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Combining research genres: Applying complexity thinking to learning how to teach creative dance. Tim Hopper Associate Professor, Past President Canadian Association for Teacher Education (CATE) School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education (EPHE)
Combining research genres: Applying complexity thinking to learning how to teach creative dance Tim Hopper Associate Professor, Past President Canadian Association for Teacher Education (CATE) School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education (EPHE) Faculty of Education. University of Victoria Website: http:/web.uvic.ca
Context of data in this presentation • Elementary generalist teachers learning to teach PE • Two-term school integrated teacher education course • Creative dance taught in the second term of the course in local school by instructor and then student teachers
Creative dance as part of Movement Education Popularized in the 1960’s and 1970’s in the United Kingdom from the approach called “dance for all” advocated by Rudolf Laban (Wall & Murray, 1994). Four principles—body concepts, effort concepts, spatial concepts, and relationship concepts—deal with what the body does, where it moves, how it moves, and with whom or what it moves
Creative DanceWhat does it look like in school? Age 5 and 6 year olds – Example lesson taught by beginning student teachers
Overview • Research genres for new insights • Emergence: Complexity thinking • Grade 6 Creative Dance Story • Complexity learning in the dance • Reflection from student teacher Extension: Planning creative dance lessons
1. What is a research genre?How does it relate to paradigm? A genre is understood as a style or form of representing research data. Genre refers to how we collect data through multiple methods and then analyze that data to then represent it in numerous ways in order to advance the value of the research agenda. A paradigm is a world view, a general perspective, a way of breaking down the complexity of the world. As such paradigms are deeply embedded in the socialization of adherents and practitioners: paradigms tell us what is important, legitimate, and reasonable.
Paradigms (Patton, 1978, p. 203, referenced in Sparkes, 1992, p. 12) …their strength in that it makes action possible, their weakness in that the very reason for action is hidden in the unquestioned assumptions of the paradigm.
Ontology, epistemology and methodology • Ontological understanding refers to “how we know” Is reality external to the individual (external-realist) or the product of individual consciousness (internal-idealist, relativistic)? • Epistemology refers to assumptions made about the nature of knowledge, the claims we make about truth(s) and how we come to know. • Methodology (1) deterministic - theory to predict, (2) voluntaristic – constructed descriptive of reality, (3) plausible – verisimilitude
Scientific and objectivity “Surely there is something out there?”
Ideology Acts upon World as Object Reality out there Truth – Correspondence Cause/effect – predict Research instrument
Naturalistic – Subjective and Inter-subjective knowing “I been there, done that, talked to the people and got a t-shirt”
Ideology Describes and is described by Social World Realist - Reality is intersubjectively constituted Truth – Coherence “Social reality” Researcher-as-instrument
CriticalInter-subjective to emancipate “Why do I feel so unimportant? Surely we can do it a different way?”
Transforms Ideology World Reflects Upon Critical - Reality is in praxis (thought and action) Truth – Catalytic forconscientization Instruments and researcherfor change.
Post-modernInter-subjective and Inter-objective “Who said that? What does it mean? If we can do it and then we can see what happens.”
Evokes to Transform Ideology World Communicates to reflect upon Reality re/constructed in praxis Truth – Verisimilitude Multiple realities Researched/researcher
(2) Emergence:Complexity Thinking
Learning and Complexity Thinking Behaviourism - stimulus leading to certain response. Mind learns through body Learning-as-mechanical process Constructivism – experience that triggers transformation in learner’s structure. Body learns, mind as part of an embodied process Learning-as-organic process
(3) Grade 6 creative dance class“The class from hell”
Creative dance story The following story based on “I’m late…” dance, told by a student teacher, has been written with her permission, based on actual events, but has been shaped to provoke a visceral response for the listener, a sense of being there in the creative dance lesson. Creative non-fiction ethnographic genre (Hopper et al., 2008; Rinehart, 1998; Sparkes, 2002)
(4) Complexity learning in the dance
What is complexity thinking and how does t relate to creative dance? Based on constructivist epistemology Focuses on adaptive, self-organizing systems where learning emerges from experiences that trigger transformations in learners. …pragmatic implications of assuming a complex universe” (Davis, Sumara, 2006, p. 18)
Body as complex structure learns Body as a complex biological-and-experiential structure Mindy’s lesson sense of embodied learning in the comment “children burst into action, in different directions, their bodies taut and stiff.”
Teaching as creating the condition for learning Constructivism…Impossibility of teaching class same thing at the same time. Teaching cannot determine learning but can only create the conditions for certain things to be learned “The children's movements showed a sense of control, rhythm and purpose, their movements indicated focused, playful vitality…they existed in their own special community place created by the imagery and the music.” They created the dance and the dance created them.
Students become self-organizing system that learns Each student (as an agent of system) is “complex structure” that will adapt to an environment; one the student in part co-creates through engagements with other students. The idea of the dance is that you are late," Mindy explained; "you have over slept, that is why you are in a rush. Now take up your sleep positions. Oh nice flop Shaun. Good Kirsty it really looks like you are leaning against something. Identifying body and relationship ideas Mindy allowed the system to learn from actions of agents (students) within it
Openness results from tension between stable and unstable state Initially the system almost went out-of-control when students “initially treated the whole episode as a lark”, but then with Mindy’s focusing feedback became an open system where the “children whizzed off into tense walks which were ready for another spin.” Constrained by Mindy's tasks, students were open to the energy from the dance they co-created, they started to realize a variety of movements showing being late.
Adaptation to environment set by teacher and other students Children closed to start "With a resistance stare; ‘Oh yeah, going to get us to be clouds are you?’" and “'forget it lady'”. "By stressing the dynamic effort quality of walking and pivoting with tension and urgency" Mindy invited diversity, whilst maintaining coherence to the structure of the dance.
Bottom-up as decentralized control emerges Collective intelligence from simple actions like “fast walk” that built into a complex dance containing multiple phrases of music corresponding to certain actions, each action having multiple generative possibilities. The children burst into action, in different directions, their bodies taut and stiff. "CLAP six, CLAP seven and pivot. Well done. That's it keep control...but fast!!”The children whizzed off into tense walks…ready for another spin.
Decentralized control The teacher, though initially at the centre of the lesson, increasingly shifts from this role to initiating new tasks and prompts to more of a engaged observer, guiding, encouraging and showing ideas from one student to others, encouraging diversity and self-organizing awareness
Features of complexity learning Bottom-up as decentralized control emerges Openness results from tension between stable and unstable state Adaptation to environment set by teacher and other students Body as complex structure learns Teaching as creating the condition for learning Students become self-organizing system that learns
(5) Student teacher reflection School Integrated Teacher Education
Ashley comments… (Realist tale) In the peer teaching and the dance unit teaching I had the most fun I have ever had teaching which really passed onto my students…teaching to my peers I discovered things I shouldn’t be doing, as well as things that were positive… really liked getting the feedback from my peers as a teacher and a learner.
She continues… Working with students in the lesson I learned to adapt. When I was struggling to teach the young Korean boy who did not have any English how to dance…initially felt bitter… now more of a positive experience for me not knowing how to handle situation, it really helped me develop as a teacher…how to adapt which is essential for every teacher to know how to do.
Challenging Scholars note that it is challenging to develop tasks that • capture children’s interest, • allow for the children’s developmental range of ability and • can be used to develop their movement qualities (Weiyun Chen & Cone, 2003; Rolfe, 2001; Rovegno, 1992).