Sociodrama for the ninth grade of Firestone Junior High School

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A Project Presented to the Faculty of the School of Education The University of Southem California

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science in Education

by Charles Albert Miller August 1950

UMI Number: EP46476

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M W 7 P»-f

T A w project report, w ritte n under the direction of the candidate’s adviser and app ro ved by him , has been presented to and accepted by the F a c u lty of the School of E d ucatio n in p a r t ia l f u lf illm e n t of the requirements f o r the degree

of M a s t e r of

Science in Education.





__ A d v is e r





THE PROBLEM AND DEFINITIONSOF TERMS USED . . . . The pr ob l e m ................................. Statement of the problem


1 2



Importance of the s t u d y ...................


Definitions of terms used ....................


REVIEW OF THE L I T E R A T U R E ......................




A PLAY IN NINETEEN A C T S ........................





S c ri pt s .....................................


The Evening Before SchoolOpens ...............


First Day of S c h o o l .........................


Fighting Within the Family



A Visit to the O f f i c e .................


Unsatisfactory Notices



Losing "Steady” .............................


Arguing with P a r e n t s .......................


Making Mistakes in Games


Running for Office




Maria’s Weekend .............................


Staying Too Long at Girl Friend's............


An Angry T e a c h e r ...........................



PAGE Death in the Family . . . . . ........... . .


Being Lectured To . . ............. * . * • *


Family DoesnttApprove of Boy Friend


.... .

Money T r o u b l e s .......................


Holding H a n d s ......................... 72 Boysf M a n n e r s .............. .............. 74 The Class PresidentHas a BIBLIOGRAPHY .

Problem. . . . . .


77 79


PAGE Distribution of Student Problems with Respect to Age and Sex




Distribution of IntelligenceQuotients


Students with Respect to Age and Sex. . • •



CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM AND DEFINITIONS OF TERMS USED The frictions of modern life caused a high percentage of the American people to become misfits*

Bullis^ contended

that life was comparable,to a huge sorting machine*

Of the

product of this machine one per cent will become delinquent; two per cent are feeble minded; four per cent enter mental hospitals; eight per cent become seriously neurotic.


remaining eighty-five per cent are mentioned as being compara­ tively normal*

Furthermore, the armed forces discovered that

many who passed psychiatric screening broke down when sub­ jected to the pressure of military circumstance*

It has been

common knowledge that, for most Americans, life has become less demanding physically but much more demanding psycho­ logically.

Simultaneous with increased need for emotional

stability in the individual there has been a breakdown of many of the factors that create stability.

Divorced parents

or employed mothers have been rendered less capable of creating secure home life.

God and church have not been the absolutes

they were once considered*

Communities, in many regions, have

become temporary way stations for highly mobile populations.

*1 A H* E. Bullis, Human Relations in the Classroom, Course II, p. 200.

2 War, threat of war, depression and boom have further charged the psychological atmosphere*

That the individual has needed

assistance has been recognized by the public as well as by the schools and professional psychologists*

The heed has

existed in every community, and the public school which is in every community must be prepared to serve. I.


Statement of the problem*

It was the purpose of this

study (1) to determine the problems of ninth grade boys and girls at Firestone Junior High School by a survey of the students themselves as well as by an inquiry among teachers as to what some of those problems might be, (2) to determine some of the factors that might influence the problems, (3) to write a series of sociodramatic scripts that would warm the students up to a program of role-playing and discussion of student problems, (4) to present some auxiliary activities* Importance of the study* The faculty and administra­ tion of Firestone Junior High School have long been aware that helping boys and girls to become better integrated has been a major school responsibility.

Yarious techniques have been

used with varying degrees of observed success.

The Bullis

technique, which is used in Bullisf Human Relations in The Classroom, has been considered to be one of the best available.

By means of this work boys and girls have been given (1) keen insights into the functioning of the human mind, (2) modern vocabulary for the verbalization of those insights/ and (3) many valuable vicarious experiences*

On the other

hand, many of the stories used by Col. Bullis were based on experiences which were too remote from the everyday life of boys and girls. complex.

Many of the students found the vocabulary

Numerous boys and girls have observed that they

would have preferred it if Col. Bullis1 stories had been }

chapters of one long story.

It has been concluded that if

the sociodramatic scripts that follow are to be successful, ^ the situations created must be representative of the problems of the boys and girls who will use them.

