Puppets and Pedagogy in Foreign Language Education: The Use of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy to Model Hispanic Puppet Theatre as an Integrated Learning Platform

Habib Zanzana, Department of World Languages and Cultures, University of Scranton, U.S.A.

Email: el-habib.zanzana@scranton.edu

Abstract:

This essay explores the unique characteristics of puppet theatre and stage performance in foreign language education using an innovative modeling approach. The study focuses on the learning mechanisms of puppet theatre as demonstrated by an interdisciplinary model that incorporates both Portfolio Analysis as well as Benjamin Bloom's Revised Taxonomy in cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains. The paper uses an original Spanish language play written for the Hispanic Puppet Project, which is a community-oriented and interactive puppet theatre, comprised of college-aged students and children from the community. This article examines students' learning objectives, hands-on tasks, learning outcomes and performative teaching and learning from the staging of a Spanish language play tilted, " Moctezuma y los cinco soles poderosos. La resurrección del imperio azteca ." I have created a website with ancillary materials that can be accessed at the following address: https://www.hispanicpuppetsproject.com

The site contains 1) a brief overview of the article; 2) a two-page synopsis of the legend of Moctezuma and the Five Mighty Suns; 3) an annotated legend written in Spanish and in verse and rhyme; 4) a practical guide for stage directions; 5) a video of a teaching assistant reading the refrain for the children in the puppet play.

Key Words : Language education, puppet theatre, the performing arts, communicative approaches to language teaching, pedagogy, Hispanic language and cultures, and theatre and drama.

1.0 Introduction

The staging of a puppet legend in the foreign language classroom offers a unique opportunity for students to explore aspects of language, culture, and world history in context. This paper provides a novel, interdisciplinary analytical framework to model the use of a puppet play in the teaching of the Spanish language and Mexican culture in secondary language education and at university. The layered model described in this study uses Benjamin Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and Portfolio Analysis to argue that the multidimensional characteristics of puppet theatre contributes to the development of skills in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains in foreign language education and culture acquisition.

In Storytelling and the Art of Teaching, Martin Pedersen argues that “through a story, listeners experience a vicarious feeling for the past and an oneness with various cultures of the present as they gain insights into the motives and patterns of human behavior. However, many storytellers feel that cognitive enrichment is not the primary aim of their art. Stories have numerous affective benefits for social and emotional development” (4).

The first part of the article presents a brief overview of puppet traditions on the international stage and discusses innovative contemporary puppet practices in various artistic venues. It also explains the importance of puppet theatre and education in Mexico using the example of the puppet theatre group called Bochinche. The second part of the analysis examines the pedagogical development of the Hispanic puppet project described in this study. The third section applies Bloom's Revised Taxonomy to the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project to classify the developmental skills by domain and rate each skill for importance and achievement levels. The fourth section provides an assessment of the results of this study and argues that Hispanic puppet theatre provides a comprehensive learning platform wherein Bloom’s three learning domains are fully utilized.

2.0 Puppets Traditions and Innovative Practices

In Japan, Bunraku puppet theatre, a sophisticated puppetry art form, uses one-half to full life-size puppets that are manipulated by puppeteers who appear on stage in full view of the audience. Dramatic effect is the result of a process of synchronization between three key elements of the drama: the puppets, the shamisen (the player who provides the musical punctuation for the drama) and the chanter who is the voice of all the puppets (women, children and men). In Taiwan, there exists a long tradition of using glove puppetry (budaixi) to stage elaborate performances in theatres and at temple fairs. These shows highlight and dramatize important elements of traditional and modern Taiwanese culture that include regional dialects, folk music, carving, color painting and embroidery. Trukitrek espectales, a Brazilian-Catalan puppet company created in 1998, has written and produced shows such as Unforgettable (2005) in three dimensions with puppets, actors and cartoons (created in collaboration with Italian illustrator Raffaella Brusaglino) appearing on the same stage in a musical comedy. The lyrics of the songs, the cartoons, and the project inter-titles combine to form the script of the comedy and the “voices” that bring the story of a family to life on a stage.

In the last three decades, complex and dazzling productions animated by human characters and puppets have been acclaimed on Broadway and internationally. Many of these productions have been long-running and critically acclaimed hits. For instance, some highly complex productions, which won a Tony Award, are The Lion King; Avenue Q (noted for its irreverent and hilarious ensemble), and Warhorse (praised for the tremendous intelligence and mechanical force of its puppet characters). Another Tony Award was won in 2011 by Handspring Puppet Company, a group of artists, designers, technicians and performers based in Cape Town, South Africa, whose work focuses on children and adult puppet theatre for the African stage. Theatrical companies around the world have challenged established drama conventions by presenting on the same stage a cast of human actors and life-size puppets. These puppets or “uncanny” creatures, to borrow a term articulated by Kenneth Gross, are full–fledged characters who speak, sing, dance and engage the public through jest, conflict and soaring emotions.

