An Examination of Children’s Creativity and Learning in Dance

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Arts & Learning Research Journal Special Issue
Social Influences on the Creative Process:
An Examination of Children’s Creativity and Learning in Dance
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to look at the influences of social interaction and learning environment on children’s creativity in dance. Data from two separate studies are examined in which a total of thirty-seven fifth grade students created nine dances. This examination aims to (1) identify crucial elements of the classroom environment, which aided the students’ productivity and cognitive activity; and (2) look at how working as a peer group affected the participants’ creative process.
Theoretical Framework The designs of the two studies under examination are inspired by the philosophy of phenomenological hermeneutics. This tradition relies on a close textual analysis of study participants’ experiences as expressed through their interviews and reflective writing. In using this approach to research children’s experiences in dance, I rely on the example of Bond and Deans (1997), Bond (2001), Bond and Richard (2005), and Cone (2005). My particular interest in representing the child’s point of view also links my work with the philosophical underpinnings of feminist, inclusionary research in dance such as Stinson (1998) or Shapiro (1998). These authors conduct research that acknowledges the child’s perceptions of her own actions as valid data for analysis. Rather than viewing the creative process exclusively from the perspective of the outside investigator, this style of research accepts the viewpoint of the children who are subjects of the research. Methodologically, my studies relate closely to the work of Ference Marton (1984). Marton’s work examines phenomena from educational practice, an offshoot of the parent methodology phenomenology he has termed phenomenography. Research in this tradition looks at learning in a task set by the researcher under a naturalistic situation.
Methodology;The

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