Dance and Movement Teaspoon of Light Project

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“Keep your eye on the arrow not on the target” (Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, 2011b) Dance is expressive movement with intent, purpose, and form. It exists in many forms and styles and is practised in all cultures, taking place in a range of contexts for various purposes. Drama is the expression of ideas, feelings and human experience through movement, sound, visual image and the realisation of role. Both Drama and Dance is essential in children’s education and has many benefits however also portrays challenges for teachers.

In this essay I have explored three learning out comes linked to Drama and Dance that were evident in the ‘Teaspoon of Light’ project coordinated by Dr Peter O’Conner in Christchurch, New Zealand which was aimed to use drama and dance education to support children and teachers during the aftermath of the 2011 major earthquake. I have discussed benefits and challenges that may occur by incorporating the following learning outcomes into the primary school curriculum; Imagining and Creating New Works, Using Skills, Techniques and Processes and Making Aesthetic Choices.

The first learning outcome is Imagining and Creative New Works. It is a dimension of drama and dance that focuses on exploring and experimenting with movement to express ideas and feelings (Tasmanian Curriculum, 2007). It includes discovering and creating movement solutions that emerge from a range of starting points and stimuli. There are benefits and challenges the occur from Imagining and Creating New Works.

A benefit to this learning outcome is that through stimuli for guidance, students can interpret their own ideas and this work encourages social sensitivity and group cooperation during collaborative work. The Tasmanian Curriculum (2007), states that the ultimate expression of movement is recognised in performance. During ‘A Teaspoon of Light’, O’Connor told the students of a stimulus; the first line of a story: “There was a girl who, when she got out of bed, tripped, and tore her cloth of dreams.” (Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, 2011a). A discussion then emerged about the story. The seven- and eight- year-olds told O’Conner that if you tear a dream cloth, your dreams disappear. The students then solemnly said that it is the saddest thing that can happen to anyone. O’Conner asks the students to show him what the girl from the story might look like when she tore her cloth of dreams. Cornett (2011) states the dance is beneficial to the primary school curriculum as it develops creative problem solving. It is stated that power is put to use to solve problems in every subject matter, including the subject of life (Parrish, 2007 cited in Cornett, 2011). Through the learning outcome of Imagining and Creative New Works the student’s demonstrated key components such as representing ideas and making choices, reinforcing the benefit-stimulus encourages students to explore and experiment with movement to express their personal ideas and feelings.

A challenge that Imagining and Creative New Works portrays is the planning component from Drama. This component suggests that the creators of a lesson need to be very immediate- working in the here and now (Tasmanian Curriculum, 2007). The challenge is for teachers to be flexible in their sessions. Teachers need to know how and when to change direction in a lesson when a new lead appears that is worth proceeding. During ‘A Teaspoon of Light’ the students involved were continuously participating in whole class imaginary worlds, i.e. dream makers, re-creating Sarah’s cloth of dreams, using magic rubbers and shaking the dreams with magic spells (Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, 2011a). O’Conner (2011) believes that the imaginary world that was created during the sessions was “the joy of the work” (Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, b). He states that as teachers, the session ended up in different ‘places’ because they were prepared to...
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