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Gendering the  school curriculum 2004 thun éva Gendering the school curriculum 2004 thun éva Document Transcript

  • VOICES A Collection of Working Papers Editor: Zsuzsa N. T6th Department of English for Teacher Education (DETE) School of English and American Studies (SEAS) Eotvos Lor&nd University (ELTE) BUDAPEST 2004
  • Language consultant: Phil Saltmarsh Each paper © its author, 2004. Any part of this book may be copied by any means, provided that the identity of the author is revealed in the copy. ISBN 963 420 8061 Kesztilt a Muegyetemi Kiad6 gondoz&s&ban. Felelds vezetd: Wintermantel Zsolt Nyomta 6s kOtOtte: Muegyetemi Nyomda Terjedelem: 6,5 (A5) iv
  • CONTENTS Editorial note Akos Farkas A Dash of Blood Orange: The Reception of Anthony Burgess in Hungary__________________________________________ M&rta Hargitai The circle, the square and the quadratura circuli or the mandala inShakespeare's King Lear_______________________17 fiva Szab6 The Effect of Experience and Training onYoung Teachers' Approach to Correcting Errors______________31 Gyorgy Varga The Way the Dictionaries Were Bom __________________________ 41 Mikl6s Moln&r New Approaches to American Studies: Interactive Ways ofDeveloping Cultural Contacts______________ 49 Eva Thun Gendering the School Curriculum: Approaches to Hungarian Educational Policies from a Gender Studies Perspective ______________________________________________ 61 Zsuzsanna Vall6 TeachingTheatre TextTranslation or the 4 T 's___________________73 Zsuzsa N. T6th and Andrea Erdei Towards Objective Performance Assessment____________________83 Marta Goldmann Crisis in the writing of university and college theses in Hungarianhigher education________________________________95 View slide
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  • 61 Eva Thun GENDERING THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM: APPROACHES TO HUNGARIAN EDUCATIONAL POLICIES FROM A GENDER STUDIES PERSPECTIVE In this paper, I seek to clarify the nature of the conflicts arising from the simultaneous discourses concerning the need for a new and transparent man­ agement system (allegedly value free and instrumental to progress) and the discussion of equality and social justice within the context of the ongoing reforms inHungarian public education. The significance of these issues lies in the fact that these discourses claim to respond to the perceived needs emerg­ ing in the wake of the social and cultural economic transformation in Hun­ gary. Additionally, I intend to identify a set of critical stances informed by femi­ nist analysis of educational reforms and gender equality policies in an inter­ national analytical -- mainly European —context. For this purpose, I attempt to map the dynamics of changes in educational policy development and to sample the discourses of educational research and theory, in order to find out how it is possible to introduce the concepts and practices of gender equality in educational policy making. I intend to focus on the dynamics of internal and external factors of change and the differences in approaches to the transformation process in education. By doing so, I hope to be able to interrogate the overall direction of educational change with the purpose of being able to identify the possible pitfalls for the inclusion of gen­ der issues as one of the systemic characteristics of the educational system. The rationale of this analysis is the recognition that in a fair and egalitarian society in which all people are considered to have equal worth and equal rights, a commitment to principles of educational equity is essential. Educa­ tional policies cannot avoid expounding a set of values, a philosophy and ide­ ology which construct the social world of students. Provisions for equity should not be considered as forms of welfare provision. Principles of equity should permeate all mainstream policies and practices, and not be considered only as additions to educational planning (Weiner 1994).
  • 62 Public education should respond to a diversity of needs and experiences, respect distinctive cultural and racial identities and value contributions of all ability groups. Understandings of gender construction should include knowledge about the relationship of gender to other factors, including socio-economic status, cultural background, rural/urban location, disability and sexual orientation (Apple 2001; Weiler 1988). Imperatives of Education Reform The post-socialist era is considered to be a new historical chance for mod­ ernisation, on the one hand, and for integration to the Euro-Atlantic world on the other. Therefore, the modernisation of the educational system is a high priority on the agenda of social and economic state policies, particularly within the framework of the European Union accession process: "The Government regards educational policy as an essential condi­ tion to economic development. Hungary can only be successful in the future if a competitive and highly qualified labour force with modem knowledge and a capability of further improvement is present in the economy. The Government believes that the task of ensuring participa­ tion in education for everybody, raising the standard of training and standardising education is on top of the list of priorities. Therefore, the Government's educational policy is organised around three principles: (1) Completing the development of a system of regulations, accredita­ tion, quality improvement through developing infrastructural and pedagogical conditions and the content of education; (2) Ensuring equal opportunities terms for institutions with the help of financing mechanisms, as well as providing equal opportunities for everyone through education; (3) Strengthening the role of planning and provid­ ing a firm professional grounding" (Strategy for the Development of Hungarian Public Education, Ministry of Education, 1998). Since educational reform proceeds in a rapidly changing social and eco­ nomic environment, the systemic conditions of development are at the focus of educational policies, rather that pedagogical development itself. This may account for the fact that the activities of the development of educational poli­ cies are often interpreted as not needing concomitant theorisation, rather the 'technical-instrumentalism' view of policy development prevails. According to this view, 'mechanisms' must be put in place that ensure entrepreneurial efficiency and effectiveness (Moore and Young 2001).
