Details of Thesis

Title What a Difference a Play Makes: an examination of factors influencing personal development benefits through involvement in extracurricular theatre
Author Sproston, Ronald Leslie
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2005
Abstract The research investigates the personal development benefits to students of involvement in a particular extracurricular activity (student theatre). It examines aspects of student personal development that are promoted by involvement in this extracurricular activity and discusses factors within the activity that encourage or promote these results. It does this through its focus on participants’ perceptions of what happens in the group, in terms of personal development and events and actions that affected that personal development. The extracurricular theatrical activity that is the focus of this study takes place annually in a regional Catholic co-educational secondary college in Victoria, Australia. It is a multi-age activity that involves students from Years 7 – 12. Participation is open to all students and the activity is non-competitive. A detailed review of the literature covering the areas of extracurricular activity, adolescent development and resilience is provided. The research is underpinned by an holistic enactivist world-view and makes use of the constant comparison methodology of grounded theory to analyse the data it obtains. The theoretical justification for this position is provided. The data were obtained through semi-structured or guided interviews with long term participants in the activity. The participants included students, ex-students, teachers and parents. The participants’ perspectives of the personal development that occurred through involvement in the extracurricular activity were revealed through their voices, and were examined as they described and reflected upon their experiences. The interconnectedness of the personal development benefits and the factors that enable them are highlighted. Conclusions about the significance of an increased awareness of the complex inter-relatedness of the events that subscribe to the enhancement of personal development are offered. Theory related to the elements that contribute to the development of an environment that facilitates personal development benefits is developed.
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