Dance in the curriculum

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    Booting the tutu: teachers and dance in the classroom

    Ralph Buck (National Institute for Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland) focuses on how we might develop sustainable dance education practice in the primary school classroom. He emphasises the importance of changing perceptions about dance in terms of the associations with femininity, ability, performance, mastery of skill and elitism.

    Dancing with information and communication technologies

    Felicity Mandile (Virtual Schooling Service, Education Queensland) talks about the World Dance unit embedded within the VSS Dance Course and in particular, an innovative project that utilised videoconferencing technology to create a collaborative choreographic environment between two indigenous groups of students.

    Shape Shifting: choreographic process as research

    Linda Ashley (AUT University, Auckland) presents findings from an action research project focusing on a series of creative dance workshops. This paper includes a philosophical examination of cognition during the choreographic process in terms of educational value, and also how the process of choreography itself, is research.

    Sustaining dance education in New Zealand

    This paper explores challenges facing dance educators working with pre-service primary teachers in the New Zealand context. An analysis and comparison of two national curriculum documents raises the question—how should a pre-service teacher education program for primary teachers respond to the demands of recent curriculum reforms? This paper discusses changes in teacher education that have had an impact on dance educators’ responses to curriculum demands. It details this impact using one particular teacher education institution (the University of Waikato) and discusses show how a cohort of students in 2008 views the current dance education provision. In conclusion, it offers an outline of some ways forward for dance educators.


    Dance part of every young person’s education!

    Participating in dance provides creative, healthy and stimulating experiences for young Australians. Dance is now a part of the Australian Curriculm which means every young person will have the opportunity to experience dance. This offers huge potential for developing creativity and innovation across the curriculum.



    Dance, young people and change

    Dance, Young People and Change brought together young people, parents, educators and others from around the world to share and consider the role of dance in young people’s lives. It provided critical evaluation and reflection on approaches to dance learning, teaching and curriculum for young people and offered opportunities to critique the relevance of dance for young people within education and community contexts.

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    Supporting arts in the curriculum

    Ausdance National has prepared a submision to the review of the Australian Curriculum. The review has been established by the Federal Government to examine the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum.

    In February the National Curriclum for the Arts was published and we are keen to see it implemented. Ausdance has long been an advocate for well-resourced and informed curricula for dance and the arts. The benefit of a consistent curriculum across jurisdictions allows teachers, educators and arts professionals to develop and share approaches to learning.

    Read Ausdance National's submision to the review of the Australian Curriculum.

    UNESCO International Arts Education Week

    Arts for Peace

    May 19 – 24

    On 23 May 2012 Irina Bokova, Director General, United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO), launched the inaugural International Arts Education Week (IAEW) at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris.

    Attended by leading international arts education scholars and practitioners, the shared vision was to define an integrated strategy that responds to a critical moment in human history: social fragmentation, a dominant global culture of competition, endemic urban and ecological violence, and the marginalization of key educational and cultural languages of transformation.

    The launch and celebration drew attention to the role arts education plays in a global agenda of peace and cultural understanding (see UNESCO charter).

    Advocacy kit

    The World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE) is pleased to launch an advocacy kit that celebrates the contributions of the arts to the lives and learning experiences of individuals and groups across the globe.

    The advocacy kit has been developed  by WAAE members A/Prof Ralph Buck (World Dance Alliance) and Dr Robin Pascoe (International Association for Drama/Theatre Education) in collaboration with representatives from InSEA and ISME.

    The kit is intended to provide those involved in arts education in schools and communities with ideas and practical strategies to promote the arts disciplines as a fundamental human right. The kit also provides an historical overview of the WAAE and its organisation, and the contributions and partnerships that exist between the arts education sector, UNESCO and other key organisations.

    Arts curriculum available online now

    Five art forms for all young Australians!

    The Australian curriculum for the arts, health and physical education, technologies, economics and business, and civics and citizenship for Foundation – Year 10 is now available on the Australian Curriculum website.

    The publication of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts represents a special moment in the history of Australian dance education, with dance now officially one of five art form subjects in the national curriculum. States and territories and education authorities will determine implementation timelines for schools. This is the result of many years of advocacy by Ausdance through the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) and the Australia Council with teachers, associations, education departments and State and Territory education ministers.

    However, the Education Minister has recently decided to review the National Curriculum and the NAAE has made a submission to this Review, calling for the implementation of the Arts curriculum in its present form. The NAAE is concerned about the prospect of more delays and tweaking that may result in a less-than-optimal curriculum. The NAAE acknowledges that there is some content that is still subject to further revision, but this revision must take place in the context of rigorous trials by classroom teachers.

    The Chairman of the ACARA board, Professor Barry McGaw has made a clarifying statement about the cross-curriculum priorities noting that they are "options, not orders".