  • 63 As a consequence, educational theorization in Hungary tends to be con­ tent with the analysis of the principles of managerialism. Although these principles are intended to be formulated in a value neutral way, this approach has the potential to create tensions as is already evidenced by the discussions of feminist pedagogy, which claim that value neutrality in fact perpetuates the domination of patriarchal practices. Consequently the repro­ duction of those binaries of public/private, which has profound conse­ quences for women and girl students (Blackmore and Kenway 1997), contin­ ues in an unreflected manner. Western educationalists have already provided ample evidence for the fact that educational policies "involving market 'solutions' may actually serve to reproduce —not subvert -- traditional hierarchies of class, race and gender" (Apple 2001). Consequently, one should be aware of the language of technology, for example, in the following description of perspectives: "The key areas to be improved are the educational information sys­ tem, the monitoring of the effectiveness of policies and policy analysis and research. In relationto the policy implementation capacity of these systems the most striking obstacles are the relatively weak account­ ability and transparency of the functioning of the management of edu­ cation." (Strategy for the Development of Hungarian Public Education, Ministry of Education, 1998.) Issues such as equality, race, gender, class, and poverty are integrated through variable means into contemporary educational research to a certain degree, but this can be characterised as the "add and stir" method of inclusion. In many cases, issues of inequalities are discussed as problems surfacing residually, comfortably named as "so called post-modern issues" and consid­ ered as manifestations of some passing intellectual fashion which unneces­ sarily dilute the rigorousness and scientific nature of educational theory (MiMly, I. 2000, B&rdossy 2000). Those theorists who are engaged in the criticism of these partially informed accounts caution against the potentially dangerous consequences of not dealing with these "post-modern fads". However, they are often marginalized and blamed for their losing sight of the scientific requirements of educational research (Mih&ly, O. 2001, Buda 1997). As a result, the emancipatory and social empowerment potentials in education are success- hilly and safely insulated and cloaked in silence by the coupled discourses of professional managerialism and the science based articulation of social research and educational research (Kozma 2002).
  • 64 Comparative Advantage of the Transition Situation Peter Rad6 (2001) points out that "the transition process opened unique opportunities that are based on the "comparative advantage" of newcomers and the atmosphere of revolutionary changes". Reflection on and concep­ tualisation of reform and change, however, is not new to educational theory in the international context. Reform in education has been extensively theo­ rised throughout the 1990s. Thomas S. Popkewitz (1991) argues that reform does not necessarily "signify progress, in any absolute sense, but it does entail a consideration of social and power relations." Therefore, the comparative advantage of the transition process, for example in Hungary, can be inter­ preted as having the opportunity to draw on the knowledge produced on the subject. However, this opportunity may only be exploited if there is a chance that the various forms of privilege and the reproduction of 'cultural capital' can be included in the mainstream discourse on education. It needs to be emphasised that for most disadvantaged groups, the new arrangements resulting from the social and political changes seem to be merely a more sophisticated way of reproducing traditional distinctions between different types of educational opportunities and their accessibility for different students. For example, Zolt&n B&thory (1992), a leading theorist of educational reform tends to favour the special provision solution for "fast track" students. His views advocate policies of segregation -- without consid­ ering the detrimental effects of such policies, which, however, have been thoroughly analysed already in Western educational reforms. According to Michael W. Apple (2001), the growing importance of cul­ tural capital infiltrates all institutions in such a way that there is a relative movement away from the direct reproduction of power privileges (transmit­ ted largely through economic property) to school-mediated forms of power privileges. It is the result of a long chain of connections between differentially accumulated economic, social, and cultural capital operating at the level of daily events. Set against this controversial background in the Hungarian case, the issues of gender inequality can hardly be discussed, since the raising of gen­ der issues would automatically be identified as some sentimental social jus­ tice vision, which cannot be catered for in education. However, it should be argued that the comparative advantage is in place only if the lessons learned by other transformation theorists are valued and integrated by the policy makers into the present educational reform in Hungary.