The selected prob­

lems would have to be such that the students would want to explore them.

Those who have used Human Relations in The

Classroom have discovered from experience that those who do not wish to discuss problems will not do so.

Coercion and

force have no place in the activities being presented.


less to say, the problems should be such that teachers should ^ be willing to have them explored. teachers.

Students take cues from

Disapproving teachers create shells around students.

The scripts and activities, which follow them, would have to present increased opportunity for each adolescent to learn to ^ understand himself and others, retraining based on improved understanding, and last, but far from least, emotional catharsis

4 II.


Bullis Technique♦ Bullis technique was interpreted as meaning: (1) the reading by the teacher of stories and comments written by Col. Bullis to clarify psychological problems and their backgrounds, (2) supporting examples given by individuals in class, and (3) analysis of the problems through group discussion. Psychodrama.

In the psychodraraa the individual por-.

trays himself in an unrehearsed, scriptless play. Role-playing. Role-playing is a form of the drama in which individuals tfin free expressive fashion play the parts of personalities involved in problem situations.”^ Script Reading.

In script reading the student reads

a part in a play before a group.3 Social Drama.

Social drama was interpreted as a play

which presents a social problem.

Following the presentation

of the play the audience discusses the problem.^

^ A. Katona, ”Social Drama in Education,” Educational Forum» 13:465, May, 1949* 3 Ibid., p. 4 6 6 . ^ Ibid.« pp. 463 -4 6 4 *

5 Sociodrama *

11In sociodrama the actors represent

group rather than individual personalities."5 Sociodramatic Script . A written play which enables the actor to represent groups with problems without placing great demand for spontaneity upon the actor. Spontaneity. Spontaneity was defined by Moreno as the factor that enables individuals "to respond to a new situation or to make a new response to an old situation

5 Ibid., p. 4 6 6 . ^ J. L. Moreno, "Sociometric View of The Community,11 Journal of Educational Sociology. 19:541. May, 1946.


REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE The soeiodrama is one aspect of group psychotherapy. ^ It may be spoken of as a younger brother of psychodrama and a cousin to sociometry.

While psychodrama is predicated

upon the individual representing himself in a play,^ sociodrama is based on a similar idea, the individual represents a typical member of a group in a play.2

Sociometry, !fa

means of presenting simply and graphically the entire struc­ ture of relations existing at a given time among members of 3 a given g r o u p , i s used to determine the effectiveness of the procedure.

Where sociodrama begins and psychodrama ends

is difficult to determine.

Much of -what has been written

about the latter applies to the former.

Since there is little

available material that discusses sociodrama, it has been necessary to make as extensive use of psyehodramatic materials as possible. Dr. Jacob Moreno has been credited with originating

^ J. L. Moreno, "Psychodrama" Review, Theater Arts. 31:9-10, July, 1947, Wertham. 2 A. Katona, "Social Drama in Education," Educational Forum. 13:465, May, 1949* 3 American Council on Education, "The Sociometric Test," Sociometry in Group Relations, p. 11.

7 psychodrama, sociodrama, and sociometry.^

He formulated

the underlying philosophy and he worked out the basic techniques used in the performance, analysis, and evaluation of any sociodrama or program of sociodramas. In writing this project it was considered necessary to present the underlying concepts.

The reasons for this

were twofold: (1) Moreno’s techniques were first applied, in this country, to criminals and delinquents,^ therefore some may question their applicability to normal boys and girls in school situations; (2) the worth of the sociodrama has not been proven statistically.? Group psychotherapy, of which sociodrama is part, made its first recorded appearance in 1906.

J. H. Pratt,

a physician of Boston ^introduced ’mass instruction’ into the treatment of tuberculous patients.