In 2011, Canadian-born director Robert Lepage, staged, with eye-catching ingenuity, a production of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Nightingale” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Inspired by the one thousand-year old art of Vietnamese water puppetry, Lepage’s production featured opera singers delivering arias and operating puppet versions of the characters they were playing, while immersed in twelve thousand gallons of water (Tommasini). Theatre critic Frank Porschan notes that part of the appeal of puppets is their close affinity with the way people live and interact in society. He states that “among traditional art forms, puppetry is especially capable of showing social life as a whole. As a multi-channeled communicative event, a puppetry performance can present an artist’s perception of everything from kinesics to caste, from linguistics to laughter” (3).

2.2 Puppet Theatre to Amuse and Educate the Child in Mexico

The Hispanic puppet theatre has a long and rich history that dates back to the Spanish Conquest. Theatre historian Paul McPharlin explains that "in conformity with the practice of the period, Hernán Cortés had a puppeteer among his servants when he set out on 12 October 1524 from Tenochtitlán, which is now Mexico City. He took along with him, according to Bernal Díaz del Castillo, (Historia de la conquista de México, XIV, 174) the diarist of the expedition, “five players on the oboe, sackbut, and dulcimer, an acrobat, and another who did sleight-of-the hand and worked puppets” (6). Interest in puppetry and in performance grew steadily in the subsequent centuries in places such as Mexico City and Puebla where Spanish-born entertainers performed individually or in professional ensembles.

Today, puppet theatre in Mexico is a thriving artistic and cultural phenomenon. Renowned companies such as Marionetas de la esquina have been performing shows in Spanish and English since 1975 and attracting large audiences of children and adults. In 2009, the group Bochinche presented Los sueños de Paco in Mexico City, a play in which a full-size puppet, manipulated by two actors, incarnates a ten-year-old boy named Paco who struggles with his parents’ separation and subsequent divorce. Written and directed by Carlos Corona, the story describes how Paco, a shy and introverted child, finds escape in a busy and exciting world of dreams. Timothy G. Compton describes the story in the following terms, “as his parents fought in the front seat of their car during a trip, [Paco] fell asleep and dreamed that he was Captain Apollo 5 Estrellas of a spaceship on an important intergalactic mission meant to save a princess (played by his mother) and the galaxy from his arch-enemy, K-LamarNegro (played by his father)” (136). Humor and improvisation abound in Los sueños de Paco and serve to amuse and educate the child emotionally about real-life conflicts such as family breakdown, relationships, and the power of imagination and the arts to achieve self-realization.

3.0 Pedagogic Development of the Hispanic Puppet Project

One of the main goals of the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project described in this article is to encourage students taking Spanish at the college level, whether beginners, intermediate or advanced, to participate in a theatrical production that combines the use of the Spanish language in context with the discovery of aspects of Mexican culture and history. The author of this article is also the author of the legend that the students used to stage a Hispanic puppet show about the first encounter between Europeans and the Indigenous peoples of Mexico.

3.1 The Learning Objectives of the Hispanic Puppet Project

The legend of Moctezuma developed in this essay brings a Mexican narrative of the past into sharp focus. Equally important, it offers the students of Spanish a link to the language they have been studying and shows them how the target or their heritage language can function as an instrument of communication, action, power and influence. Participating in a puppet legend expands the students’ understanding of the story and calls their attention to the fact that language study connects with and supports other fields of inquiry such as history, geography, politics, mathematics, religion, and the performing arts. It propels the students forward and into the world as a stage and enables them to establish connections with others and with critical thoughts in and outside their respective disciplines. The ACTFL National Standards for communication, communities, comparisons, cultures and connections coalesce in the development of the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project as students learn to reflect on complex human experiences in Spanish and to perform a drama that serves to inform and to entertain the community.

3.1.1 Puppets and the Acquisition of Literacy Skills

As the story unfolds and the characters speak and move into action, the students reading the legend begin to note that words can have literal and figurative meanings and that some characters may find themselves confused, amused, tricked or even betrayed by the words they utter in a given situation. Most important, students discover that activities related to reading, listening, understanding, and speaking Spanish with puppets as the main protagonists require that they become fully engaged with the language and culture of Mexico, its peoples, and legendary past. Judy A. Leavell and Nancy Ramos-Machail assert that legends in the foreign language classroom appeal to the students for their high emotional contents. When puppets speak, students become less fearful of making mistakes and more willing to engage in a conversation using the target language. The authors also assert that “puppets help students overcome inhibitions about speaking aloud in the classroom. This allows shy, quiet, or second-language learners the opportunity to further their oral language skills, which is an important foundation for literacy skills" (257).