  • 65 Analysis of Gender Equity in Educational Policy There is a striking paradox and consequently growing tension between the previously described theoretical position (of favouring selectivity and segregation) and the proclaimed policy intentions of strengthening social cohesion. For example, Peter Rad6 (2001:14) insists on emphasising that: "Education is one of the most important public sectors that are able to strengthen the cohesion of a society. In the circumstances of the tran­ sition process this function of education is more important than ever before. It cannot be achieved without deliberate policies aiming at reducing the number of losers of the thorough changes in the region. [. ..] The socio-economic status, the place of residence, the family back­ ground, the individual abilities or the affiliation to different minorities imposes a greater and more visible impact on the life chances of the individuals." Due to the increasing social differences and inequalities during the transi­ tion period, the selective characteristic of the educational system became more and more perceivable. It is openly admitted that the equalising of all the possible disadvantages is "neither a realistic objective nor a genuine educa­ tional policy issue". As a result, in many cases selection does depend on afflu­ ence, geographical location or ethnicity. The conclusions concerning future perspectives do not seem to be informed by the literature of socialjustice and practices of dealing with diversity and plurality. But instead the technical imperative, i.e. the need for quality insurance and a system of assessment are perceived as sufficientto tackle the ever-growing tension in education caused by inequalities. There is a pronounced emphasis on structural changes and structural provision rather than turning towards functional methodological programmes or best practices in the international context (B&rdossy 2000). These directions in policy development do not raise the issues of inclu­ sion, quite the contrary, they concentrate on the idea of special provision and education management tools, rather than speculating on the functions of the "hidden curriculum" and on the nature of ongoing interactions of education with the diversity of social and cultural settings in which the actual schools are embedded. In conclusion, gender is very rarely specified as a relevant aspect of the equity discourse. The realisation of how gender functions as a means of social regulation is profoundly absent from the Hungarian educational policy doc­ uments. Although this absence is at least noted in the "Report on Public Edu­ cation in Hungary":
  • "On the whole, it can be said that (1) the issue of social and regional inequality has received marked attention throughout the decade, (2) the issue of the education of minorities in general, and that of Gypsies in particular, has been given more attention since the middle of the 90s, but it is not fully integrated into the whole of education policy, (3) the education of special needs students is invariably one of the peripheral issues of education policy, and (4) the issue of the equality of the gen­ ders has not appeared on the agenda of policy makers" (Report on Pub­ lic Education in Hungary, 2000). How Can Educational Policy be Informed on Gender Equity? The Educational Theory Discourse Having recognised this profound absence of the understanding of gender, it may be useful to search for existing conceptual tools which can accommo­ date, to a certain degree, the concept of gender, with the purpose of introduc­ ing the knowledge produced by feminist theories and gender theories, partic­ ularly by feminist pedagogy. One of the biggest obstacles appears to be the fact that inquiry and dis­ course in education theory remain fixed in a non-political environment with­ out the articulation of values and beliefs. The "ideology of neutrality" has become internalised in the consciousness of most researchers. The links between the political agendas and research are blurred by the legitimizing function of social and educational research. Another problem is represented by the unreflected normative male bias, when insisting on the reproduction of some hegemonic value systems and belief systems, usually identified as universal humanistic discourses. There­ fore, experience based knowledge or diversity of viewpoints cannot be articu­ lated in this traditional frame of reference. For example, G&bor Hal&sz (1997), stresses the normative role when he discusses the functions of education: "When analysing the sub-systems in society it is typical to identify four functions: reproduction, adaptation, goal-orientation and integra­ tive functions: The sub-system of education serves all these four func­ tions. It participates in the social reproduction, and it has a greater and greater role in the enhancement of adaptation, cooperation. Education also serves as a mediator - although in a limited way - in the justifica­ tion of political objectives. - therefore, it has an ever growing function
