Saturday, 15 April 2017

Literature Review and Key Texts

Across this weekend my literature review is mostly falling into place (I think) after receiving some feedback. I have identified four key texts that help support my research project in terms of whether dancers benefit fundamentally in regards to their progress and career when participating in examinations and competitions. Three of which key texts will be discussed in this blog...

Kleiman (2007) discusses how creativity and assessment are not mutually exclusive terms and therefore when assessing creativity, the assessment process must be fair, valid and reliable and also experienced and perceived to be so. When training for exams (as the place where I teach have just started to do this), I believe it would be fairly reliable to say that via the board, all examiners are highly regarded and well trained. Learners will be assessed fairly according to the guidelines of the syllabus and the marking criteria. Learners receive their grades, certificates and feedback that is individually tailored to that individual learner. As much as this process seems fairly straightforward and a 'no brainer' in terms of 'this would definitely suit my learners' unfortunately there is lack of interest in exams. These learners are competitive dancers and have been educated in a school that learn choreography at speed for up and coming competitions. They win a a lot or get placed a lot. They are successful across various competitions and therefore individual talent is recognised through a different route - one that brings medals and that feeling of 'success' bringing out the competitive edge in these learners. They are used to working for that short term goal and are successful in this approach. 

Kolb's learning cycle (1974) learning involves four stages; concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation. As learners recognise they are good at something it instills that self belief, the self actualisation that enables them to confirm they are good at something. As much as this may very well be true, can we bank on the opinion of an adjudicator on that particular day to confirm that this is fact? With so much more to take into consideration such as; the other competitors on the day, level of talent and ability, the amount of people who have entered the competition and of course the adjudicators personal choice. Therefore does winning and getting placed necessarily stand for anything? Or is it more beneficial to a dancers career to have those qualifications that essentially 'prove' something has been worked for and achieved?

Examinations require a lot more study, a longer time to improve and progress and therefore this requires more from the human character; determination, motivation, hard work, repetition, motivation, rehearsal etc etc's more of a long term goal and process. As thought by Dewey (1916) education is dominated by specific goals encouraging a static educational process that creates a separation between the activity, the student and the goal itself, where education should be a continuous process as opposed to goal-directed activity. Therefore, this contradicts that period of exam study and perhaps short term goals are better for the individual learner? Perhaps short term success is something that increases self esteem and progress and therefore continually encourages the learner to keep going developing motivation?


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