3.1.2 The Development of Critical Thinking Skills on Mexican Culture and History

Several activities of the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project discussed in this essay encourage the students to develop problem solving skills and critical insights into the interpretation of historical events and characters. For example, participants must discuss how best to portray Moctezuma, the Aztec emperor, on stage, both physically and psychologically. Do they see him as a ruthless leader or as a shrewd but deeply conflicted man who precipitated the fall of the Aztec empire? To that end, students complete a short research assignment to draw a profile of the main historical figures that appear in the story (Moctezuma, Hernán Cortés, doña Marina,) and to explore historical facts and myths on the construction and destruction of the Aztec empire. For instance, two students compared and contrasted various artistic portraits of Moctezuma and composed a summary of his most salient physical and heroic characteristics. Another group investigated how doña Marina’s knowledge and intellect helped propel her into the roles of translator, interpreter and negotiator. The goal of each assignment was to help the students to explore important historical facts pertaining to the Conquest of Mexico and to become acquainted with some of the main historical figures and their motivations. In the process, students began to understand that they were representing and performing multidimensional characters endowed with strengths and values, contradictions and flaws.

3.1.3 The Construction of Puppets and Traditional Mexican Costumes

One of the exciting and constantly evolving features of the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project is the creation of the puppets with the accompanying costumes and props. Student volunteers signed up to help construct, paint, dress, and decorate the puppets. Others chose to apply their talents to the building of props such as the half-sun, a constellation of clouds, the Aztec calendar, and Cortés’s silver armor and majestic horse. Small teams (3-4 students) worked on larger props that required handling, measuring, and cutting of the cardboard paper used to build two life-size jaguars in flight, and to draw a prototype of the ancient, mythic city of Aztlán. The fact that students used their hands to handle basic materials such as foam, fabric, wood, color and paint added an organic and professional dimension to the puppet project, which benefitted, in the end, from all levels of skills, experience, concept design, and manual dexterity.

These puppets can also be integrated into the Spanish language classroom to enhance communication in the target language through role-playing and dramatization. Elena Curtain and Carol Ann Dahlberg describe puppets as ideal companions for drawing out the shiest or least talkative members of the foreign language classroom. The colorful presence of the puppet creates a friendly atmosphere that facilitates oral communication with and among students, and positions the puppet as “the second fluent speaker in a conversational exchange, modeling the kind of reaction that the students can someday hope to achieve. A puppet is an ideal foil for many mini-dramas that help to create a meaningful classroom context” (358).

3.1.4 Cooperative Learning and Instructional Productivity

The Hispanic Puppet Learning Project fosters an educational environment in which students work collaboratively and creatively on a legend using Spanish to communicate their ideas and actions. Student actors were grouped in small teams with a leader (or a stage director) who helped them study and rehearse their roles, handle the puppets, deliver their lines, and activate a prop or give a cue. They also received a document titled, “Stage Blocking,” which was a practical, scene-by-scene guide to the various components of stage performance. Students began working cooperatively as soon as the script was distributed. The actors with advanced or superior Spanish skills quickly became mentors and assisted other performers with dramatic diction, stage movement, manipulating the puppets, and with understanding how their roles fit within the larger story. In a book-length study on the methods and benefits of cooperative learning, Steven McCafertty, George Jacobs and Christina DaSilva-Iddings argue that “cooperative learning as found in narrative chapters produced authentic circumstances for interaction, for example, when students work together to decide what to do in order to accomplish a task. Such student-oriented conditions permit student choice, promote unpredictability, and allow for the possibility of an equitable distribution of duties and talk as a natural outcome of cooperative interaction. These are all features that are thought to have a positive impact on language learning" (178-79).

3.1.5 Puppets and Cross-Cultural Understanding in Language Learning

The Hispanic Puppet Learning Project aims to foster in students an appreciation of Mexican history and civilization and the ability to make cross-cultural comparisons with their native culture. The capacity to project oneself into a remote past and to speak and interpret the words of a character with a radically different conception of the world and value system draws the students closer to their own identity, their feelings, values, and helps shed a light on how they build connections with others. Moreover, the journey into Mexican history through puppet theatre enables participants to reflect upon their own cultural background and belief systems and to mark their words, literally and metaphorically, as individual members of society and as informed and respectful citizens of the world. Alice Omaggio-Hadley argues that “significant cross-cultural understanding can begin to happen only when students become aware that their own view of the world is culturally bound, and that the viewpoint of those of another culture cannot be fully understood until one begins to appreciate the different cultural frameworks through which they perceive the world” (383).

3.1.6 Educational Opportunity for Children to Practice Language Skills through Dramatization

One scene in the legend is performed almost entirely by a group of children. They speak a refrain in Spanish and enact on stage the odd behavior of a young Aztec god. The learning goals for the children were simple but important: representing the young Aztec god on stage, speaking lines in Spanish, manipulating puppets, performing basic Aztec dance steps, and conveying the spirit and nature of a mythical character from a distant time and cultural background.

The puppet project enlisted the participation of ten children, ages seven-to-twelve, for a period of three weeks. The rehearsals for children took place separately from those of university students, and focused on teaching the group basic stage movement under the guidance of a student prompter. The children were also taught a refrain that contained the following words, “ tejo una corona de plumas y fuego porque mi hijo es medio sol y no sol completo ,” ( I weave a crown of feathers and fire because my son is a half-sun and not a full-sun ). A two-minute video of a heritage speaker from Argentina was produced and enhanced with a display of the words at the bottom of the screen. It was then emailed to the parents to help assist the children with reading and speaking their lines. The short video clip proved useful and time efficient. After a week, the children arrived at the second rehearsal knowing their lines and ready to step into their roles. They had watched the video at home with their parents and memorized its contents with no apparent difficulty. This activity presented a wonderful opportunity to involve parents and children and to engage the entire family in a meaningful learning activity. At the second rehearsal, the children were taught an Aztec dance which consisted of rhythmic steps to accompany the delivery of the refrain.