  • 67 in securing social integration according to the accepted norms and standards." In the educational theory discourse on the significance of education as transmitter of normative values —which is mainly characterised by the hege­ mony of dominant modernist discourses -- there are only a few authors who venture to raise the issues of plurality, pluralism, and diversity. Generally, education is informed by the unreflected acceptance of the normative dis­ courses on power management and technical efficiency. It is accepted as a professionally sound pedagogical approach to foster "socialisation, domesti­ cation, cultivation, personal development of the young" through a variety of teacher dominated techniques. In this setting, it is the teacher who transmits knowledge and shapes/produces the student's personality. There is an underlying pedagogical norm and set of ethics, which determine the stan­ dards of good and bad in teaching and learning, and forecasting success or failure accordingly. Pluralism in education does not fit well with this "tradi­ tional normative" stance, since it tends to question the prescriptive legitimacy of pedagogies and theories on education. Educational theorisation on plural­ ism has arrived relatively late in the arena of Hungarian educational dis­ courses. It is fair to say that educational theory has not even faced the issues of diversity. The "paradox" of plurality of values is simply acknowledged to exist but has not been tackled in any form of analysis. Ott6 Mih&ly (2001) remarks that attempts "to cure the symptoms" have been made, but the core of the problem has not been dealt with: "University courses have become more colourful in the wake of the inclusion of avariety of educational paradigms, they are discussed one by one, and then the tutor selects one which is deemed to be followed and used, withoutproviding anyjustification for his/her preference or in depth analysis. The notions of interdisciplinary and post-modern theories are not mentioned, perhaps in the hope that they will prove to be ephemeral fads, and when they are over, the professors can con­ tinue, undisturbed, advocating the unitary, normative pedagogy based on the traditions of Enlightenment values." A number of educational and social theorists have already presented com­ pelling arguments that illustrate the reproduction of social, economic, politi­ cal, and cultural inequalities through the organization and structure of the schooling process (Giroux 2001; Amot 1997; Apple 2001; Luke 2000). Educa­ tors from diverse cultural and ideological backgrounds have pointed to the political and ideological nature of schooling and the ways in which schools reproduce the status quo through hegemonic practices. There is an opportu­ nity to draw on this scholarship for educational theory in Hungary in order
  • not to repeat the patterns of "blaming educational inequalities on those who are discriminated against" type of rhetoric. It can be identified as the theorists' task to develop a framework that takes issues of power, democracy, and inequality seriously, as well as educational structures and practice, in the pro­ cess of reforming public education. It would be useful to debate the conven­ tional approach informed by "scientific paradigms" to those types of prob­ lems which are otherwise reluctantly acknowledged as being the "business" of science (Waters 1998). A paradigm of educational research which includes ethics, political feasibility and a set of practical alternatives could become instrumental to change. In this context, feminist pedagogy and praxis could well be accommodated in this newly formed paradigm. The Legal Discourse The legal discourse concerning equity in education is based on the prohi­ bition and monitoring of all kinds of educational discrimination; assuring internationally accepted rights of children and minorities. The principle of non-discrimination is limited to the demand for equal treatment, without ref­ erence to specific circumstances. It is not self-evident, however, that formal equal treatment, under uniform conditions, is sufficient to guarantee full and effective equality in practice (Stromquist 1996). In this context, the UnitedNations Convention on the Rights ofChildren (1989) is often mentioned as one of the compelling guidelines, although, the Conven­ tion on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1981) which has provided governments with a framework for enacting legislation to promote equality between women and men is not mentioned or cited in any of the documents dealing with equality and equity in public education. It is notof assistance - it even leads to the weakening of any legal argument - that there is no national equal opportunity legislation in effect at present in Hungary. As a result, one should be satisfied with referring to constitutional rights and the vaguely implementable concepts of human rights. A prelimi­ nary draft of a national equality law is in circulation for evaluation, which, however, still emphasises the "tradition" of anti-discrimnation legislation rather than affirmative policies.
