Delivery mechanisms before project
My research follows four stages (observation/literature, interviews/questionnaires, dance measurement and analysis) which move successively through Bloom’s Taxonomy to foster skill development (Bloom, 1959).
I researched dance-science literature [Appendix-1] and observed teachers in various contexts [Appendix-2] to link theory to delivery mechanisms. I also reflected on my teaching practice by completing a SWOT analysis before [Appendix-3] and following [Appendix-4] research to identify changes to my teaching.
Prior to qualitative interviews, I emailed stakeholders (students, secondary/tertiary teachers and educational bodies) with a letter outlining the research [Appendix-5], consent form [Appendix-6] and interview questions differentiated by context [Appendix-7]. This method ensured confidentiality and rapid means of voluntary consent. Informal one-one interviews were recorded, transcribed and checked by interviewees [Appendix-8]. Comparison of key concepts in responses highlighted viewpoints underlying issues in teaching-learning [Appendix-9].
My reflections on interviews were expanded by quantitative research and qualitative observations of first year male students in collaboration with PE and Science faculties. Planning of research mechanisms and delivery was essential [Appendix-10]. Parents, students and the head-teacher received a letter informing them of research processes and they returned consent forms [Appendix-11].
Three randomly selected classes completed the research and results were divided by gender and dance ability. Lesson plans were divided into three types based on main delivery mechanism [Appendix-12/13/14]. Each plan ensured learners understood the purpose and completion of each activity, worked safely and gained feedback and lifeskills. Risk assessments [Appendix-15] covered each lesson type. Before research, learning levels, knowledge capacity and differentiation required was established from class records to account for learners’ individual needs related to activity, behaviour and participation.
Delivery mechanisms during project
In Lesson Appendix-12, the pre-talk powerpoint [Appendix-16] was used to introduce and explain student’s role and activities. This visual and auditory supply of information supported the command teaching style allowing information to be delivered quickly on use of equipment, behaviour and safe dance practice. Students opinions were gathered in a written questionnaire [Appendix-17]. The activity then changed from read-write to kinaesthetic as students measured a partner’s height and weight [Appendix-18]. The teaching style changed correspondingly to guided discovery-convergent to check completion. The range of activities effectively maintained attention and provided students with responsibility for directing measurement skills [Appendix-19].
In Lesson Appendix-13, teaching styles were compared in a teacher-led warm-up and circuit of teacher-guided warm-up movements. Students’ feedback identified the preferred warm-up style [Appendix-20]. Both warm-ups were differentiated by outcome.
Allocation of tasks actively involved students in measurement of range of motion and jump length and height to investigate effects of static and dynamic stretches. Participation and movement was videoed for analysis. Students were active either moving, videoing, measuring turnout and stretch-reach or monitored technique [Appendix-21]. Stretches were selected to be readily reproduced by students copying the teacher or following the stretch worksheet [Appendix-22].
In Lesson Appendix-14, students completed data analysis using the computer programme ‘Tracker’. The class practiced one example in a teacher-led activity and then measured their performances. Guided-discovery teaching style allowed individual assistance. Additional analysis was completed by the teacher and individualised results positively informed dance practice [Appendix-23].
Successful delivery depends on interpersonal and communication skills to work with and encourage students in each setting [Appendix-24].
Delivery mechanisms after project
Experiences and outcomes can move learners beyond self-limiting boundaries and redirect teaching from existing create-refine-appreciate. The monitoring process had two levels; formal assessment of interviews, questionnaires and movement provided by student/tutor measurements [Appendix-9/17/18/20/23/24] and informal assessment after each lesson of observed participation and progress [Appendix-19/21]. This forms a log of interactions and reflections and my judgements about levels of understanding. Passive dissemination of findings informs my research and allows individualised feedback on effects of stretching on range of movement and jump performance. Presentation of averaged class results allows peer-review and setting of next learning-steps. CPD conferences allow effective teaching and learning between dance-science to be showcased and consideration of content that encourages male dancers.
Learning environments before project
Dance has potential to interest all learners and positively impact on health and wellbeing if the learning environment (physical and virtual) provides all learners with access and safe practice. This research investigates the benefit of two learning environments (dance studio and ICT suite).
The environment must be conducive to learning. The dance studio was light and open with sprung flooring and mirrored walls. This contrasted the warm ICT suite with computers round the outside where students can work in pairs. Both areas were in a modern school building close to toilets, fire exits and water facilities. To prepare for lesson progression and safe practice resources in both settings were set up in advance. The camera viewed the whole room. In the studio, distance markers were positioned on the floor and music encouraged movement in warm up. Students removed footwear to keep the floor clean and prevent slipping. In the ICT suite, the ‘Tracker’ programme was set up with student videos and pre-calibrated. Safe practice was ensured by risk assessment [Appendix-15].
Learning environments during project
Learning environments were constructivist as learners were engaged in active self-directed and cooperative activities. Different mechanisms ensured dance was accessible by all. Learners worked independently during interviews and questionnaires but collaboratively exchanged ideas during measurements and worked in pairs during ICT analysis (Grasha & Reichmann, 1974). Personalities were accommodated by providing opportunity for processing information, decision making, evaluating their environment and by partnering introverts-extroverts (Keirsey & Bates, 1984). Learners process information using the four learning styles during powerpoints, interviews, questionnaires, demonstrations, computing and dancing (Klob et al, 2001). Each learning environment is inclusive, engaging learners with a variety of tools to develop beyond their current knowledge level. In each lesson, students were exposed to learning environments removed from the traditional classroom to increase participation and self-esteem.
Instructional strategies used dance terminology. After introducing concepts the teacher facilitated, creating an environment where partners or small groups discussed, evaluated and learned actively. Language was the main tool supporting thinking, reasoning and cultural activities (Vygotsky, 1978). By providing an environment focused on positive aspects of performance learners had opportunity to exchange opinions which developed understanding and technique.
Learning environments after project
This research informed the teaching of males and impacted on the learning environment by defining the effectiveness of scientific skills, ICT and skill acquisition. Student feedback on progress, enjoyment and understanding [Appendix-9/17/20] was central to developing the learning experience and indicated the effectiveness of the dance-science approach. This provided a sustainable learning environment by shaping future teaching strategies. Engagement in dance research provided physical motivation, confidence and collaboration. Holistic dance experiences may provide learners with reasons to be physically active and promote continued health and wellbeing.
Grasha AF and Reichmann SW (1974) A rational to developing and assessing the construct validity of a student learning styles scale instrument. Journal of Psychology. 87: 213-223.
Keirsey D & Bates M, (1984) Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types. Syber Books, Melbourne. IBSN: 0960695400.
Kolb, D. A., Boyatzis, R. E., & Mainemelis, C. (2001). Experiential learning theory: Previous research and new directions. Perspectives on thinking, learning, and cognitive styles, 1, 227-247. URL: http://learningfromexperience.com/research_library/experiential-learning-theory/
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) Interaction between learning and development. Mind and Society. Pages 79-91. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, (1978).
REPRINTED IN: Readings on the Development of Children. W. H. Freeman & Company New York. URL: http://www.psy.cmu.edu/~siegler/vygotsky78.pdf.