This he gradually

extended into .classes of instruction and encouragement. . . of neurotics.”^

k J. I. Meiers, Origins and Development of Group Psychotherapy. p. 7* ^ Ihid.. pp. 7-3* 5 Ibid*, p. 3. ? Ibid.. p. 21. 8 Ibid., p. ?•

a Moreno began his work in 1909*

One approach he used

was the writing of plays for children and juveniles but/^" soon passed over to the practice of permitting the playing of roles based on the children1s own problems*^ Working with adult social outcasts in Austria and with Tyrolian peasants who had been forcibly relocated to Austria led to his development of sociometry. 10 In 1927, Moreno brought his ideas to the United States* He founded a psychodramatic theater, "and further developed the application of sociometric analysis to psychotherapeutic influence upon various groupings* in situ": (1) Sing Sing and (2) a girls1 reform school.H It is of interest to note that in 1939,

many years

after this work had begun, E* M* Stern^ was able to give the impression that Dr* Samuel B* Hadden, of Philadelphia, was the originator of the group psychotherapeutic approach. Moreno formulated certain concepts that he considered essential to explain the operation of the human mind.


of the most important of these is spontaneity.

9 Loc* cit * Ibid*, p. S. 11 Loc* cit* 12 E. M* Stern, "Ganging Up on Personal Problems," Headers Digest, 152:93-94, May, 194$ •

9 Spontaneity [is the] ability to meet new situa­ tions with adequacy. It is a plastic adaptation skill, a mobility and flexibility of the self, which is indispensable to a rapidly growing organism in a rapidly changing environment.1? This concept is best amplified in J. L. and F. B. MorenoTs Spontaneity Theory of Child Development.

In that

monograph this concept is considered to be in conflict with psychoanalysis•

"Spontaneity and creativity are regarded

as primary and positive phenomena and not as derivatives of libido or any other animal drive. In recent years sociologists and psychologists have been working hard to determine whether human abilities are eugenically or euthenically determined.

Without offering

much in the way of support for their position the Morenos say that spontaneity, or the s factor as it is called, is not interpreted as being either hereditary or environmental. ^ They say that it partakes of each in proportions which have not been determined .15 The contention is that there is a definite process of the development of spontaneity beginning with birth. first step is the warming up process to a new setting.

The The

13 j, L. Moreno, Psvchodrama. Vol. 1, pp. &1 and 93* 1^ J. L* and F. B. Moreno, Spontaneity Theory of Child Development. p* 7* 15 Loc. cit.

10 shock of birth and the post-natal experiences of the infant are presumed to give him a set towards spontaneity# second step is the use of the auxiliary ego.


This auxiliary

ego, most commonly the mother, is of immediate service in taking care of the present wants of the child#

She also

serves through guidance, "warming up to his anxieties, short­ comings, and needs in order to guide him towards a better solution of his problems."^ This road which leads to spontaneity has traffic going , t


in both directions.

During interaction a reciprocal role-


expectancy is built up which lays the ground for all future


role exchange between the infant and his auxiliary ego.^7


The basis for rapport between parent or child or conflict between them is begun early. A tentative picture of the development of the s factor following birth has been worked out.

As has been mentioned,

the shock of being bora sets the stage for the emergence of the s factor.

At first it is weak and inconstant, and for­

tunately for the infant, emerges particularly at critical moments.

16 Ibid.. p. 17 ' L o g . eit.

11 Sometimes, however, it fails to emerge.

The infant

is incapable of coping with problems presented by exposure to the outside world or of keeping his machine operating* Such failure, of course, usually causes the death of the infant*

With the advance of maturation the s factor be­

comes more and more subservient to intelligence and memory* Rather than create new solutions to problems the individual remembers solutions that had been effective previously.


conflict between reality and fantasy, so prevalent among children, is interpreted as a conflict between the s factor and intelligence.

Finally, the intelligence causes the s

factor to submit to social and cultural stereotypes.^ In the individual spontaneity is available in vary­ ing amounts.

When a novel situation occurs the s factor

guides in making the choice of an appropriate thought or action.

Underproduction of spontaneity results in inadequate

solutions to problems.

Overproduction of spontaneity is also

deemed harmful to the individual. . . .the surplus might tempt him to store it, to establish a reservoir, conserving it for future tasks as if it were energy, thus completing a vicious circle which ends in the deterioration of spontaneity and the development of cultural conserves.^

