receive any preliminary information such as proper clothing to wear to the workshop, hours of workshop involvment, and committment to the project. There would be no mention of the specific term "self esteem" with regards to the testing; but participants would certainly be informed that they would be answering a short survey of personal questions to give the investigator more insight into their lives. I am confident that my years of training as a counsellor with high risk adolescents give me the skills to conduct the interviews and administer the exams with professional and unbiased expertise.

At this time each participant would be scheduled to be individually interviewed by the researcher. The location for the interviews would be selected to provide consistent situations for each interviewee. Participants would also be informed that they had the option to withdraw from the experiment at anytime; committment to follow through would be strongly encouraged. They would be advised that withdrawal would in no way affect their grades or their standing in the school. By seeking 40 participants for each group, it is hoped that the number of actual participants would not fall far below 30 for each group.

The group not being tested in relationship to participation in the Playback workshops, would receive the same orientation. Also at this meeting they would complete the pre-test Self-Esteem Inventory. Again, no mention of the specific term "self-esteem" would be made to prevent biased responses on the tests. They would receive the same information regarding interview scheduling and the option to withdraw from the study. One week following the workshop, both groups would take the post self esteem test. Those aged 14 and 15 would be also be given the Adult Form of the SEI.

Teachers and counsellors would be asked both before and after the testing and workshop (or no workshop) to report on the self-esteem levels of participating adolescents according to their observations. In these interviews, they would also be asked for pre- and post- workshop (or non-workshop) attitudes and for levels of achievement as reflected in school marks.

O'Hara suggests the following parameters for Data Analysis: "Non-parametric statistical techniques were used to determine change in self-concept between the pre- and post-tests; as well, t-tests were used to determine gender differences. Specifically the data were entered into the computer and then the data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences PC Version (SPSSPC)." As I am untrained in this aspect of data analysis I will certainly consult with experts for this phase of the study.

I believe that qualitative examination of these two groups may reveal that a number of desireable and/or undesireable outcomes are possible from this study. For example, it may demonstrate that following the workshop, participants show a much greater ability in problem solving and decision making. If it would not compromise the validity of this study, I feel that much value would be gained if the researcher were to attend the workshops in order to record any significant occurances that might have a bearing on this inquiry. I believe this can be accomplished without disturbing the process. Having been trained as both a Playback actor and conductor, I am completely familiar with the process. This narrative or journal could be very helpful in discovering more on the subject though objectivity could possibly prove difficult. Since bias is likely, it could be offered simply as an appendix to the study.

Though not part of the official study proposed here, I would encourage the participants to continue with the Playback process afterwards as did the Alaska group referred to in Salas book on Playback. Ideally, interested counsellors and teachers of the participants could receive conductor training to sponsor and perpetuate the work in their schools. If this were to transpire, followup of these groups would certainly be of interest to the researcher.


The budget would need to include costs for the following:
Researcher time: for preparation of materials, interviews with teachers,
counsellors and students, monitoring of the testing, collecting data, data
analysis and travel time.
Approximately 20 days at $250 a day = $5,000
Evaluation of data 20 days at $250 a day = $5,000
500 kilometers at .30 a kilometer = $150
160 tests @$50.00 for 25 tests = $320
2 week-long workshops by Yes Oh Yes Drama Outreach @$10,000.00 each = $20,000
Rental of workshop space - donated by Yes Oh Yes
Bussing of participants - donated by participating schools
Supplies and printing, computer time = $500
SubTotal = $24,930 + overhead at 65% = $16,204.50
Total= $41,134.50

Research proposal for EDT1692f, December 1994.