Reflecting…

Reflecting upon my learning thus far in Secondary Arts Curriculum and Pedagogy, I have been inspired to delve deeper, question further, and discover my greater purpose as an Arts educator. Creating my personal vision statement enabled me to form a strong sense of my ambition as not only an Arts teacher, but a future educator of today’s youth.

The Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI), a short test aimed at refining an individual’s teaching view (Pratt & Collins, 2001), revealed that my dominant traits were ‘nurturing’, where effective teaching comes from the heart, not the head, and ‘developmental’, whereby the teaching is planned and conducted from the learner’s point of view (Mahan, 2012). These two prominent views of mine remained evident and became clearer in the remainder of my learning in this course.

I appreciated that the activities were not only related to assessment but they were applicable to teaching in the real world as they were strongly linked to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST). Creating a digital portfolio, the task of Assignment one in this course, is a fantastic resource to have, especially when applying for teaching positions, as it gives the employer a reference to evidence of the APST’s and your passion towards the career.

My technological skills were definitely challenged in creating my digital portfolio. In having said that, my ICT skills have expanded, allowing me to feel more competent and confident in this area, especially regarding copyright, and creative commons licensing.

Giving feedback to, and receiving feedback from peers allowed me to improve my work and consider different perspectives. This collaboration shifted the focus from individual learning, to learning as a whole group; increasing expertise by working and learning together (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2014).

Overall, my knowledge, understanding and views as an aspiring Arts educator have widened, been challenged and questioned, enabling me to have acquired a clearer view of teaching in the Arts. I look forward to expanding my repertoire of skills and continuing to improve my teaching practices throughout the remainder of this course, and in my future career as an Arts educator.

 

References:

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2014). The Essential Guide to Professional Learning: Collaboration. Retrieved 11 August, 2016, from http://www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/professional-growth-resources/professional-learning-resources/the-essential-guide-to-professional-learning—collaboration.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Mahan, J. (2012). Understanding How Your Teaching Perspectives Inventory Influences Your Work. Retrieved 11 August, 2016, from http://medicine.osu.edu/faculty/oecrd/Documents/20120815TeachingPerspectives.pdf

Pratt, D., Collins, J. (2001). Teaching Perspectives Inventory. Retrieved 11 August, 2016, from http://www.teachingperspectives.com/tpi/

Creative Commons by SA- Drama

The following 5 creative common resources are aimed at supporting learning and teaching in the Arts from Years 8-10.

  1. Indigenous Theatre Perspectives
    http://www.artsedge.dca.wa.gov.au/resources/Pages/Drama.aspxThis is an online library, providing teachers with resources to access Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) content and context, to support Drama in the Arts curriculum. This resource from includes information specific to:
    – Theatre companies and performer agencies
    – The protocol for producing Indigenous Australian performing arts
    – Drama/theatre education resources, including: Blakstage, Drama Australia and Arts Pop Resources

    As recognisable in the URL, this resource is Western Australia (WA) based. While this might be a restriction for schools in other states outside of WA, it allows teachers to educate students on ATSI culture outside of their own community. Though, many of the resources are universal across states.

    The WA focus opens opportunity for students to communicate with students in other states about their culture, beliefs and histories as inspiration and research for Dramatic production. This might be through e-mail, blog, or live video conferencing, employing the ICT cross curricular priority.

    Some students might find it difficult to communicate with students outside of their own community who have different cultures and backgrounds, conflicting with their own personal beliefs. These students might instead have these discussions with those of a similar background.

    This resource is attributed to the Government of Western Australia: Department of Culture and the Arts, and the Department of Education program ArtsEdge, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution. This allows sharing and adaptation of the material, as outlined here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/.

  2. Drama: Exploring
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/drama/exploring/This webpage contains links to four topics: i) Explorative strategies, ii) The drama medium, iii) The elements of drama, and iiii) Drama texts and play texts. Each topic includes interactive activities, information and photos. The interactive activities can be used as independent learning, and students are able to receive immediate feedback from their response.

    Again, this resource integrates the ICT cross curricular priority as students have to access the internet to participate in the activities and to view the information.

    The teacher would use the content to prepare the lesson, but not teach directly from the webpage. The webpage would simply be for revising and reinforcing student learning. The class would complete some of the activities as a group, and others individually or in pairs, as to prepare students’ for different types of learning within Drama.

    Some students may feel uncomfortable working in groups, or pairs, so it is important that for these students, wherever it is possible, to allow them to work independently until they feel confident in joining the group. Building class unity is extremely important, particularly in a subject such as Drama, where students are required to work closely together.

    The BBC also offers two other webpages reflecting the interrelated strands ‘making’ and ‘responding’: i) Drama: responding, and ii) Drama: performing, which would also be extremely useful when planning learning and teaching experiences.