18 Ibid.. pp. 31-38. 19 ibid., pp. 33-39*

12 The characteristic expressions of the s factor are


considered to be: [13 "dramatic quality (newness, freshness, and vivacity), [2] originality, [33 appropriateness, and £^3j creat ivity •ft20 Teachers have long been aware that students with the same intelligence quotients, as determined from the best tests available, vary markedly in their school achievement. Moreno accounts for this by using the spontaneity concept. . • .Individuals are able to improve their behavior and to attain superior performance skill without any significant change in the intelligence quotient. Changes in performance skill will reflect in the resuits of the intelligence testing but not to the degree of the total gain caused by the s factor since the intelligence test is not a sensitive enough instrument to measure the s factor.21

i I

j 1~ I I

From the foregoing paragraph insight might be obtained /

as to the relationship of the s factor to the intelligence quotient. Practical insights into the uses of the drama in school situations are offered by Arthur Katona,22 writing in Educational Forum. He makes the point that there can be no true learning on the part of the student unless he

20 ibid.. p. 40. 21 Ibid.. p. 37* 22 A. Katona, "Social Drama in Education," Educational Forum. 13:462-467, May, 1949.

is in the proper emotional frame of mind.

His second con­

tention is that dramatic techniques in social learning situation promote emotional development and, in addition, they provide the student with vicarious experiences. Mr. Katona discusses "five types of drama in educa­ tion: (1) social drama proper, (2) role-playing, (3) sociodrama, (4) script reading, (5) dramatic This classification is not rigid.

r e c o r d i n g . " 2^

Rather, the types may

overlap, merge or combine .^4 A social drama is a play that presents a social problem.

As soon as the play is over the audience dis­

cusses the problem the actors have presented.

The function

of the play is to warm the audience up for the discussion that is to

f o l l o w .^5

On the basis of his experience with the social drama, Mr. Katona has suggested some rules regarding a social drama program.

(1) Have a script that is short and emotionally

pointed up.

There should be no lecturing or sermonizing.

(2) The cast and director should believe that what they are doing is worth while, and that it is being done in a worth

23 Ibid.., p. 463*

14 while way.

(3) The discussion leader should be one who

has something to contribute himself and can get the audience to contribute also.

(4) Plan the discussion

period Role-playing consists of individuals "in free


expression fashion playCing] the parts of personalities involved in problem situations."^

Parts are not memorized,

and there is no rehearsal.

There may be some coaching ahead

of time by the instructor.

"• . .by actively taking the

role of the other we learn better to understand that other and ourselves in relation to him."23 A variant of this is ,frole-playing for keeps11 which takes the student outside the classroom into actual life situation.29

This fora of the drama was brought to the

public’s attention recently iif^the picture "Gentlemen’s


Agreementtf. Groups and types rather than individuals are repre­ sented in the sociodrama.

The instructor outlines a situa­

tion involving two or more groups.

The students then play L--

26 Ibid. p . 464. 27 Ibid.. pp. 464-465* ibid., p. 465 * 29 Loc. cit.

15 the roles that have been outlined*

Following the play there

is discussion and analysis of the problems by the class In script reading students read a play before the class.

This can be done effectively if the reading simulates

a radio broadcast, and if there bias been careful rehearsal beforehand The last dramatic technique discussed by Mr. Katona is the dramatic recording.

Phonograph records or tran­

scriptions are played to the class and are followed by discussion and analysis.

It is recommended that before

the recording or transcription is played to the class the teacher mentions some points that the students might find worth looking for.

The discussion, which follows the pre­

sentation, is interpreted in the light of these points.32 In his summary Mr. Katona mentions that the social

i drama may be used to "help reduce prejudices, misconceptions; fears, anxieties, antisocial attitudes, and the emotional ' 1 tangles known as complexes ."33

fje wisely points out that

although the social drama can be used effectively and have

30 Ibid.. p. 4 6 6 . 31 Loc. cit. 32 Ibid.. pp. 466 -4 6 7 . 33 Ibid.. p. 4 6 7 *

16 desirable results, it is not a cure all. aid*

Rather, it is an

Drama should serve as a supplement to real life ex­

periences rather than as a substitute for them. 34 The National Education Association^5 has published some material on the sociodrama that will be of value to many classroom teachers.

In addition to presenting the

steps to be followed in using the sociodrama, it presents factors which must be understood and applied if desirable results are to be derived. Sociodrama is defined as the ftliving through of experiences of common concern to the group members.”36 Its purpose is to enable students to broaden the scope" and quality of the inter-communication of group members.37 The sociodramatic activity is based upon the group.

Many A

of the ideas expressed by children during role-playing are such that the mores of our society consider them to be of a personal nature, or are such that young people do not express them before adults.