3.1.7 Cultural Engagement and Enhanced Community Life through the Hispanic Puppet Project

One of the guiding objectives of the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project is the development of an understanding of Hispanic culture and history and the Conquest of Mexico. The students working collaboratively know that they are creating an artistic product for their peers and the community at large. This puppet project requires commitment, initiative and responsibility on their part. Their use of Spanish and of Nahuatl, in a key scene, demonstrates that the students are conveying meaning through vocabulary, linguistic functions, and grammatical structures. Additionally, given that puppet shows fascinate children and appeal to family members of all ages, the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project helps to build ties with the community and get kids excited about learning and speaking Spanish. To that end, the puppet play is staged entirely in Spanish for an audience of students, children and the public. However, at the beginning of the show and before each act, a narrator gives the audience a brief synopsis in English of the main characters and events about to unravel before their eyes.

4.0 The Organizational Structure and Development of the Hispanic Puppet Project

The following section describes how the puppet project was organized and developed to encourage students of Spanish, as well as school-aged children, to take part in a performative learning event that promotes communication, cross-cultural engagement, and community building.

4.1 Group Profiles and Organizational Development

Table 1. Group Profiles

Category of Learner

Incoming Knowledge and Skills

Motivational Profile

Students who are heritage Spanish speakers (3)

Near-native level speaking and advanced writing abilities in Spanish.

Though there is some range of proficiency, in general, they possessed superior skills and provided guidance and instruction to other students.

University language students (20)

First through third-year Spanish language students, included.

Possessed a wide range of skill levels and confidence from novice to advanced level.

Children actor participants (8)

Little to no background in Spanish. Strong interest in participating in a Spanish-speaking show was evident.

Some of the children had participated in group and stage events in the past, increasing their confidence as performers.

Non-university Community (5)

Most important were management and crafts experience.

These adults were largely confident and motivated to support a large group learning experience.

Audience

(100)

Most of the audience had some familiarity with the Spanish language. About 1/3 of the audience was composed of students of Spanish and members of the Hispanic communities from the area.

Puppet shows tend to draw families with children. Students invited their families and friends to watch their performance.

4.2 Generating Interest and Motivating Students to participate in the Puppet play

The puppet project involved several groups working cooperatively toward a unified goal. The focus was learning aspects of Hispanic culture through the study and performance of a Spanish-language puppet play. The first meeting with the university students served to introduce the storyline, characters, and to provide the historical background of the legend. Several student actors played some of the main roles. The idea was to highlight the talents of the large number of students who had signed up for the show and to ensure that the work was divided fairly among all the participants. The students with demonstrated technical skills contributed to the show by helping to build puppets, paint scenery, construct props, design costumes, and create posters to advertise the puppet show.

At the second rehearsal, the students received the final script, an original, annotated text, written in Spanish, in verse and with a rhyme scheme, titled, "La Leyenda de Moctezuma y los cinco soles poderosos: La resurrección del imperio azteca," ( The Legend of Moctezuma and the Five Mighty Suns:The Resurrection of the Aztec Empire ). In an effort to facilitate the reading of the legend and to enhance vocabulary building, the text is annotated in Spanish in a simple and helpful manner: Basic and complex words or expressions are glossed, preferably on the same line, to help produce a fluid and pleasant reading experience. Table 1 above describes the characteristics of each group profile.

5.0 Methodology and Model Development

A dual-layered modeling approach is used in the construction of the Analytical Learning Model, which is based on Bloom's Revised Taxonomy combined with portfolio modeling (categorization) to enable a structured analysis of a learning platform identified in this paper as the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project.

5.1 Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy is the key component of the Analytical Learning Model applied to the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project. Bloom originally detailed two domains of learning which can be understood as two distinct categories. The first, the cognitive domain, addresses mental and intellectual skills and knowledge. Bloom further explains that the cognitive domain “includes those objectives which deal with the recall or recognition of knowledge and the development of intellectual abilities and skills”. The second, the affective domain "includes objectives which describe changes in interest, attitudes, values, and the development of appreciations and adequate adjustment" (7). A third domain of learning, the psychomotor, was more thoroughly developed in 2001 by Lorin Anderson, a cognitive psychologist and disciple of Bloom. It concerns physical movements, coordination, and motor skill functions. (Anderson 2001:308). The diagram below describes Bloom's Revised Taxonomy.

