We have reached our last week of this integrated arts module and the last week of dance. The outcome of our dance activities and learning has all come together as a final product. It was great fun to present it to Zara. As a student teacher I felt proud to take part in this creative process and I am sure I will even more so when I take it forward to my own pupils in the future. If I have enjoyed the experience, I can imagine just how a child would feel having gone through the same process. We discussed the value of positive experiences for our learners and how taking that forward in their learning journey into adulthood would have a profound effect on how they learn, their life choices and their fulfilment. It is therefore important I evaluate their creative input and not dismiss their meaningfulness. All the ideas I have learned have given me lots of enthusiasm and ideas as to how I can teach dance and integrate it in my class curriculum. As Cone (2009) tells us “The vision for the dance belongs to the children.” I cannot wait to get started!
In our final class Diarmuid wanted us to be inspired by the range of affordances there can be in art in primary school. He showed us some photo’s and explained about a primary school in Fort William who developed a new pedological concept for art in school, Room 13. It emerged from an unused room on the second floor of the school and in here the children could be free to let their creativity flow. It was the first critical based art practice in the UK and has had huge acclaim. It just goes to show that with forward thinking in teaching differences can be made in the way that art is perceived by children and society and the influence of the importance of art in the curriculum as a subject and not an entertainment. This is taking art seriously, allowing children to see art as a critical process and developing their critical thinking skills. The Curriculum for Excellence affords this way of teaching art and we as student teachers should embrace it leaving behind the old teacher led art pedagogies opting for providing a freedom for meaningful creativity.
Now that I have reached the end of this module, I can say whole heartedly that I have a deeper appreciation for the role that the arts play in education. My experiences of creative freedom were mixed as I was fortunate to have some influences out with school. However, I can see now that if I had been allowed to explore my creativity as an element of my school education it would have influenced my life in a much greater way. There are children who cannot have these opportunities out with school and so are missing out on the enrichment of their education and increased life choices. Music, drama, art and dance can be integrated by teachers with the correct planning, sourcing resources, seeking support and a positive attitude. I should be confident and willing to guide children and young people in their creativity and ensure the arts are as much a critical process as all disciplines in education.