Teaching Performing Arts for Cross-Cultural

EDUC 539: Teaching Performing Arts for Cross-Cultural Education

Offered Spring 2022

TPACE interweaves artistry, identity, and pedagogical tools for a course that actively links theory and practice. Through facilitation, creation, reading, and discussion, graduate and undergraduate students develop skills to use theatre and other arts to address culture and differences in educational and community settings.

*All Penn undergraduate and master’s students from all twelve schools are eligible.

Instructor: Suzana Berger
Theatre Director, Educator, and Community Partnership Builder
TPACE Instructor since 2013
Contact: suzanab@upenn.edu
Website: www.suzanaberger.com

Co-Instructor: Kia Lor
Associate Director, Greenfield Intercultural Center
TPACE Alum 2015
Contact: lork@upenn.edu


Programs for Awareness in Cultural Education (PACE) and Teaching Performing Arts for Cross-Cultural Education (TPACE) are partnerships between the Greenfield Intercultural Center and the Graduate School of Education. Their aims are to train students to increase cross-cultural awareness at the University of Pennsylvania.

Democratic Classroom Environment:

We strive to create an environment where students are engaged and active participants in a democratic learning process: meaning students create knowledge together with the instructor and classmates rather than acting as containers waiting to be filled by expert knowledge. It also means that a supportive environment for cross-cultural dialogue dismantles and exposes the hierarchy both within the structure of the classroom itself and between course participants.

Course Goals:

  • Train students in the use of collaborative, inclusive techniques for utilizing performing arts in educational and communal settings to address cross-cultural issues creatively.
  • Engage students, on a personal level, with the factors involved in their own identity formation and socialization, and that of others.
  • Develop students’ skills in inclusive, creative lesson planning and facilitation tailored to the learning goals of the various settings where they are teaching or facilitating.

Course Requirements:

  • Willingness to address potentially uncomfortable topics and to understand multiple perspectives.
  • Weekly 3-hour class session.
  • Complete assignments as designated in the syllabus, including several that involve partner or group work outside of class.
  • Willingness to learn by doing,¬†through activities, art-making, facilitating, and critical discussion.


  • Gain hands-on practical experience with lesson planning and facilitation.
  • Develop the skills necessary for participating in and guiding difficult cross-cultural discussions.
  • Improve storytelling, performance, and public speaking skills.
  • Learn how to incorporate performance arts into learning environments.
  • Explore the intersections of identity, culture, society, education, and art.
  • Earn graduate-level course credit.
  • Make strong connections with fellow course members and meet professional artist-educators from Philadelphia’s arts community.

Back to Courses