    These webpages are accessed from the BBC website, and can be downloaded, copied, used and communicated free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided all acknowledgements are retained. This abides to the Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike license (CC BY-NC-SA).

  3. Improvisation
    http://pagetostage.artscentremelbourne.com.au/thinking/improvisationImprovisation, often shortened to ‘improv’, is a form of live theatre, completed without any preparation. This particular form of theatre is a fantastic way to develop communication within the classroom. Improv links nicely to the literacy cross curricular priority, as it sparks imagination and forces students to be authors of their work.

    An example of where a teacher might introduce improv might be playing ‘Word at a time story’, where each player provides one word of a sentence, to create a story. The teacher might then decide to play ‘Lines from a hat’, or a games along the likes, where two or more players perform a scene incorporating sentences provided by their class members.

    The ‘Improvisation’ resource provides some fantastic activities for students to experiment and become familiar with ‘unrehearsed performance’.

    This resource was developed and presented by Arts Centre Melbourne, and is licensed by CC BY-NC-SA.

  4. Drama Games and Warm-ups
    https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/drama-games-and-warm-ups-3005862Games and warm-ups are very important and beneficial for any Drama class, regardless of age. They usually take up the first five to ten minutes of every lesson, and help students to focus on what follows the activity. These games teach students’ how to learn in many different ways: visually, kinesthetically and auditory; catering for all learning styles.

    Drama games and warm ups help build a class unity, by improving self-confidence, building trust, and developing creativity. These games explore the hidden curriculum of social interaction and the literacy cross curricular priority through the development of student’s literary skills. They are fun, challenging and rewarding- both for students and teacher.

    The games/warm-ups included in the resource from Times Educational Supplement (TES) are simple games that students can pick up easily and can be adapted to the context of the group, meaning that the teacher can manipulate and alter games to suit his/her students, and what they need to learn from the activity.

    Retrieved from TES, and uploaded by Kate Horgan, this resource is licensed by the Creative Commons Share-Alike license.

  5. Macbeth Murder Mystery: Drama Activity
    https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/macbeth-murder-mystery-drama-activity-6022975English Teacher, Krista Carson, has adapted this resource and created her own ‘Macbeth Murder Mystery’. As Macbeth is studied both in English, and in Drama, this makes the activity a cross curricular one. Teachers from both Drama and English may choose to combine their lessons to enhance understanding across both areas.

    This particular activity will have students act out ‘flashbacks’ to recount events, and explore texts, ideas and situations using a range of dramatic techniques.

    Students often employ dramatic techniques without even realising they are. For example, voice, gesture and movement are commonly used ‘dramatic techniques’ that many use unconsciously. This activity is designed to be exciting! It will allow student’s to ‘consciously’ explore dramatic techniques and their effectiveness for a greater purpose- to find Macbeth’s killer!

    This activity requires students to work in small groups with assigned roles. There is a description of each role, and a description of particular scenarios the characters are to act out. Pre-determined roles and scenarios allow consistency across the whole class, though these can be interpreted and performed differently, allowing student’s to add their own personal flavour.

    This resource was taken from the TES website, created by English teacher, Krista Carson, using a CC BY SA license.

    Overall, websites I found particularly helpful when finding CC BY SA resources were  Scootle and TES. Both websites offered a brief overview of the resource which made it particularly helpful when researching. They also had their license or rights clearly labelled and easy to find.

LinkedIn

Greetings all,

Recently I have created my own LinkedIn profile, which you can find here.

I’m very new to LinkedIn, so if anyone has more experience than I and can offer some advice on how I can ‘add flavour’ to my profile, I would be most grateful if you would share!

Why Teach the Arts?

After reading a post by Elliot Seif, found here, where he talks about the importance of the Arts in a 21st Century world, I really got thinking about how transferrable the skills taught in the Arts actually are.

In summary, Elliot gives 10 reasons (though there are many more) why he believes teaching Arts is critical:

  1. Many children come to school and stay in school because of the arts
  2. Children learn positive behaviours, habits, and attitudes through the arts
  3. (an obvious one…) The arts enhance creativity
  4. The arts help students develop critical intellectual skills
  5. The arts teach students methods for learning language skills
  6. The arts help students learn mathematics
  7. The arts expand on and enrich learning in other subjects
  8. Aesthetic learning is its own reward
  9. Children’s art talents and interests are developed
  10. The arts teach teamwork! Children learn tolerance and understanding of others.

If I had to pick just a few of his reasons (whilst I agree with all), that resonate with me the most, it would have to be no.7 and no.10. As initially mentioned, the skills taught and learnt in the Arts are transferrable into a number of different subject areas, and perhaps more so than other subjects, drama encourages and develops teamwork skills through its hands-on approach.