Bloom's revised taxonomy

5.3 Portfolio Modeling

Above Bloom's Revised Taxonomy rests another level of modeling, the Portfolio Model, which enables us to categorize criteria-based assessments guided by the Portfolio Modeling Criteria. Each of these learning objectives (and related activities) are, in turn, described using a Portfolio approach (High, Medium, Low, and None levels of categorization) for two dimensions: (1) Importance - of the learning objectives for enhancing students' skills and involvement with significant aspects of Mexican history and culture and their outcomes. A numeric value provides a weighting of the relative importance of the task between 0 (none) and 3 (high). (2) Achieved - the degree to which the students fulfilled the objectives in an observable measure by successfully participating in a three-act puppet play in Spanish in front of a live audience. The numeric value assessed identifies the degree of achievement of the task performed by the group between 0 (none) and 3 (high). (3) Impact - a calculated variable (importance achieved) is the weighted achievement needed to compare tasks and domains.

5. 4. Analytical Learning Model (ALM):

Table 2 below describes the variables used in the model.

Table 2. Analytical Learning Model Variables and Calculations

Variable

Description

Assessed or Calculated Measure

Range or Values

Importance

Importance of the activity to the objective of the learning platform. This is part of the planning activity in Bloom's Revised Taxonomy.

Criteria-based assessment based on the experience of the activities within the program categorized into four possible discrete values.

0 (none), 1 (low), 2 (medium), 3 (high). Note that average values are not discrete.

Achieved

Level of actual achievement by the students. This is part of the assessment activity (Bloom's Revised Taxonomy).

Criteria-based assessment of the students' actual performance in each activity categorized into four possible discrete values.

0 (none), 1 (low), 2 (medium), 3 (high). Note that average values are not discrete.

Impact

Calculated level of actual impact the activity has on learning. Calculated from Import and Achieved.

Calculated as one of ten possible discrete values.

Impact = Import * Achieved. Note that average values are not discrete.

Maximum Impact

The level of impact that the activity could have if the level of achievement were 3.0 (high). Calculated from Achieved.

Calculated as one of ten possible discrete values.

0 (none) to

3.0 * Achieved (highest possible to attain for this application)

Actual Performance

Actual performance, which is the Calculated Impact divided by the Calculated Maximum Impact.

Calculated as a percent (normalized).

0 (none) to 1.0 (100 %)

Table 3. Portfolio Assessment Criteria

Table 3 outlines the criteria for the assessment of the variables Importance and Achieved.

Criteria Level

criteria to Achieve

High - H(3)

Excellent to superior level of execution (Achieved) or significance (Importance)

Medium - M(2)

Moderate to partial level of execution or importance

Low - L(1)

Minimum to inferior level of execution or importance

None - 0

Negligible to no execution and no level of importance

6.0 Application of the Analytical Learning Model to the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project

The flowchart below provides a visual description of the structured approach developed in this analysis. Three basic components of the study include (1) the formation of the Analytical Learning Model based on Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, (2) followed by the criteria-based rating of the three domains. The study concludes with the (3) Summary of Results.

Figure 2. The Methodology for the Development of the Analytical Learning Platform

6.1 Assessment of Cognitive Domain

The following section explains the criteria-based rating of Bloom's Cognitive Domain based on the elements outlined in Table 3 above. Table 4 titled, "Assessment of Cognitive Domain," is based on Bloom's Revised Taxonomy and provides an assessment in the following six categories: Creating, Evaluating, Analyzing, Applying, Understanding, and Remembering. Within each of these categories, tasks are grouped and assessed in terms of both importance to the domain, and group performance. Subsequently, a final score for impact is calculated and will be used to compare three domains with each other in the form of a bubble chart. Tables 4, 5, and 6 contain the actual data arising from applying the model to The Hispanic Puppet Learning Project.

Table 4. Assessment of Cognitive Domain

Category/ Level

Description

Hispanic Puppet Project Activities

Category

Importance

Rating:

H(3);M(2);L(1), None(0)

Objective/ Task Achieved

Rating:

H(3);M(2);L(1), None(0)

Overall Impact

Score: 0-9

Max 9;Min 0

1 Creating

Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements.

Designing, constructing, and planning.

1.1 Students designed and built the puppets.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Puppets are outfitted according to the historical period.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

7 main puppets were built.

Highest (9)

1.2 Students fabricated costumes and fit the puppets.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

The puppets were an extension of the roles the students were playing.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

All the puppets were clothed to represent their characters.

Highest (9)

1.3 Students constructed the accessories worn by puppets.

Assess: L(1)

Indicators:

Accessories relatively minor compared to costumes and puppets.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students fabricated authentic necklaces for doña Marina.

(3)

1.4 Small and large size props were constructed and painted.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Props were central to the meaning and execution of the drama.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

The jaguars and Aztec calendar were artistically designed.

(6)

1.5 Drawing a psychological profile of the main protagonists.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Emphasis was on the characters' actions and decisions.

Assess: L(1)

Indicators:

Students dramatized the historical events.

(2)

1.6 Interpret historical facts about the conquest of Mexico in the context of the puppet play.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students contributed insights into the resolution of conflict at the end of the play.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

The act of debating historical events in the context of today's social mores shows sophistication.

(9)

2 Evaluating

Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials.

Checking, hypothesizing, and critiquing.

