Making Movement, Making Meaning: Dance in the Primary School Classroom

By Miriam Torzillo.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There is much evidence from literature, including from brain research, of the value of collaborative dance making to cognition and to social–emotional learning. Dance making is a process, not just a product. Therefore, an appropriate methodology for studying dance will explore dance making as it happens. A multiple embedded case study exploring teacher and student experiences of dance in the primary classroom used multiple sources of data to understand the impact of teaching and learning in dance. Video data was reviewed to identify: student engagement with the movement tasks, such as the use of physically energetic, direct and sustained movement qualities; strategies and processes, e.g. repeating and elaborating on each other’s movement suggestions and physical interactions between teachers and students. Results show that despite variations in teaching strategies and the relational contexts of classrooms, a commitment to the core principle of dance as a tool for meaning making, contributed to student engagement and deep learning.

Keywords: Dance Education, Cognition, Creativity, Dance-making

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2014, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 479.808KB).

Miriam Torzillo

Doctoral Student and Lecturer, Department of Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Qld, Australia