The Methodology

The projects based on the WASO methodology are mainly focused on the creative discovery of science. In turn, science is the element that brings together a variety of information and experience, inspiring a multidisciplinary artistic approach (Ben-Horin, 2014). In a WASO project, first a theme is selected to be the focus of the performance and the catalyst for the entire creative dimension, culminating in a small opera as the final product. The entire process is guided by teachers/trainers in areas as different as music, theatre or even science, appealing to the multidisciplinary nature of knowledge. The characters, the libretto, composing the music, stage direction, scenography and props, as well as the public relations side; the management and advertising of the project is left in the hands of the students themselves, to be implemented during the process.

This method was initially designed for and aimed at intensive 2- or 3-day projects in mainstream schools in Norway. Note that the reality in Norway is a priori extremely different from ours, as music and drama are on the curriculum at different levels of basic and secondary education, while in our reality, these activities are seen as complementary or as free time activities.

The training of the professionals who take part in WASO is not neglected either. These projects provide for a training day for the “teachers”/trainers, who can come, as already mentioned, from areas as varied as music, science, theatre, … There are no prerequisites for these trainers, as the training is mainly on all the activities to be undertaken, but particularly on the attitude the trainer should have: a guide, never a teacher; a mentor, never a dispenser of information. The traditionally orthodox nature of education is completely set aside here. The teacher goes from being a mere vehicle for conveying information to becoming, like the trainees, a builder/explorer of knowledge – although with responsibilities different from those of the trainees, due to the guiding role undertaken.

The actual field work is carried out through the arbitrary division of the large group into smaller working groups, where the exchange of ideas is faster, easier and more immediate. On the other hand, the work areas (already mentioned) are also divided into small tasks to be carried out by all the groups, in a rotational system with a time limit being set for each task. A quick example of this modus operandi: the construction of the characters means listing physical and psychological aspects of the character, age and sex, pointing out a character feature that should stand out in the final plot, inventing a secret hidden by that character, a hobby and the profession of the character. Each of these tasks constitutes a workstation that all the working groups will use for a period of time previously determined by the trainer; the small working groups will thus visit all of the workstations, leaving their contribution for the groups coming after them and inheriting a body of ideas from the groups coming before them, which is what they have to work on. This avoids creative chaos through an immensely collaborative process, which none of the participants can avoid.

This process is repeated for each point the trainer considers core. He/she is in charge of monitoring the time limit, supervising the work of each group and is able to serve as a factor for unblocking ideas or momentary inspiration without, however, interfering in the creative process by directing or imposing a vision or personal desires. Near the end, particularly in the phase of stage rehearsals of the opera, the guiding and leadership role is redirected to Stage Management and to the element(s) in charge of this task.

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