In this chapter, we sought to make the connection between Boal's and Freire's work and recent advances in the neuroscience of learning. We explored how the use of conventions and processes traditionally associated with theater may be incorporated into social work education as a method of teaching to the whole self—that is, integrating the cognitive and emotional journey. We described Freire's questioning technique and Boal's Image Theatre that capitalize on the use of all the senses to stimulate learning by doing and maximizing self-awareness. In doing so, we suggested that these activities or teaching techniques offer a method for students to quickly grasp relevant and often paradoxical ideas that conventional cognitive approaches to teaching often struggle with.
Teaching to the holistic self by using these methods, we seek to indulge and untangle both the intellectual/cognitive self and the artistic/creative self of the learners. It seems to be a rather complete effort because it does not shy away from exploring emotions to bridge the personal and professional connection. This alternative pedagogy will serve as a catalyst for students to develop skills of self-awareness, empathy, concern, and critical thinking and to edge closer to become progressive agents of change.
Having discussed our theoretical foundation, experience, and positionality, we leave the reader with some food for thought as we ask ourselves the following: How do we ensure that students learn holistically to take on the role of the social change agent rather than the agent of social control? Shall we embrace our role as artists of teaching? What action can we take in creating a space for holistic pedagogy within the contemporary culture of academe?