Arts Education professor and leading academic, Elliot Eisner makes a compelling statement regarding what the Arts teach. He says they: “teach students to act and to judge in the absence of rule, to reply on feel, to pay attention to nuance, to act and appraise the consequences of one’s choices and to revise and then to make other choices”. Therefore, the arts challenge student’s  to delve deeper, to search further, to question, to critique- all higher order and critical thinking skills.

It is often said there is a strong link between education and psychology. While this is true, to answer the question ‘why teach the arts?’ it is important to note the relationship specifically between creativity and the study of the human mind. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about how art allows people to “forget themselves, the time, their problems”. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is responsible founding the ‘deep flow experience’, whereby “people find genuine satisfaction” in particular activities.

Individuals enter a state of ‘flow’ when they are challenged, and their skills are tested, yet their skills are enough to meet the challenge. ‘Flow’ is a state especially experienced in the arts- making arts both an extremely enjoyable and challenging experience for our students. Activities which produce flow are motivating and enjoyable, leading to an experience called autotelic; having purpose (Bonlwell, 2014). Clearly, the Arts hold great value and have much to teach students, with so many transferrable, real world, life-long learning skills! Dr. Ernest Boyer, sums this up perfectly:

First, we need the arts to express feelings words cannot convey. Second, we need the arts to stir creativity and enrich a student’s way of knowing. Third, we need the arts to integrate the fragments of academic life. Fourth, we need the arts to empower the disabled and give hope to the disenchanted. Above all, we need the arts to create community and to build connections across the generation” (Boyd, 2000).

For many years, the Arts have suffered from many myths and misconceptions. Even teachers view the arts as a non-serious, past-time, confusing the arts with entertainment (Boyd, 2000). The Arts are undervalued both by schools and the wider community. It is crucial that the social, cultural and economic benefits of the Arts are recognised and valued, as the Arts hold just as many vital skills as other subjects offered in schools.

One of my favourite quotes surrounding the Arts is one from sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz: “Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence”. Though this is true to an extent, I am blessed enough to work in a profession that DOES solve problems through art, including: “academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity” (Smith, 2009).

Smith’s article ‘Why Arts Education is Crucial, and Who’s Doing it Best‘, like Dr. Ernest Boyer, offers a fantastic insight into this topic. The article also finishes off with a quote I find quite fitting to my perspective on Education:

“When you think about the purposes of education, there are three…We’re preparing kids for jobs. We’re preparing them to be citizens. And we’re teaching them to be human beings who can enjoy the deeper forms of beauty. The third is as important as the other two” (Tom Horne).
So ‘Why Teach the Arts?’ …

My vision is to teach, nurture and development individual’s passion for Art (in all forms). Art is fantastic for overall academic achievement, encourages students to learn from the world around them and see beauty in extraordinary places. The arts allow individuals to create their own perspective/opinion and explore various styles/genres/concepts, which furthers their understanding of their own identity and place in the world.

 

References:
Bonlwell, I. (2014). Living in Flow. Retrieved 2 August, 2016, from  http://positivepsychology.org.uk/pp-theory/flow/30-living-in-flow.html

Boyd, J. (2000). Myths, Misconceptions, Problems and Issues in Arts Education. Griffith University: Brisbane, Australia. Retrieved 05 August, 2016, from https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/downloads/publications/research_qscc_arts_boyd.pdf 

Eisner, E. (2004). What Can Education Learn from the Arts about the Practice of Education? International Journal of Education and the Arts:  Standford University.

Seith, E. (2011). Ten reasons why teaching art is critical in a 21st century world. Retrieved 20 July, 2016, from http://edge.ascd.org/blogpost/ten-reasons-why-teaching-the-arts-is-critical-in-a-21st-century-world

Smith, F. (2009). Why Arts Education is Crucial, and Who’s Doing it Best. Retrieved 20 July, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development

Staff meetings are fun!

Yesterday, I attended my first staff meeting of this professional experience placement, and… it was great! There were 3 areas I noted of particular focus: 1) school culture, 2) wellbeing, 3) expectations. At the very beginning of the meeting, each staff member received a meeting agenda, with space for notes. Following this was a wellbeing/mindfulness activity to get us in the right frame of mind after a full day at school. As this is an ICT based prac, I had been taking special note of all the digital technologies being implemented/not being implemented, over the past 3 weeks. ICTs throughout the meeting included:
– PowerPoint presentation
YouTube video
VideoScribe presentation
Scootle and The Learning Place
– Apps

I found all of the ICTs integrated into the meeting assisted in engaging the staff, and reinforced the importance of ICTs in learning and teaching. While there is a variety of ages in the teaching team, all seem open to ICTs in the classroom, with many whom use ICTs in every lesson to enhance and transform learning and teaching.