  • Feminist Discourses The lack of a feminist construct in current Hungarian society is oftenjusti­ fied with the 'there is no need' argument: feminism is not needed, because of the negative experience of the communist 'solution to the woman question'. The socialist-communist system discredited emancipation and the 'woman question' when, through the implementation of bureaucratic measures, they forced women into 'equality' against their own will (Thun 2001). Jirina Siklova (1996) comments on all the women's issues raised by West European feminisms, such as employment of women, domestic violence against women, and sexist representation of women in the media, and con­ cludes that they are often portrayed in Central Eastern Europe as the luxury of western women. Women's facing the glass ceiling in their careers is por­ trayed as the result of individual psychological problems. Discussions of the social construction of the role of motherhood are relegated to the realm of philosophy. "Thus, feminist issues are interpreted as psychological or philo­ sophical issues, while feminism is portrayed as an extremist ideology. As we are at present wary of any ideologies, it is unsurprising that fem­ inism is not attracting followers." (Siklova 1996: 94) In summary, feminist activism, which would have the potential of putting pressure on policy changes, and which has been in the western experience a forceful tool for change, is struggling to gainvoice in Hungary at the moment. Therefore, it is unlikely that it could become the initiator of policy changes. Concluding Cautionary Notes There is a growing amount of literature which interrogates and critiques the involvement of feminist academics as educators in the policy initiatives targeting the promotion of "gender equity" in education. Chandra Mohanty (1990) points out that equity is "aterm of concealment". It functions to confirm traditional rules and relations by declaring the right of non-dominant per­ sons to "assume the position" of dominance and to do the same things as "the normatively sanctioned subject of human rights". Mary Bryson, and Suzanne de Castell (1993) also emphasise the 'aggres­ sively dominant' normalising character of gender equity prerogatives when they argue that: 69
  • 70 "This compulsory submission of all children to extensive and intru­ sive state "standards" is the process whereby the state constitutes the subjects to which it then accords the rights that it then goes on to repre­ sent. This is what "equity" in education seems to have meant for minor­ ity students: the right to try but inevitably to fail to become white, male, and middle class. And this is what institutional "gender equity" policies seem to signify most often for girls and women: an impossibly contradictory injunction, onthe one hand, to enact a series of character­ istics designated as "gender-appropriate" in educational feminism's project (for example, to legitimate "women's ways") and, on the other hand, to embrace and participate ever more "equally" in the set of rules, roles, and relations established and maintained by a predominantly masculine power-elite." This recent critique of gender equality policies may be considered in two ways in the analysis of educational policies in the present process of develop­ ment in Hungary (and perhaps in the other post-socialist countries as well): On the one hand, it may underscore the importance of the local analysis of the "comparative advantage" position of the transitional situation. On the other hand, it cautions us to recognize both the advantages, but also the dangers of over-regulation or rigid implementation of state policies concerning gender equity and equal opportunity provisions. This critical account urges theoris­ ing in a more detailed way and acting more in terms of local initiatives to fos­ ter genuine recognition of plurality and diversity. Bibliography: Apple, Michael W. 2001. Comparing Neo-liberal Projects and Inequality in Education. Comparative Education Vol. 37. No. 4.409-423. Apple, Michael W. 2001. The Rhetoric and Reality of Standards-Based School Reform. Educational Policy Vol. 15. No. 4.601-610. Amot, Madeleine. 1997. 'Gendered Citizenry': New Feminist Perspectives on Education and Citizenship. British Educational Research Journal Vol. 23. Issue 3.275-96. Az egyenl<5 b£nasm6dr616s az eselyegyenl<5segr<51 sz616 torveny koncepci6ja (Tervezet) Igazsagugyi Miniszterium. Budapest, 2002. november. B&rdossy Ildik6. 2000. Esely(teremtes) es egyiittmukodes. Uj Pedagogiai Szemle No. 1. B&thory, Zolt&n. 1992. Tanulok, iskolak - kiilonbsegek. Budapest: Tankonyv- kiad6.
