Case Study: Term 3
School: Boyare Primary School
Teacher: Fiona Hunt
Year Group: 1/2
Creative Practitioner: Scott Galbraith
Creative Practice: Dancer
Main Curriculum Focus: English (Language)
Cross-curricular Links: Health and Physical Education, Dance, Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS).
Health and Physical Education – Movement and physical activity, locomotor skills. Learning through movement, cooperation skills in partner and group work. Alternative ways in which tasks can be performed when solving movement challenges.
Dance – Making ideas - Exploration and improvisation of movement ideas to create simple dance sequences. Making skills - Exploration of, and experimentation with, three elements of dance: Body, space and time. Making performance/production - Performance of planned and improvised dance sequences that express feelings, ideas and experiences to an audience. Performance skills (facing and looking out into the audience when presenting dance). Responding to audience behaviour (being attentive, responding appropriately) to dance. Personal responses, expressing ideas and feelings about dances they view and make.
HASS skills – Analysing and identifying relevant information, processing information and/or data. Communicating and reflecting present findings in a range of communication forms, using relevant terms. Develop texts, including narratives that describe an event or place. Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways.
“Our teachers loved Creative Schools last year, so we definitely wanted to do the program again this year. Both teachers this year love working with their artists. These teachers are influencers and will be able to spread what they are learning to other teachers.” - Principal
Boyare Primary School, in the suburb of Mirrabooka, serves a diverse student community with many migrant and refugee families. 75% of students speak a language other than English as their first language with over 45 different first languages identified. 11% of the student population is Indigenous and 57% of students are from the bottom socioeconomic quarter.
The project that Fiona and I decided to provide was a performance. This was in the form of movement and was based around the feelings and thoughts of home. We were studying the concept of home, not just house, and we were working towards deeper understanding. We explored why people have a home, occupations, where to go to and where to come home to. We looked at houses around the world, for example igloos and tents, which opened up the student’s perception of what a house is and what a home is. Since the students come from various backgrounds we thought this was a great way to introduce different types of homes.
“Watching the students be so engaged in the performance task was really enjoyable to see.” - Teacher
Each week we decided to get the students to move, teaching them different contemporary dance movements that could give them a different vocabulary to express themselves. We gave the students examples of different muscular tensions in the body to portray emotions like frustrated, tired and excited.
“I really love dancing.” - Student
A big Creative Habit that we focused on was discipline, however, we felt that what was needed for these students was self-discipline. Showing that artists and all creative learners and thinkers need this to progress to become better. A great example is “Austin’s Butterfly” a year one student that transformed his drawing of a butterfly with the help of his peers. We took this concept of analysing drawings by our peers and translated it into our emotion movements. It was interesting seeing how the students engaged their understanding of what an emotion/feeling looks like. For example, a joyful movement isn't heavy, slow or stiff. Each week the students had a chance to improve on their movement by remembering the feedback that they gave and received. We found that this really came alive in terms of the performance, as each student had a chance to perform their emotion about home. Their willingness and excitement to perform made it easier to facilitate a space where they were active and engaged to give and receive critical feedback.
“I think that when they're doing their performance they could be a little more straighter in the line.” - Student
We activated student voice, by creating an environment where they were responsible for the learning of themselves and their peers. By students receiving feedback from their peers in a caring manner they quickly responded to adapting their emotion movements/house structures. They wanted to create shapes and movement with their body which gave them the unique opportunity to communicate physically in a safe and caring way.
“I think I need to move my arms bigger and speak louder when saying my emotion movement.” - Student
The impact on the students was dramatic, it was rather difficult to keep them focused on one task for the first couple of weeks. This changed as the relationship and trust between audience members and performers grew. Peer reflection and self-reflection was an important aspect of growing as learners.
Fiona Hunt has already spoken to me about how she can implement certain strategies for next year. Most of them surrounding the idea of peer-reviewed feedback.
“I'm trying to step back more. As a teacher it is often really hard for us to step back. It is very different to last year. I am a lot more ready to let go this year. Scott seems to be able to take my thinking and through our brainstorming, we take each other's ideas on.” - Teacher
This has been a massive success for me as an artist. I have learnt that students from year one to year two learn a lot from seeing and copying. This is an important skill in the dance industry, some professionals even struggle with this concept of seeing and copying. I also have gathered that sometimes we speak too often and the verbal information overloads our brain so it was extremely nice to simplify the voice even cut the voice out at times and focus solely on how to communicate via the body.
“The teacher is really on board with Creative Schools. She is already thinking about how to use Creative Schools learning next year. She is choosing a project and then adding the curriculum to the project. We are really on the same page. The students have made a huge shift. I’ve watched a boy who wasn’t able to speak to me when I first joined and last week he told me a whole story and wanted me to help him spell it out.” - Creative Practitioner