The youngster who is developing

a theme may be reassured by the fact that others in the

34 hoc, cit. 35 ”Sociodrama as Educative Process,” Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Education Association, pp. 260-2&53^ Ibid., p. 260. 37 Loc. cit.


17 audience feel as he does about the issues at stake*


more, the audience serves as motivation to the actor.


is not merely going through motions or giving a recital by rote.

His "portrayals are aimed to enlighten the other mem­

bers of the group in regard to how they face the same prob­ lems. The youngsters who are doing the acting and those who are in the audience must be given great freedom.

Unless they

are presentations and analyses will be geard ;to the approval of the opinion and will not reflect the students’ true feel­ ings and opinions.

Interaction between group members will

be limited and the quality of analysis will be inferior .39 The main steps of organizing a sociodrama are pre-


sented: (1) members of the class are invited to participate in the activity; (2) the participants warm up to the process; (3) there is free interchange of the feeling and reactions of the group members and the players; (4) the drama is analyzed by group members and players; (5) the drama and discussion are concluded by summarizing the ideas that have been presented and by having the group members make recom­ mendations


1QC* cit.

39 Loc . cit. ^

Ibid., p. 264*

lg The first situations presented to a group must be very simple.

Following the presentation the teacher should

help students explore the problem, break it down into causal factors, and develop ways of meeting it to their satisfaction.^ As in most classroom situations, the problems being explored through sociodrama should proceed from the simple to the complex.

The situations presented to a group should be

graduated in difficulty.^ The period following the presentation of the soeiodrama is of great importance. The discussion and summary following each sociodrama ^ session should be carried through to the point v&iere j the students can see to their own satisfaction that they have identified some factors contributing to the outcomes of the situations portrayed, or have located \ some of the ways of behaving which would expand their I present skills in dealing with the situation under J consideration.43 ^ Most problems may be solved in more than one way. The

teacher should take pains to prevent the student coming

to the conclusion that there is only one way of solving each problem.44 A student may not evince a desire or a willingness

41 Ibid., p. 2 6 5 . 4^ hoc . cit ♦ (43/ibid.. p. 26#. 44 Loc. cit.


19 to participate in the activity.

Such a student should not

be coaxed into participation, otherwise his portrayals will not carry the quality of genuiness. part of the student is not enough.

Mere expression on the There is a need for

expression that reveals what may be hi^ily significant to them in certain situations.45 The effectiveness of the sociodramatic program is determined by means of the sociometric test.




may be described as a means of presenting simply and



graphically the entire structure of relations existing at a given time among members of a given group."46


of attraction and rejection are worked out by "asking the children to choose from among themselves preferred compan­ ions in some school situation that is real to them" and the results are then used to form a sociogram.47

Such a pro­

cedure does not explain motives or other underlying causes for attraction or rejection.

To understand "a particular


classroom society it is necessary to give sociometric tests J at regular intervals.

45 Ibid., p. 269* 46 "The Sociometric Test," Chapter II, Sociometry in Group Relations« American Council on Education, p. 11.


loc. cit.

4& Loc. cit.

20 In administering the sociometric test the teacher must establish rapport with the group being tested.


he must be capable of projecting the idea that the results will be useful to the group*^9

in selecting the test situa­

tion the children must be offered opportunities to make meaningHil choices, such as choosing companions for sitting together in class or for working together on committees.5° The following steps are prescribed for administering the test: [1} include the motivating elements in the introductory remarks; [2] word the question so that children under­ stand how the results are to be used; [33 present the test situation with interest and some enthusiasm; [43 emphasize fanyf boy or girl so as to approve in advance any direction the choice may take; [53 present the test situation with interest and some enthusiasm; [63 say how soon the arrangements based on the test can be made; [73 keep the procedure as casual as possible.51 The results of the test should be kept secret.


who have been chosen by few or rejected by many need the teacher's aid.



F R I E N D S . ”52

Ibid., p. 11.

50 Ibid., pp. 12-13. Ibid., p. 16. 52 }j. Edmund Bullis and Emily E. O'Malley, Human Relations in The Classroom, p. 46*

CHAPTER III PROCEDURE Four groups of boys and girls attending summer session


at Firestone Junior High School gave the information which became the primary basis for the scripts which follow.


were informed that a series of plays was being written about boys and girls at Firestone Junior High School.

The plays

would be based on the answers given to questions which would