    Sandra Gattenhof, Assoc. Professor, QUT Creative Industries Faculty, School of Media, Entertainment, Creative Arts, Drama said:

    This is a historic moment in Australian arts curriculum. For the first time ever, and even internationally I would argue, we have a curriculum that provides an entitlement for young Australians to all five art forms. This will have enormous implication on the expectations of what can be achieved in secondary schools, in tertiary institutions and ultimately on the cultural life and heritage for Australia.

    Listen to Sandra Gattenhof's keynote delivered at the Educators' Performing Arts Market.

    The Benefits of Arts Participation in Schools

    Benefits of arts participation in schools

    The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Sydney University and the Australia Council for the Arts have just released this video about how participation in the arts at school has valuable and long-term benefits for children of all ages and abilities, in terms of both academic and non-academic outcomes and achievements.

    Studies have shown that students who frequently participate in the arts are "more academically engaged...and motivated...and also have higher self-esteem..and a greater sense of meaning in life."

    Speakers are Associate Professor Michael Anderson (Sydney University) Dr David Sudmalis (Australia Council for the Arts) and Professor Andrew Martin (Sydney University)

    Watch video now.

    New research on benefits of arts education

    The Australia Council for the Arts joined with University of Sydney to undertake a longitudinal study on the impact of school, home and commuity based arts participation. The study, available through the Journal of Education Psychology, found students who are involved in the arts have higher school motivation, engagement in class, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.

    Students who participate in dance, drama, music, and visual arts showed more positive academic and personal wellbeing outcomes than students who were not as involved in the arts.

    Academic outcomes included motivation, homework completion, class participation, enjoyment of school, and educational aspirations, while personal wellbeing measures considered such factors as self-esteem, life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose.

    Active participation, more than simply being an observer or audience member, also yielded stronger positive effects on school and personal wellbeing outcomes in the study.

    The study, in examining in-school and out-of-school arts engagement noted essential elements (such as engagement and active participation) must be present in out-of-school activities to ensure a quality and beneficial experience, rather than the participation being just a time commitment.

    The co-authors of the study commented on the clear outcome of the reserach for greater intergration of arts into the school environment. Associate Professor Michael Anderson

    This study provides new and compelling evidence that the arts should be central to schooling and not left on the fringes

    Dr David Sudmalis, Australia Council Acting Director Community Partnerships

    Not only does this study demonstrate that the arts help deliver positive outcomes in engagement and motivation for students outside of the arts domain, it also shows that high quality, participatory arts education has the greatest impact. These important findings show the significance of partnerships between the arts and education sectors, where artists and teachers work together to develop students’ expertise in and through the arts.

    Find out more from the Australia Council

    DEAS2013 report

    In schools there are some good dancers, some who are not. But it doesn’t matter. Dance should be accessible, enjoyable and shared.

    These wise words from ACT teacher Mardi Roberts-Bolton underlined why Ausdance continues to focus on Dance Education in Australian Schools (DEAS). The 2013 DEAS forum, with a new national curriculum on the horizon, was focused on providing teachers and policy makers with the capacity to ensure dance is accessible and enjoyed by all. DEAS2013 took place in Melbourne from 26 to 27 September. Policy makers and professional dancers from across Australia joined together for two days of learning, sharing and practical skills development.

    Martin Dixon MP, Minister for Education in Victoria welcomed participants to the forum acknowledging the need to harness our innate ability for dance in schools. Mr Dixon noted the prominent role of dance in many cultures and the way dance can be an accessible way of growing cross-cultural understanding. In talking about the benefits of integrating dance into the curriculum, Minister Dixon noted it won't be a one size fits all approach and schools should have the freedom to teach the curriculum for local benefit, building partnerships with local artists.

    Key note speaker for DEAS2013 was Professor Brian Caldwell. Professor Caldwell is a leading researcher and has been examining the benefits of arts in schools. Recent studies he has undertaken with partners such as the SongRoom have found strong evidence of the benefit of arts for all aspects of the learning environment. Attendance increases, and literacy and numeracy improve as a result of arts based programs. Professor Caldwell noted that arts are vital in every school, at every level.

    Linda Lorenza from ACARA outlined how the new Arts Curriculum will be accessible online, once it is cleared for publication. The Curriculum was approved by State and Territory Education ministers prior to the Federal Election, but there are still some revisions to be progressed before the final curriculum is available.

    Professional dance companies are working to ensure teachers looking for resources to support the delivery of dance in schools will be able to access high quality and relevant tools. Sydney Dance Company, Restless Dance Theatre and Tasdance provided a snapshot of work currently underway, connections companies are making with young people and opportunities for future engagement.

