Articles & Papers: Dance Education
As teachers of the arts we are committed to nurturing the creative potential of all of our students. We value process and want to inspire young artists to find their own way and their unique voices. But do we? Internalized models of teaching, and the external pressures in the settings in which we teach, can lead us away from those central values and toward a more teacher-centered, outcome-directed approach.Learner autonomy in the arts—qualities of which include confidence in navigating the unknown; the ability to look at one’s work more deeply; and the capacity to independently sustain one’s artistic creation—has become an overarching goal for us. This paper examines how we use observation and reflection in dance classes, how we hear students’ questions, how we support and mentor artists in their own discovery process, and how and when we provide our expertise. We seek a model in which artist and teacher engage in a mutual artistic process that pushes both to see new potentials and make personal discoveries. Our title—Sharing the Unknown—reflects our belief that where our teaching meets our students’ artistry, we must share and embrace the unknown. Both teacher and student enter a process that changes how we see and how we work.
ABSTRACT: In recent years the arts have been introduced into many pre-service and in-service professional development programs for general education teachers. At the same time, pressure for immediate test-score improvement and standardization of curriculum has limited the creativity and autonomy of teachers. This study, the qualitative part of a mixed-methods investigation of teachers across the U.S., involved six New York City elementary school teachers who found ways to use the arts in their classrooms on a regular basis despite the pressures they faced. The study investigated the personal characteristics and the factors that supported or constrained arts use in teaching. The results suggest that general creative and artistic attitudes rather than specific skills as a maker of art are key to arts use. A willingness to push boundaries and take risks defined this group of teachers. They recognized obstacles and challenges to arts use, but made choices that helped them maintain a sense of independence and creativity in teaching. The strongest motivation to use the arts use was their awareness of the diversity of learning styles and needs among their students. The teachers articulated a variety of ways in which arts-based professional development experiences encouraged them to bring their creativity into the classroom, expand their teaching repertoire, and find effective ways to incorporate the arts in the academic curriculum. [ Download PDF ]
ABSTRACT: Coming Soon….