Changing Attitudes Towards People with Physical Disabilities Using Interactive Drama

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Persons with disabilities represent a large population of people who ardently wish to work, but remain unemployed as employers frequently fail to utilise their potential. The primary reason for this exclusion is the negative attitude and prejudice of persons without disabilities towards people with disabilities. Attitudinal change, however is a complex process which must include cognitive, affective, and behavioural components. Learning is of cardinal importance, in this process considering that the majority of behaviour is the result of learning. Learning which arises from an experience, and the reflection thereupon, is called experiential learning. An increasing number of organisations find that lectures, role play, and other traditional instructional techniques do not meet these requirements, and have started turning to drama as a guide. Drama empowers personnel to investigate the intrigues of human behaviour and their own influence on the corporate culture and business results. The emphasis should thus be on the investigation of life which is experimental and existential, which can be approached through interactive drama. The aim of this study was the development and implementation of such a program to change managers and employees attitudes towards employees with disabilities using interactive drama as an experiential learning method. Various theoretical principles and strategies from the education field as well as the field of drama were incorporated in the development of this program. Lastly the study made use of an experimental design to compare attitude change of managers and employees before and after attending the program as well as differences in attitude change between managers and employees.

Keywords: Diversity, Disability, Prejudice, Attitudes, Learning, Experiential Learning, Drama, Interactive Drama, Program Development, Program Implementation, Managers and Employees
Stream: Disability, Health
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Ronel Kleynhans

Lecturer, Department of Industrial Psychology
Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Free State

Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

I completed my B.SOC.Sc. Honours (Psychology) and B. Soc. Sc. Honours (Industrial Psychology) in 1997 and 2003 both Cum Laude at the University of the Free State. In 1999, I completed my Diploma in Christian Active Therapy at MENSANA- Academy for Education in Humanities, also Cum Laude. Currently I am busy with my Masters in Industrial Psychology which will be completed in February 2008. I have received various prizes throughout my academic career and is also a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. I am a registered Psychometrics, a registered Counsellor (Psychometric) Independent Practice with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as well as a member of the Council for Counsellors in South Africa. I’ve been a teacher at the Bloemfontein Christian School from January 1998. In October 1999 I began a counselling practice, but scaled down after receiving a lecturing post at the University of the Free State. I lecture Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management to 1600 first year students. In 2006 I co-authored a Human Resource Textbook. My areas of interest are Training and Development, Diversity Management, Inter-active drama/theatre, counselling and applying these concepts in community development.

Ref: D08P0148