Developing Affective Engagement in Science Education through Performative Pedagogies: The Performing Sciences


  • Sarah French Melbourne
  • Terrence D. Mulhern Melbourne
  • Rinske Ginsberg Melbourne



The project The Performing Sciences engaged teaching staff from biomedical sciences and theatre to design an assessment activity in which second year students at the University of Melbourne were required to explicate a biochemical concept or process using embodied modes of performance. Here we provide an extended narrative on affective engagement, offering this previous work as a case study, and describing how this innovative work advances approaches to teaching, learning and assessment in science education through theatrical performance. The case study provides evidence of the potential for creative and multi-disciplinary forms of teaching, learning and assessment to foster student engagement and increase their motivation to learn science. Our extended narrative focusses on the potential for performance-based pedagogical approaches to facilitate affective forms of learning. We argue that by employing strategies from theatre and performance studies, science educators can engage students in emotional and corporeal ways that complement their cognitive processes, as well as facilitate opportunities for collaborative and social learning.






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