2.1 Small group discussion and evaluation of historical events on the conquest of Mexico.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Students met to discuss how their roles and characters fit within the larger story.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students demonstrated an understanding of historical facts.

(6)

2.2 Choosing clothes and accessories that reflected a character's status, title, gender, and role.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Costume is central to the identity of the puppets. Each puppet represents a specific character.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students dressed the puppets according to the proper social hierarchy.

(9)

3 Analyzing

Separates material or concepts into component parts to understand structure.

Comparing, organizing, and attributing.

3.1 Short research assignments on the main historical figures in the legend.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Research provided the needed background to the legend.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators

Students researched and analyzed information on Moctezuma, Cortés, doña Marina e, and the Conquest of Mexico.

(4)

4 Applying

Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction..

Implementing, carrying out, using, executing, playing, and operating.

4.1 Performing the puppet roles on stage.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Participants used words to convey meaning, actions and intentions.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students staged the play using Spanish from beginning to end of the show.

(9)

4.2 Manipulation of props and position of actors on stage.

Assess: H(2)

Indicators:

Simple stage movements were required.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Some students were not always on cue.

(4)

4.3 Narrator’s introduction of scenes during the play.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

The narration in English preceded each act.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

A Spanish-language drama was performed by students in front of an English speaking audience.

(9)

5 Understanding

Comprehending the meaning, translation, and interpretation of instructions and problems.

Interpreting, summarizing, and inferring.

5.1 During rehearsal, the children learned the meaning of the Spanish refrain.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

The children spoke and mimicked on stage the odd behavior of a young Aztec god.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

The children were exposed to the Spanish language and aspects of Aztec culture.

(9)

5.2 Give the children a crown made of feathers. Explain how the Aztec people used weaving to make a headdress.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Costume and crafts promote an understanding of the Aztec culture and traditions.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Children wore an Aztec tunic and a feather headband and manipulated props.

(6)

6 Remembering

Recall previous learned information.

Recognizing, listing and describing.

6.1 Children performers memorized the refrain spoken by the mother of a young Aztec god.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

All of the children actors viewed a video file of the refrain read in Spanish by a heritage speaker.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

They performed the scene successfully in front of the public.

(9)

6.2 Some student performers read while others memorized their individual Spanish language

acting lines.

Assess: H (3)

Indicators :

This moment precedes the final performance. It is the culmination of a large and sustained effort to stage a puppet play in Spanish.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators

Nearly all of the student actors took part in the final performance.

(9)

Cognitive Learning Domain Measures (Average)

Importance: 2.56

chieved: 2.69

Impact:

6.89

6.2 Affective Domain

This section below presents the criteria-base rating of Bloom's Affective Domain as outlined in Table 3 above. There are five categories described in the table. They include, Receiving phenomena, Responding to phenomena, Valuing, Organization, and Internalizing Values. Similar to the cognitive domain, assessments are made for importance and final group performance. The product of these two measures is calculated to provide a computed result of overall impact.

Table 5. Assessment of Affective Domain

Category/ Level

Description

Hispanic Puppet Project

Activities

Category

Importance

Rating>

H(3); M(2); L(1); None(0)

Objective/ Task Achieved

Rating

H(3); M(2); L(1); None(0)

Overall Impact

Rating

Max 9

Min 0

1 Receiving Phenomena :

Awareness, willingness to hear, selected attention.

Asks, chooses and describes.

1.1 students chose the role they wanted to play.

Assess: H (3)

Indicators:

The production required focus and concentration.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

All roles were filled within the first two weeks.

(9)

1.2 Students received and followed stage and acting directions.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

This is important to the success of the show. By acting and following directions, students chose order and discipline in organization and performance.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Two student prompters guided the children actors during rehearsals and the final performance.

(6)

1.3 Students' delivery of the lines in Spanish were monitored and corrected as needed.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Although error-free pronunciation was secondary, it was still important that the students be understood.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Students took on and enjoyed the challenge of performing in Spanish.

(6)

1.4 Students attended rehearsals and listened to fellow performers with respect.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Staging a puppet play requires flexibility and personal commitment.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Ninety percent of the students attended all rehearsals.

(9)

1.5 Participants paid attention to others playing their respective roles and acknowledged their contribution.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

This project encouraged students to work collaboratively.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Actors played their role (s) well and observed their peers acting with encouragement.

(9)

2 Responding to Phenomena :

Active participation on the part of the learners.

Answers, assists, aids, and complies.

2.1 Participants followed the guidelines on how to manipulate stick puppets, which represented main historical characters.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

All students participated actively by performing, assisting, and answering requests.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Students showed excitement about Spanish, the theatre and puppets.

(6)

2.2 Students received instructions and followed directions on how to deliver their lines and move their puppets.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Actors learned how to speak on stage and handle puppets.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

The transition between scenes lagged slightly at times as some actors exited the stage and/or entered with puppets and props.

(6)

2.3 Students engaged in problem-solving discussions to determine how to best portray their character on stage.

Assess: L(1)

Indicators:

Students provided insights on how to stage the fall of the Aztec civilization.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Some students recommended a happy ending. Others argued for a bloody battle in keeping with historical truth.

