Dance around the world from your living room
To begin this session, we asked what is creative dance? According to Cone it is something that is created by the children’s own experiences, thoughts and feelings. It should be done in a manner that is safe, fun, meaningful and child led. “Offering children the opportunity to discover how they can be creators of their own ideas is one of the most powerful lessons we can teach.” As a teacher and an effective dance facilitator I should:
- Support children’s ideas
- Ensure a safe environment for learning.
- Convey ten basic dance skills.
- Provide chorographic structure when needed.
- Provide exploratory tasks.
- Trust in the creative process
Zara explained that to achieve this in primary school the Midway Model (Smith, Autard 2002) for dance in schools is a recognised model of good practice. Us as teachers can achieve this by working hard to provide resources and visual stimulus, knowing basic dance skills and taking up training opportunities and acquiring the assistance from local professionals and organisations. From reading the Cone article I concluded there are many benefits which come from including dance in education, as there is with all the expressive arts, including:
- Expanding social skills
- Enhanced learning skills – listening, communication, organisation.
- Increased self esteem.
- Better resilience
- Experiencing meaningful experiences
- Increased collaborative skills.
- Increased confidence
- Healthier physical wellbeing.
- Healthier mental wellbeing.
The curriculum for excellence (2009) states that “children should have the opportunity to create, present, appreciate and evaluate dance.”
To practice how to evaluate a dance were asked in our groups and using the Cone worksheet create our own dance evaluation with our own theme and ideas. We used curriculum for excellence experiences and outcomes to help us.
For the practical part of our session today we practiced our ten basic moves with the beginning and end, our visual stimulus and moved on to adding another chorographic device. Ultimately, we had our routine.
Our visual art input from Diarmuid today focused on a presentation by Isobel McGuire who was a former student with Diarmuid. It was an example how the expressive arts might be woven in and out our curriculum. I found the presentation very interesting and made a few points to remember for my own teaching practice. I had not realised the diversity of art materials that could be used and that most of which, using a bit of effort, could easily be acquired for classroom work. Isobel covered all areas of making visual art and Diarmuid offered some insight as to how children’s creativity would benefit from them and to how they make links with other disciplines.
- Line – children draw best with the tool they write with as they have a confidence in handling it. Using ink in the form of a fine line is sometimes better as it can not be erased over and over.
- Shape – cutting out shapes from coloured paper could inspire children who do not like to draw.
- Colour – exploring use of colour using example artwork from current artists.
- Pattern – very popular choice with children as they enjoy the intricacy of it. Could be linked with history such as the heritage of the textiles industry in Scotland.
- Texture – using fabrics or paper to weave or do collages allows a feel for textiles. Children doing this could foster an interest in clothing design and link to culture and heritage.
- Tone – investigating within drawing, exploring how light falls upon objects. Could be linked to science.
- Technologies – digital printing which takes the child into a world of literacy with printed words and history in the form of hand painted books.
- Digital art – could link learning with contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol.
- Design – encourages development of ideas.
- Sculpture – allows children to look at the world in three dimensions. Also, a good way to awaken a child’s creativity particularly in boys as they seem to enjoy the manipulation of wire and such like.
- Land art – can involve getting children to explore the outside and nature. Could be gathering of natural materials and making art and then recording it as a photograph. Can be linked to science topics and projects such as environmental issues or diversity and can be a very meaningful process.
- Textiles and felting – using special materials to create landscape art, like soft sculptures.
Diarmuid concluded with a valuable point, always reference living artists as they will be using current affairs in their artwork. These artists will be more readily accessible in terms of exhibitions, interviews and modern approaches to use in lessons.
The main message I am taking from todays classes is that as a teacher and facilitator of the expressive arts in my classroom I must encourage freedom of expression and nurture creativity by providing materials and safety guidance. By doing this I am teaching my pupils how to be creative.