Identity and the Arts: Using Drama and Masks as a Pedagogical Tool to Support Identity Development in Adolescence


Identity in adolescents is an ever-growing concern and pre-occupation within formal education, with a need to identify factors that can positively impact upon adolescent development. Identity and understanding of the human condition has been apparent from earliest records of Homo sapiens. One of the earliest recorded exploration and understanding of this is through ritual ceremony and the role that mask has played in allowing people to explore what it means to us through adopting the “other”. It therefore stands to reason that if masks have and still do allow individuals to explore identity and place in life, there may be an impact upon adolescents who use masks within their formal drama education. This paper explores: The concepts of identity having a correspondence to mask usage; The potential for masks to support the individual to disassociate from the self; and the sense of being.. If we wish to support adolescent development and self awareness, at the core of drama curricula we need to re-position the usage of masks in the classroom beyond being tied to core historical academic knowledge but as a pedagogical methodology in its own right, we need to support adolescent exploration of identity.

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Roy, D. and Ladwig, J. (2015) Identity and the Arts: Using Drama and Masks as a Pedagogical Tool to Support Identity Development in Adolescence. Creative Education, 6, 907-913. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.610092.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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