Sunday, 12 March 2017

Literature Review, Research and Interview Techniques!

My main focus of today has been to understand more about what the expectations are for this module. I have submitted my literature review for feedback where I drew upon two key texts. My project will be looking into whether dance examinations and competitions are compulsory to a dancers learning experience and dance career, and furthermore whether the type of summative assessment received via exams and competitions is fundamental to a dancers learning. Both exams and competitions are summative assessment and success is benchmarked through how high the grades / marks are, how good the feedback is that has been received or whether the dancers are placed with a medal in the competition. My first key text is Dewey (1916) who believes that learning is a continuous process as opposed to goal-directed study. Dewey further believes that although long-term goals are important, they are just as important as the short-term goals in learning. In reading this, I felt this struck a chord for me in terms of teaching dancers on a week by week basis. Dance exams are marked according to the exercises that are undertaken specifically composed by the exam board and dance competitions are geared around how well that dancer performs on the day. Although these goals are useful to have and enable us to measure progress with support from external sources such as an examiner and adjudicator, the continuous process of learning is fundamental in class on a weekly basis to ensure learners are developing all round technique and solidifying their knowledge according to each dance discipline. Feeding back to learners formatively on a weekly basis enables us as teachers to measure progress more regularly than that of competitions and exams and therefore echoes Dewey's description of learning being continuous and long-term. 

My second key text was Maslow (1954) who believes that society is too dominated by results that then force us to lose humanistic and naturalistic experiences. He believes dancers are not proven to be good or successful through following an exam board and should be encouraged to lose their inhibitions and self-consciousness through dance. This was very interesting to my chosen topic of research and has encouraged me to think differently about how I can tailor my dance classes to consider naturalistic and humanistic experiences through class based exercises. For instance, by creating exercises that enable the dancer to listen to a piece of music or explore a stimulus that encourages them to channel their inner feelings related to that particular song or stimulus helps them to feel and link their emotions as part of a routine. Therefore, they are thinking, listening, feeling and encouraging their bodies to move according to all of these aspects. When creating competition dances, I have now taken on an approach to discuss with my learners about how pieces make them feel or how they feel a stimulus should be represented in a dance routine. Therefore, it is encouraging them to think more independently and they are not being told how to feel or think. Their own participation to routines has proved valid to the way they perform as opposed to following teacher led choreography. 

I have considered the next step for my research which is interviews and I have a range of students from beginner to advanced. I aim to conduct mostly one to one interviews, although will select a small group for interview too. This helps me to broaden my experience of interviews and different techniques. These interviews will be held with learners from varying experiences, some have only ever competed in dance and one learner has only ever done examinations. I am interested to gain different responses according to the questions I will ask. I feel the indication towards my interviewing will be semi-structured as I want my interviewees to elaborate on their answers as opposed to closed questions. I feel this will help me to gain a range of responses to form my qualitative data as well as gaining opinions from varying dance backgrounds and experiences. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    Reading this post made me think of a research study about feedback that I recently read. The article is about feedback for learning (so, feedback for feed-forward) instead of feedback of learning. Maybe that is something to think about when reflecting on assessment. Does assessment necessarily have to be marked, especially in dance? Can one design assessment methods for learning? Would that be (more) beneficial for the dancer's learning process? I guess this couldn't really work for competitions as competitions are there to find "the best" dancer or group of dancers. But I find it very interesting that you changed the approach of creating competition dances. I believe that this new approach greatly supports learning and makes participating in competitions more beneficial. Looking forward to reading more about your project.

    Todd, VJ, McIlroy, D, (2014) “Application of formalised developmental feedback for feed-forward to foster student ownership of the learning process”, Psychology Learning and Teaching, Vol. 13, p. 137-143.