TESOL Talk Special Workshop Event

Theater as a Weapon of Knowledge: Increasing agency, effectiveness, and critical consciousness in language learning through embodied, problem-posing education

Please join San Francisco State University’s M.A. TESOL students, alumni, and faculty for this FREE engaging and interactive special workshop event on Friday, September 9 in Lib 121, the Events Room located on the 1st Floor of the Main Library on the SFSU campus from 1:00 to 5:30 pm. This event is sponsored in part by the Bay Area CATESOL Chapter.


Theater is one of the most potent tools for learning and teaching language: it engages the whole body, stimulates thought and action in context, engages the senses, imagination, and feelings, explores character & identity, and is a laboratory for communication, relationship, and power.

In this interactive workshop, Professor Jiwon Chung will share a wide set of tools and concepts for language acquisition from Applied Theater and Theatre of the Oppressed. This will show how the critical, dialogical approach of Theater of the Oppressed, and its embodied, constructivist, problem-posing approach empowers learners to construct and relate to the world as effective learning agents through language.

Interactive games, imaginative and sensory exercises, body sculptures/tableaux, zero scenes, theatrical problem-posing, intention gap exercises, story-telling, devising, power analysis, and other dynamic, embodied, theatrical tools will be shared and explored. Participants should come away with a dynamic set of tools and approaches to use with learners and to re-energize their classes, as well as an understanding of how to apply critical and popular pedagogies in curriculum development.

Theater of the Oppressed is a set of techniques and practices for using theater as a vehicle for transforming individuals and their communities, and effecting social and political change. Based on Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, it is a method of harnessing the theatrical process as a powerful tool for healing communities and breaking cycles of oppression; resulting in empowered and engaged individuals and groups that have the tools to dialogue, educate, problem-solve, and effect social change.