(2)

3 Valuing:

The worth or

value a person

attaches to a

particular object, phenomenon,

or behavior.

Completes, demonstrates, and

Differentiates.

3.1 Students read about and

developed an appreciation of Mexican history and civilization.

Assess: H(3)

Indicator s:

In their dramatization of the tale, students displayed respect and knowledge of the values discussed on stage.

Assess: (M) 2

Most students understood the legend of Moctezuma in the course of developing the puppet project.

(6)

3.2 Students shared and compared some the values of Mexican history with their own.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

This moment provides an opportunity for a critical evaluation of past events, and cross-cultural dialogue.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Students agree that the puppet play should suggest, but not depict violence on stage. As the story closes, Lake Texcoco changes color from shimmering blue to dark red, signaling bloodshed.

(6)

4 Organization :

Organize values into priorities by contrasting different values and resolving conflicts between them.

Arranges, compares, and completes.

4.1 Students recognized the importance of attending rehearsals and preparing their roles.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Students discussed Moctezuma's value system, and that of Hernán Cortés.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Participants compared Moctezuma's uninhibited welcoming to Cortés's crafty plotting.

(4)

4.2 Advanced or highly skilled language students explained the events to beginning Spanish students.

Assess: H (3)

Indicators:

The show emphasized collaborative work. Students could count on their partners to stay on task.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Students discussed and compared their respective roles.

(6)

4.3 Students accepted responsibility for individual roles, scene construction, puppet building, props, and performance.

Assess: H (3)

Indicators:

Students understood that the play required structure and working closely with others.

Assess: H (3)

Indicators:

Participants learned their roles, attended rehearsals, and constructed puppets, costumes and props.

(9)

5 Internalizing values:

(Characterization) Has a value system that controls their behavior.

Acts, displays, listens, and performs.

5.1 Students worked cooperatively in teams on assigned tasks. They displayed self-reliance and a strong sense of leadership.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Some students volunteered to coach others with diction and stage movement.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students demonstrated reliability. They understood that their participation was a critical factor.

(9)

5.2 Students adjusted their acting performance after comments from the director and peers.

Assess: M (2)

Indicators:

Participants listened to and executed lines in Spanish with the proper dramatic emphasis.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Most, but not all students were able to articulate their lines clearly and with the proper inflection.

(4)

5.3 Students demonstrated that they valued the suggestions from director and peers.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students received guidance and executed complex tasks.

Assess: (2)

Indicators:

The final performance was staged successfully.

(6)

5.4 Students recognized the value of the performance as a community-building activity. It was a way to highlight cultural diversity and "give back" to the community.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students understood that the performance helps to build ties with the community. They also cared about the Spanish language, the story, and the audience.

Assess: (2)

Indicators:

Many of the students worked in pairs or groups constructing costumes, props, and stage as well as selecting outfits for their puppets.

(6)

Affective Learning Domain Measures (Average)

2.76

2.29

6.41

6.3 Psychomotor Domain

This section features the criteria-based rating of Bloom's Psychomotor Domain as outlined in Table 3 above. Table 6 below summarizes aspects concerning physical movements, coordination and motor skill functions across the Affective Domain. This domain contains seven categories that read as follows: Perception, Set, Guided Response, Mechanisms, Complex Overt Response, Adaptation, and Origination. In this third domain, tasks are assessed in achievement and actual group performance. A final computed score for impact is calculated from the product of the two previous assessments.

Table 6. Assessment of Psychomotor Domain (Manual, Spatial or Physical Skills)

Category/ Level

Description

Hispanic Puppet Project Activities

Category

Importance

Rating

H(3),M(2),L(1), None (0)

Objective/Task Achieved

Rating

H(3),M(2),L(1), None (0)

Overall Impact

Rating

Max 9

Min 0

1 Perception

The ability to use sensory cues to guide motor activity.

Chooses, detects and describes.

1.1 Students staged an Aztec legend using Spanish. They became aware of meaningful language use and physical expression.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

The production relied on actors and stage assistants responding to cues, with the split second timing expected in a theatre show.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

For the most part, actors performed on cue.

(6)

2 Set

Readiness to act. It includes mental, physical, and emotional sets.

Begins, displays, explains and moves.

2.1 Participation in the program was voluntary. Once the students committed themselves, task schedules were outlined and followed.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Signing up for the puppet project demonstrated an interest in the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Many students signed up and completed the production.

(9)

3 Guided Response

The early stages in learning a complex skill that includes imitation and trial and error.

Copies, traces, and follows.

3.1 A set of aids (video, student assistants, and stage blocking) helped to coach students.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Students learned to work collaboratively and to make mistakes and correct them in an atmosphere of support and collegiality.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Students demonstrated a readiness to learn and to follow instructions.

(6)

4 Mechanism

This is the intermediate stage in learning a complex skill.

Assembles, constructs, and displays.

4.1 Tasks included manipulating puppets and props, engaging in a stage chase and fight, and performing a group dance.

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

This phase of learning is critical because student actors display the ability to combine and organize oral skills (cognitive domain).

