Putting Yourself in Other People’s Shoes: The use of Forum theatre to explore refugee and homeless issues in schools

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This study investigated the experiences of, and interactions between, participants of a Forum theatre workshop, which addressed the issue of the refugee child at school. Staged by a UK theatre company, whose actors had, in their own lives, experienced being homeless and/or refugees, the workshop was investigated as it was performed in three London secondary state schools. Findings revealed that the workshop was highly relevant to the students, reflecting moral dilemmas which they faced in their everyday lives, as they encountered refugee students at school. This interactive workshop gave them the opportunity to try out moral behaviour, which could potentially be applied to real-life situations. Students felt that the workshop enabled them to put themselves “in other people’s shoes”, both the fictional characters in the workshop as well as actual people they knew at school. The homeless and refugee histories of the actors themselves intensified the reality of the workshop experience. The Forum theatre workshop aimed to encourage the students to become moral agents in their own lives. However, its ability to do this was limited by the lack of both moral reflection upon the issues raised, and guidance in appropriate moral action following the workshop. This absence of follow-up relates to the fact that the workshop was perceived by teachers as a drama activity, and no attempts were made to address its moral content which, teachers felt, belonged to the domain of the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) in the National Curriculum for England.

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Day, L. (2002). ‘Putting Yourself in Other People’s Shoes’: The use of Forum theatre to explore refugee and homeless issues in schools. Journal of Moral Education, 31(1), 21-34.

About This Study:

Intervention(s): School-Based Anti-Bias Program
Intervention Duration: 90 minutes
Relevant ORR Program: Refugee School Impact Program, Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, Youth Mentoring
Study Type: Suggestive evidence
Full Text Availability: Free
Direction of Evidence: Inconclusive or mixed impact
Strength of Evidence: Suggestive
Population(s): Refugees
Gender(s) of Participants: All
Age(s) of Participants: Children
Region(s) of Origin of Participants: Multiple Regions

Relevant Evidence Summaries:

The evidence was reviewed and included in the following summaries: