ON DEMAND: Performative Learning: Creative Engagement & Meaning Making


  • Patricia Maulden




I completed an Inside-Out Prison Exchange training in 2019 where we learned from lifer's association members (while in a maximum security prison) how to put together a semester's curriculum weaving in performance - movement, collaborative poetry creation, role plays, and so on. I found the experience to be transformative and thought of ways I could use some of these ideas in courses I teach at the Carter School. During the spring 2019 semester I developed a performative assignment that I used in my CONF 435/695 course and adapted (based on the curriculum) for my CONF 733 course in Malta. As this was the final assignment aside from a video reflection essay, all of the reading concepts/dynamics were included and each of the small student groups chose what they would focus on, what type of performance they would use to demonstrate these concepts etc., and perhaps most importantly, how they would debrief and explain the meaning and representations of course themes, etc. through their performance. I have a video of the 435/695 class performances but not for the 733 class. I have a strong sense of the value of creativity in education as a way to make sense of, challenge, and learn in a deeper more personal way. I share this for these reasons as well as that the students not only produced remarkable projects, well through through and strongly debriefed, but that they, through 'living with and moving among' the readings, case materials, and their own understanding and creative processes, expressed their amazement at themselves for what they had accomplished. As such, this approach, which can be modified to fit different educational circumstances, has value from the instructor side as well as the student side. An online environment will naturally require a different framing of the assignment but the creative aspect will hold in that environment as well.

Author Biography

Patricia Maulden

Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution





2021 On Demand Pre-recorded Presentation