Changing Attitudes Towards People with Physical Disabilities Using Interactive Drama
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
Lecturer, Department of Industrial Psychology