    Jason Coleman, renowned choreographer, studio owner and judge from ‘So you think you can dance’ entrained DEAS participants with his story sharing the joy of dance and leading the group in some moves. Jason listed the five things he learnt from dancing: hard-work, passion, team work, confidence and the ability to use your body and mind. He continues to teach these to his dance students as they are useful lessons for life, whatever you end up doing.

    To close day one of discussions at DEAS2013 a new publication by Ausdance VIC’s Education and Training Manager Dr Katrina Rank was launched. Teaching Primary Dance, which provides practical insights to teaching dance in primary schools, will be available following the finalisation of the National Curriculum.

    Day Two

    Jeff Meiners, University of SA and drafting contributor to the dance curriculum started day two by asking participants to consider our connections across Australia as dance practitioners and how the new dance curriculum can be used to change culture—ensuring great connection and engagement with the arts.

    Three school-based dance teachers shared their experiences (good and bad) of teaching dance. Jacqui Fenwick, currently based in Victoria, discussed the particular challenges and benefits of engaging young boys in dance, noting recent research from UK that showed more boys want to be dancers than fireman as their future profession. Mardi Roberts-Bolton, working in the ACT, spoke of the struggle of turning a professional dance career into that of a successful dance teacher, and the long journey to overcome prejudice in schools from students and teachers. Mardi’s advice: ‘expertise counts for nothing if you can’t translate it for your students’. Renee Place, working in distance education in QLD, spoke of the benefits of new technology in engaging regional young people and the strength of networking with other teachers.

    Dance in Schools – The teachers' experience. DEASJacqui Fenwick, Mardi Roberts-Bolton and Renee Place talk about their experience teaching dance in schools.

    The afternoon saw a group of teachers and educators heading to The Australian Ballet to work with their Dance Ensemble and experience hands-on their in-school program. Others focused their discussions on the challenges and opportunities arising from the new curriculum and the future of dance education in Australian schools. The ideas and questions arising from this session are being reviewed by Ausdance staff and will inform our work in the coming years.

    Stacey Hattensen, from Education Services Australia then gave an overview of Scootle—digital resources in support of the national curriculum. It is anticipated as the new arts curriculum is finalised more resources will be available and more teachers will be able to access them through Scootle.

    Dance Education in Australian Schools 2013 ended with participants sharing their visions for dance in schools in 2015 and 2030. Ideas included 1) access to live performance and digital resources would be commonplace, 2) a strong community will allow teachers to share ideas and tools, and 3) students and parents will have a strong understanding of the place of dance in Australia’s history and future.

    20 plus sticky notes with aspirations for dance in schools in 2015 and 2030

    Visit the 2013 Dance Education in Australian Schools project page to view presentations.

    NAAE welcomes new Arts Curriculum

    The National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) has warmly welcomed news the ACARA Board has approved the new The Australian Curriculum: The Arts. NAAE, of which Ausdance is a member, has strongly supported the development of the arts curriculum and its central principle of the entitlement of every young Australian to an arts education, one that includes all five artforms – dance, drama, media arts, music and the visual arts.

    Leap forward for dance education in 2012

    The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

    This has been an important year in the evolution of the new national dance curriculum.

    One of five arts subject with its own body of knowledge, teaching strategies and learning outcomes, dance is soon to take its place in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts.

    We have continued to work with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on various drafts of the curriculum throughout 2012, engaging with teachers where the tight timelines for consultation have allowed, and keeping dance educators up to date with regular email bulletins.

    Consultation for draft Arts curriculum about to end

    The consultation period for The Australian Curriculum: The Arts has been extended until midnight tonight (25 September), so here's a last opportunity to have your say via ACARA's consultation portal.

    Ausdance National has already responded in some detail, thanks to some excellent work by Victorian dance teachers, facilitated by Dr Katrina Rank, Ausdance Victoria's Education & Training Manager.

    We also received feedback from individual teachers from around Australia, especially from Queensland, and have incorporated their responses into the Ausdance response.

    Teachers have generally been very positive about the draft Dance curriculum, and we hope our detailed response will help to refine it further.

    We're looking forward to seeing the final version, so watch this space for further updates.

    Draft arts curriculum launched for consultation

    Ausdance welcomes the launch of the draft of The Australian Curriculum: The Arts for public consultation, announced yesterday by The Federal Minister for School Education, the Hon. Peter Garrett. The consultation period will be for three months, until 23 September.

    The new curriculum will, for the first time, entitle all young people to learning in dance at school, a major breakthrough for students and dance educators. The four other subjects in the arts curriculum are drama, media arts, music and visual arts.

    Ausdance has played a strong lobbying role in having dance included in The Australian Curriculum: The Arts, and has supported ACARA—the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority—in the development of the dance curriculum.

    We encourage you, as dance teachers in schools, students and parents, to continue having your say throughout this next consultation stage.

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