Printer Friendly - Help for my masters thesis...


Help with my masters thesis...
Posted by jeffmiele 2012-12-11 22:23:10


I am currently finishing up my masters in Higher Education Administration, and I need a bit of help. I know there was a thread about this a week or two ago partially similar to this topic but what I am looking for requires a different type of play recommendation...

I was working on my thesis since last May on the phenomena of helicopter parenting, parents who constantly hover over their children. I work at a public university so it is seen CONSTANTLY there. Well, there was so much research done on that and how it negatively impacts students I designed my thesis on what the child/student actually expects from his or her parents while away freshman year. Long story short, it wasn't working and my thesis advisor and I came with a new topic.

Now, my y thesis is on locating adult education theories and principles in American theater. Ultimately, I will identify themes and theories of adult learning in plays and provide proof at the end that 1) they exist in theater and 2) instructors in Higher Education courses can use theater to help instruct rather than a typical pedagogical classroom instruction style. The plays I use do not have to be plays that take place in a classroom setting, I am using OLEANNA and SEMINAR though. They just have to illustrate themes of adults learning through experience, from culture, having a spiritual or other form of transformation after experience, etc. I will also be using DEATH OF A SALESMAN because I have lots of research of the aging of an adult, what time does to them, and the sociological importance of proving one's worth. If I had the time to layout all of the theories and principles I am dealing with I am sure it would make this question a WHOLE lot easier for people to answer. But if anyone has any ideas or suggestions based on the information I provided I would greatly appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!



Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-11 22:44:13


A. I taught at a well-known public university for 14 years. (I retired in 2004.) I had not a single case of "helicopter parenting"; I simply didn't put up with it. I did have some parents who asked to attend a lecture and I happily granted those requests. But as for their children's work, their kids were adults for university purposes and their work was confidential. I simply refused to discuss it and, honestly, no parent ever gave me guff about it.

B. Drop OLEANNA: it's propaganda, not pedagogy, and in the second half of the play, entirely and unfairly slanted against the young woman. Why not try something a little less literal? M. BUTTERFLY doesn't take place in a classroom, but it presents one hell of a lesson. Or if you must have a play set in a classroom, why not something different like Trevor Griffiths' COMEDIANS, a great play about a night-school class for stand-ups.

As for "helicopter parents", it appears the definitive work at the moment is GOD OF CARNAGE.

I don't entirely understand your thesis, but it sounds like you will be more inspired if you broaden your definitions a bit.

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by jeffmiele 2012-12-11 22:55:35


Thanks for the suggestions. I'm sure as an instructor you did not see helicopter parenting a lot. However, I am working on the administrative end so I do see it quite a bit. I am in charge of all the facilities and operations of every on campus living facility so all I get is phone calls from parents of students who can't make them on their own.

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by Gothampc 2012-12-11 23:09:26


Too bad you dropped the parenting theme because I was all set to recommend God of Carnage.

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by dramamama611 2012-12-12 03:53:19


Almost any play I think of has "learning" or change involved, so I have to agree that your scope seems WAY too broad.

Most plays/musicals involve change -- and change implies learning of some sort, so I find it diffiuclt to see what what you are actually after.

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-12-12 07:43:34


King Lear

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by ggersten 2012-12-12 11:44:43


Not certain what your thesis is... Is it "how to use theater in adult education"? or is it "how theater reflects adults learning lessons" The latter is way way too broad as dramamama writes - that's just about every show. Some are pretty overt where the character basically says "what have I learned" e.g. Equus.

If it's just about "adult education" then there is:
H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N I know nothing about its quality as a stage show. Conceivably, "Don Juan In Hell" from Man and Superman is a long "education" piece.

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by OtherDaryl2 2012-12-12 12:28:06


Maybe of help . . .

The Primary English Class by Israel Horowitz (ESL)
Life Class by David Storey (art)

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by eperkins 2012-12-12 15:35:16


If you are using Death of a Salesman, I would suggest you also use Giant - similar theme with children disappointing their parents, or even Golden Boy, for the same reason.

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-12-12 16:01:15


Butterflies are Free.

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by GavestonPS 2012-12-12 18:59:20


Thanks for the explanation, Jeff. Yes, I'm sure you do hear from parents far more often than I ever did. You have my deepest sympathy.

Since somebody mentioned Shaw, PYGMALION (or MY FAIR LADY) is basically an extended "adult education" class.

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-12-12 23:01:15


Ah, I've missed the point here, sorry. Adult education in American drama. I immediately thought of Educating Rita but that's an English play. Children of a Lesser God?

Help for my masters thesis...
Posted by jeffmiele 2012-12-13 01:19:27


Thank you so much for the suggestions everyone. I will be looking into all of them!