Medical Education Empowered by Theater (MEET)

Marco Antonio de Carvalho Filho*, Adilson Ledubino, Letícia Frutuoso, Jamiro da Silva Wanderlei, Debbie Jaarsma, Esther Helmich, Marcia Strazzacappa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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The medical education community acknowledges the importance of including the humanities in general, and the liberal arts in particular, in the education of health professionals. Among the liberal arts, theater is especially helpful for educators wanting to bring experiences that are both real and challenging to the learning encounter in an interactive, engaging, and reflective way. In this Perspective, the authors share what they have learned after working together with a company of actors for 8 years (2012-2019) in different obligatory and elective curricular activities. Influenced by Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and the ideas of Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, Medical Education Empowered by Theater (MEET) embraces social accountability and applies the concept of sensible cognition to empower medical students as the protagonists of their learning and professional development to become agents of change - both in patients' lives and in health care systems. The MEET theoretical framework builds on the concepts of liberation, emancipatory education, critical pedagogy, and participatory theater to offer medical students and teachers an opportunity to problematize, criticize, and hopefully reform the hierarchical and often oppressive structures of medical education and practice. MEET sessions include activating previous knowledge and experiences, warm-up exercises, different improvisational exercises, debriefing, and synthesis. Vital to the praxis of MEET is applying theater-teaching traditions to develop capacities important in medicine: presence, empathy, improvisation, communication (verbal and nonverbal), and scenic intelligence (i.e., the capacity to self-assess one's performance while performing). The authors believe that theater offers a venue to integrate both the personal and professional development of students into a process of reflection and action, targeting the transformation of the medical culture toward social justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1200
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date3-Mar-2020
Publication statusPublished - 1-Aug-2020

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