ERG SES C 12, Education Practices
The research - Embodied Education through art and theatre - tries to underline the relationship between the artistic and theatrical languages and the neurosciences, starting from the discovery of the MNS Mirror Neuron System (Gallese, Rizzolati 1996), to offer a contribution for an Enactive Learning (Varela, Thompson, Rosch 1991). The Enactive Learning is connected with a model of distributed leadership. The Embodied Simulation (a common underlying functional mechanism that mediates our capacity to share the meaning of actions, intentions, feelings, and emotions with others (Gallese 2014)) tells us that at the basis of the understanding of the world, there are the representation of the aim and the sensory-motor involvement, motor and intentional basis of learning, that art and theatre express through pre-linguistic instruments: images and actions. The powerful techniques for monitoring the mind activity through images, like the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), allowed us to observe what happens in our brain while we are engaged in different perceptive, executive and cognitive activities. In the last years, the educational and the cognitive sciences have intensified their connections to the point of identifying a unique science (Fischer, Daniel, Immordino-Yang, Stern, Battro, Koizumi 2007).
This common field concerns the classical themes of learning, memory, attention and language, but also the themes of consciousness and body. The shift of the research interests from the brain study itself to the study of an ecological mind, an interdipendent mind between body and environment: the focus is the concatenation mind-body-environment, the extended mind. During the first phase, the pilot study had the goal to identify the experiential learning to be tested in the experimental research. E.C.O. Electronic Cooperation Online mainly supplies visual tools in an embodied learning environment, using the web and network as a creative ground: from A.R. augmented reality to M.R. material reality. The action-oriented training is integrated in the kinesthetic channel with theatrical techniques (Alschitz method). “E.M.I.” is the resulting experiential training: an Experiential Multimodal Interface that integrates virtual and material learning environments. In EMI, as a model of ''extended mind'', the actors engage in tasks that are ''stretched'' or distributed across the organization, rather than focus on characteristics of the individual leader or features of the situation.
Since the dawn of civilisation, artistic and theatrical languages have been used to explore the world in a symbolic, synthetic and aesthetic way. In this respect Zeki has spoken of “neuroaesthetic” (Zeki 2001). Artists have always been creating new perspectives (new ways of looking at reality of the world) using images and representations. “The heart of the matter is not using art to study how the brain works. It is rather to study how the brain and the body work together to make us human and how that occurs. In my opinion we should talk about experimental aesthetic rather than about neuroaesthetic. The notion “aesthetic” has here its own ethimologic root: aisthesis, that is multimodal perception of the world through the body” (Gallese 2014). The need of primary and reproductive alphabetization is replaced by productive learning in a wide range of competencies – life skills – required by contemporary complexity: a change into active, participative embodied models in the school as place of “real experiences” (Dewey 1934). This research tries to underline the contribution of conceiving art and theatre - aesthetic - as a “work on oneself”, a reflective and expanding work: “embodied”. Moreover, it offers some instruments for self-assessment and opens the set of a self-effective learning (Bandura 2000).
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