Assess: H(3)

Indicators:

Effective combination of speech and action on stage.

(9)

5 Complex Overt Response

The skillful performance of motor acts that involve complex movement patterns.

NOTE. The key words are the same as Mechanism with adjectives that describe the performance as quicker or better.

5.1 Students performed their lines and used their stick puppets to demonstrate dramatic action.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

At this level of learning, the importance of skillful performance starts to diminish. The focus is on ensuring the success of the group.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

Proficiency was limited to the ability to move physical objects and props.

(4)

6 Adaptation

Skills are developed and the individual can modify movement patterns to fit special requirements.

Adapts, alters, and changes.

6.1 Some of the larger puppets were tricky to maneuver. For instance, the Hummingbird God was made of thick styrofoam and heavy materials that required two skillful puppeteers to keep it upright.

Assess: L(1)

Indicators:

With notable exceptions, most actors only followed simple stage directions.

Assess: M(1)

Indicators:

Consistent following of directions.

(1)

7 Origination

Creating new movement patterns to fit a particular situation or problem.

Arranges, builds, and combines.

7.1 Activities included puppet construction, program design, and original artwork to accompany the posters.

Assess: L(1)

Indicators:

Most students executed basic stage movements. Four actors created new patterns by wearing masks and staging a battle.

Assess: M(2)

Indicators:

An example of this level of achievement includes the puppet representing Hernán Cortés, which was constructed entirely of recycled materials.

(2)

Psychomotor Learning Domain Measures (Average)

2.29

2.14

5.29

7.0 Data Summary and Interpretation of Results from the Three Learning Domains

The summary of the data of the three domains appears in Figure 3 in the Final Ranking of Actual Performance of the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project using the Analytical Learning Model. The results of the analysis indicate that the students performed most highly in the cognitive learning domain with an impact score of 6.89 out of a possible 7.69, yielding a 90% final performance. Affective had an impact score of 6.41 out of a maximum possible of 8.29, yielding a 77% final performance. Psychomotor had an impact score of 5.29 out of a possible 6.86, yielding also a 77% final performance. Cognitive and affective domains in this puppet production were shown to be equally important as measured by total impact to the learning experience, exceeding the impact of the psychomotor domain.

These findings suggest that taking part in a Hispanic puppet play serves to complement the cognitive domain of established foreign language classroom instruction with both the affective and the psychomotor domains to produce an exciting, motivating and productive learning experience with all three learning domains rated fairly highly. The results also indicate that the true power of puppet theatre may lie in the relationship between the cognitive and the affective domains as expressed in the total impact. If the cognitive domain provides the intellectual tools, the affective domain supplies the raw emotional drive that keeps the learning process at high intensity.

Table 7. Data Summary of the Dimensions across the Learning Domains

Table 7 summarizes the data for the three domains, cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.

Dimensions / Domains

Cognitive Learning Domain

Affective Learning Domain

Psychomotor Learning Domain

Importance Dimension

2.56

2.76

2.29

Achieved Dimension

2.69

2.29

2.14

Impact Dimension

6.89

6.41

5.29

Maximum Possible Impact for each Domain in the Puppet Theatre

7.69

8.29

6.86

Actual Impact Performance Relative to Max Possible

0.90 (90%)

0.77 (77%)

0.77 (77%)

7.1 Final Ranking and Impact (Evaluation)

This section ranks the actual performance by students executing activities in the Hispanic Puppet Project. The visual analysis contained below summarizes the findings of the paper. The bubble size and location indicate the relative importance of each learning domain in the project. Specifically, the larger the bubble and the more closely positioned to the upper right quadrant, the greater in importance is that learning domain. In figure 3 below, the X-Axis is the calculated model variable coming from the importance of the activity times the level of achievement of students' performing the activity. The Y-Axis is the maximum rating of learning possible, given the level of importance ascribed to the activity for this application. The size of the bubble reflects the ratio of Actual Impact divided by Maximum Impact and describes the performance level of the students. Because the three domains are clustered in the upper right quadrant and have approximately the same size of bubbles (learning outcomes), the conclusion is that the Hispanic Puppet Project provides an integrated platform for learning aspects of Mexican culture and history through the programmed activities across the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor learning domains.

Figure 3. Figure 3. Bubble Chart of the Final Ranking (Actual Performance across Domains)

8.0 Conclusion

This paper demonstrates that puppet theatre provides a powerful learning platform for Spanish language and culture acquisition through the synergistic integration of the three learning domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. This is documented through the detailed application of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy as the pedagogical framework applied to community puppet theatre using the Hispanic Puppet Learning Project as a vehicle for cooperative learning. Cognitive and affective domains in this puppet production are shown to be equally important as measured by total impact to the learning experience (size and location of bubbles in bubble chart), exceeding the impact of the psychomotor domain. In a similar light, a puppet legend offers productive avenues to help engage children and young adults in meaningful learning goals and objectives that focus on performing aspects of Hispanic culture and on building meaningful connections with the diverse communities.

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