29 SES 06, Artists and Teachers
Educational research, in recent years, focusing its attention on different ways of acquiring and transmitting knowledge within educational contexts, has focused a special attention on practical experience of teachers (performance and efficacy). This interest became valuable material for the understanding of the whole teaching-learning processes.
It is especially the Practice Based Studies that have exerted a new influence in the reading and understanding of teachers’ work. The attention to the concept of practice allows a different interpretation of the work that is now understood as a space, as a context (in the broadest meaning of the term) in which specific skills are created, transmitted, and stored (Shilling, 2003; Schatzi, Knorr-Cetina, von Savigny, 2001).
The study of body, movements, and relationships in the workplace then becomes a turning point in the educational research. Questions such as what it could mean to be, to practice, and to learn as a professional become significant. The importance of the body it can be recognised in the attempt of practice theorists to describe embodied human activity as know how, dispositions, skills, and tacit knowledge (Landri, 2012). «Practice and expertise are always embodied, in ways that are not always discernible to traditional research» (Green, Hopwood, 2015: 5).
In this perspective new interpretative categories such as performance, choreography, and dance can be identified and used. More specifically, the category of choreography has enabled the study of working practices as improvised, structured, contextualised, and embedded activities, highlighting the main actor staged: the body. Studies on choreography and on the analysis of choreographic style (Bagley, Cancienne, 2002; Duerden, Fisher, 2007; Eliot, 2007; Foster, 2011) highlighted the crucial features that this kind of analysis can reveal. Adshead et al. (1988) define a choreographic style as «the typical selection of materials by a choreographer, with regard to movement vocabulary, dynamic range, use of space, structuring devices and so on, in relation to thematic material». Besides, Duerden and Fisher (2007) consider the “choreographic style” as an attitude that the choreographer has with regard to dancers and dancers’ representation of self within the dance. This constitutes key issues in defining how we perceive the dances and how we understand them.
This perspective becomes even more relevant if we consider also theories in support of a research oriented towards movement analysis. R. Laban, one the most important theorists of the movement, based his studies on the assumption that every movement and every part of our body reveals something that goes beyond the mere behaviourist reading.
This study takes place in the teachers’ education field and it is aimed to study teaching practice as choreography, as an artistic practice performed by teachers in the classroom.
Research questions stated to develop the project are as follows:
- Is it possible to identify a choreographic style in teachers’ activities?
- Can Art help to understand strengths and weakness points in teachers’ work?
- What kind of knowledge do teachers convey with their body?
Adshead J., briginshaw V.A., Hodgens P., and Huxley M. (1988). Dance Analysis: Theory and Practice. London: Dance Books. Bagley, C., Cancienne, M.B. (2002). Dancing the Data. New York: Peter Lang. Barbour K. (2011). Dancing across the page. Chicago: The University Chicago Press. Barone, T., Eisner, E.W. (2012). Arts Based Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Routledge. Booth D., Hachiya M. (2000). The Arts Go to School: Classroom-based Activities that Focus on Music, Painting, Drama, Movement, Media, and More…. Ontario, Canada: Pembroke Publishers. Bräuer G. (2002) (Ed.). Body and Language: Intecultural Larning through Drama. Wastport, CT: Ablex Publishing. Brown A. (1986). Elementary school dance: teaching rhythms and educational forms, Journal of Physical Education Recreation and Dance, 57(2), 39-45. Brown C. (1999). Un packing the body. Dance Theatre Journal, 14(4), 12-16. Duerden R., Fisher N. (2007). Dancing of the page. Integrating performance, choreography, analysis and notation/documentation. Hampshire: Dance Books Publications. Foster S.L. (2011). Choreographing empathy. New York, NY: Routledge. Green B., Hopwood N. (2015). Introduction: Body/Practice?. In B. Green and N. Hopwood (eds.). The Body in Professional Practice, Learning and Education (pp. 3-14). Dordrecht: Springer. Harrison K. (1993). Lets dance: the place of dance in the primary school. London: Holder and Stoughton. Janesick, V. J. (1994). The Dance of Qualitative Research Design. In N. K Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 209-219). Thousand Oaks: Sage. Janesick, V. J. (2000). The Choreography of Qualitative Research Design: Minuets, Improvisations, and Crystallization. In N. K. Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research. (pp. 379-399).Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Laban R., L. Ullmann (2011). The Mastery of movement. Humpshire, UK: Dance Books Ltd. Landri, P. (2012). A return to practice: Practice-based studies of education. In P. Hage, A. Lee, and A. Reich (eds.), Practice, learning and change: Practice-theory perspectives on professional learning (pp. 85-100). Dordrecht: Springer. McNiff S. (2007). Art-based research. In J. G. Knowles, A. L. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Examples, and Issues. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Schatzki, T., Knorr-Cetina, K., von Savigny, E. (Eds.) (2001). The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London: Routledge Shilling, C. (2003). The body and social theory. London: Sage Publications.
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