  • 71 Blackmore, Jill and Kenway, Jane (Eds.) 1993. Gender Matters in Educational Administration and Policy: A Feminist Introduction. London and Wash­ ington. D. C.: Falmer Press. Bryson, Mary, and de Castell, Suzanne. 1993. En/Gendering Equity: On Some Paradoxical Consequences of Institutionalized Programs of Emancipation. Educational Theory Vol. 43. No. 3. http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/EPS/Educational-Theory/Con- tents/43_3_Bryson.asp Buda, Mariann. 1997. A nevelesi rendszerek elemzesenek sziiksegesseger6l. Uj Pedagogiai Szemle. No. 11. Giroux, Henry A. 2001. Cultural Studies as Performative Politics. Cultural Studies and Critical Methodologies, Vol. 1. No 1.5-23. Hal&sz, Gcibor. 1997. Bevezetes az oktat&si rendszerek elmeletebe. In: Haldsz, G&bor and Lannert, Judit (Eds.) Oktatasi rendszerek elmelete. Budapest: OKKER. Kozma, Tamds. 2002. Pedag6gi&nk paradigm&i. In: Csap6, Beno and Vid&kovics, Tibor (Eds.) Nevelestudomany az ezredfordulon. Budapest: Nemzeti Tankonyvkiad6. 23-38. Luke, Carmen. 1996. Feminist Pedagogy Theory: Reflections on Power and Authority. Educational Theory Vol. 46. No. 3.283-302. Mih&ly, Ildikb. 2000. Eselyegyenl<5tlenseg - az els6 hljdnvan-e m&sodik esely? Uj Pedagogiai Szemle No. 3. Mih&ly, Ott6.2001. Pedag6giai, etikai, tudom£nyos 6s jogi normak az iskolai erkolcsi szocializ^cioban. A "klasszikus" pedag6gia 6s a neveles "klasszikus" paradoxonai. Uj Pedagogiai Szemle No. 1. Mohanty, Chandra. 1990. On Race and Voice: Challenges for Liberal Educa­ tion in the 1990's. Cultural Critique No. 14.179-208. Moore, Rob and Michael Young. 2001. Knowledge and the Curriculum in the Sociology of Education: towards a Reconceptualisation. British Journal of Sociology of Education Vol. 22. No. 4. Popkewitz, Thomas, S. 1991. A Political Sociology of Educational Reform. Power/Knowledge in Teaching, Teacher Education, and Research. New York and London: Teachers College, Columbia University. Rad6, Peter. 2001. Reform-maraton. A kilencvenes evek. Iskolakultura No. 4. 89-98. Rad6, Peter. 2001. Transition in Education. PolicyMaking and the Key Educational PolicyAreas in the Central-European and Baltic Countries. Budapest: Open Society Institute. Institute for Educational Policy. Report on Public Education in Hungary. 2000. Budapest: Orsz&gos Kozoktat&si Intezet.
  • Siklova, Jirina. 1996. Different Region, Different Women: Why Feminism Isn't Successful in the Czech Republic. In: Mikl6s Hadas and Miklbs Voros (Eds.) Colonization or Partnership? Eastern and Western Social Sciences. Replika, English Special Issue. Budapest: Replika Kdr. 91-95. Strategyfor the Development of the Hungarian Public Education. 1998. Budapest: Ministry of Education. Stromquist, Nelly, P. 1997. Gender Sensitive Educational Strategies and Their Implementation. International Journal of Educational Development Vol. 17. No. 2. 205-214. Thun, fiva. 2001. Constructing Gender in Hungarian Cultural Discourses in the 1990s. In: Durda Knezevic, Koraljka Dilic, and Anne Dabb (Eds.) Women and Politics: Feminism(s) with an Eastern Touch. Zagreb: Zenska Infoteka. Waters, Gisele A. 1998. Critical Evaluation for Educational Reform. Educa­ tional Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 6. No. 20. Weiler, Kathleen. 1988. Women Teaching For Change. Gender, Class and Power. Massachusetts: Bergin and Garvey Publishers. Weiner, Gaby. 1994. Feminisms in Education. An Introduction. Buchingham and Philadelphia: Open University Press.
  • 73 Zsuzsanna Vallo TEACHING THEATRE TEXT TRANSLATION OR THE 4 T'S1. The title of my paper is Teaching Theatre Text Translation (TTTT for short in the following), and it is trying to describe a suitable method for teaching TTT. It is also an attempt to prove its teachability to those sceptical theatre makers -- directors, dramaturges, actors -- whom I have interviewed, and who believe that you can teach certain tricks, but good playtexts can be writ­ ten and/or translated only by 'insiders' and initiates. I would like to join the group of people who hold that a combination of affinity, insight, and practice can produce the skills and competence which make for good texts. In order to prove my point, first I would like to examine the mistakes of translator-trainees who, not being aware of the ways theatre texts function, do not 'read' and 'see' and 'listen to' the subtextual clues which are of vital importance for theatre makers (Janis 1995). Second, I would like to exemplify how via close examination of the text, students' awareness can be raised about the features specific to theatre texts, and how a combination of read-through practice (known to theatre makers) and drama techniques (originally designed for foreign language classrooms) can bring translator trainees closer to an understanding of the text signals. The reason why I think this combined technique can help is that I have learned from my own twenty four-year teaching practice that students do not learn from recipes/rules or prescriptions, but from experience and experienc­ ing — in other words, they learn 'by doing it1. Through this sort of classroom practice they can acquire the necessary competence and become autonomous translators. 1. Students' difficulties with Theatre Texts The idea of organising a special reading-acting workshop for transla­ tor-trainees occurred to me while I was correcting trainees' works and writing The term theatre text is used for scripts written for the stage.