Thursday, 6 October 2016

Skype Call Sunday 2nd October 2016

Really enjoyed the Skype call on Sunday this last week. The Journey. We often seem to talk around this theme as we look at where we are all coming from, which seems to be so diverse, where we are and where we are going to. I think the longer I am on this course the more I have appreciated the Skype conversations and now feel bolder to contribute without feeling like what I'm saying isn't valid. I say this to encourage those of you who are on the first module. The question that I asked and wanted to talk about we didn't really get to, which is absolutely fine, but I have put something about it on LinkedIn which I'm hoping people will respond to.
We discussed reflections and whether they are a means to an end, a beginning of something or part of the journey. I think they are all 3. We often start a journey reflecting on something, for instance when we start on module one we are reflecting on our journey up to this point. What have we learnt before we got to this MA stage of our learning journey. For me the first module made me realise that I actually have a broad amount of learning that I hadn't even fully realised was there. Not to say I know everything as if I knew everything I wouldn't be on this course! There are areas of our teaching that we want to learn more about and this is what we start to reflect on through module two. Finally narrowing that down was hard!!
Now in module three I'm still reflecting as I gather the evidence of my research and realise that actually my thinking and reflections are changing. Is this OK? On talking with Helen this morning she says yes and that even this is part of the process/journey of learning and therefore part of the research.
I'm excited about my research at the moment as I look at the interviews I've already done, read more literate that helps to ignite my thoughts and look at the experience I have through working with my students. Yes I worked out what triangulation is!!!! I get frustrated though as well as I start to see things in a new light and wonder why others don't see it the way I do. Why does our society seem to put so much emphasis on the brain and think lower of our bodies even disregard our bodies and their intelligence? I've just read an article from The Guardian that talks about children and young people and the rise of mental health issues which apparently the government sees as one of it's priorities to deal with and yet the pressure on children to do well academically at school has increased and continues to increase? Anyone else see a correlation?
Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Skype call 3rd April 2016

A great Skype call today. I've been doing lots of group interviews over the last couple of months but work has been so crazy that I haven't been on top of reading. I'm going to defer until January so I can get the most out of this journey. I was asking the question about how people have decided on their artefacts?  Julie said to try to think about how the people I want to reach to tell them about my research would be able to hear it. How will they be able to access the information in the easiest way? Adesola was saying how can you show the process and how you did it? It's another way to show what you've learnt rather than in an academic way, not being locked into the university world.
It's not just been work that has been crazy this last term but my youngest son has been studying for year 6 SAT's which the school are piling on the pressure for. We keep telling him that the tests actually mean nothing for him as he already has his secondary school, but he puts pressure on himself. Although for my research I'm looking at GCSE girls and how dancing and continuing their dance during their GCSE's has an effect, I'm becoming more and more aware of what an exam testing orientated society we live in and if a child doesn't conform to where the government says they should be at a certain time they are labelled.  Surely this isn't right. We all learn in different ways and at different times and we are all good at different things. Why are we telling people there is only one way?
Questions and finding answers. The more I study and read and look at dance and life the more I realise I don't know much, although I thought I did! We may ask questions and not get a definite answer or there may be more than 1 answer. Society generally tells us there is an answer and it's right or wrong. Does this lead back to the exam society? Are we trained froma young age to think like this when actually life isn't always like this? Trying to retrain your brain  may therefore be hard but maybe this is what needs to be done in order to accept what we know to be true, we learn through experience and through our bodies not just through text books. Maybe this is why when I'm talking to people about what I'm learning it seems to start to make more sense.
What do you think?

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Skype call

Really enjoyable Skype call tonight. Some really interesting discussions on getting back into studying, critical reading, transcribing, working with peole who don't want to take dance as their career and processes. I'm trying to work out whether or not to transcribe the whole of my group discussions or whether to just transcribe the parts I feel are relevant. Ainsley was saying how beneficial it had been for her to completely transcribe as it had given her opportunity to listen without being part of the discussion and she heard different things. Someone else was saying that they had just transcribed the parts that were relevant and still had them as audio files . How do you put onto paper people's thoughts and voice intonation? I'm sure I'll find my way but wondering if anyone else has any ideas or thoughts on this? It was interesting to see how Suzy put clips of her actually interviews into her oral presentation.  We talked about how this showed her interviews were quite informal and how where you conduct the interview can make a difference as to what happens in the interview. We also talked about how to guide the interview or discussion and how to draw out quieter people. Ainsley said her surveys had really seen the quieter people come out to say things. I was due to have my second group discussion yesterday but unfortunately it wasn't able to take place. I'm looking forward to the next one as I'm finding them so interesting.
Processes!  It's something that is coming up all over the place. Life is a process and I feel we need to stop looking at the outcomes and results of things we are doing and focus on the process and what we are learning from that. Society is so focused on the end product and not always interested in how we get there.  However, that's often the interesting bit and makes us what we are and what we've learnt. One of the reasons I deferred my first module was I was enjoying the process of writing the AOL's and I have no time limits on doing this MA so why rush a process. Yes it's important to try to stick to deadlines but its about balance as well.
Hoping you are all enjoying the process. What will happen this term? Excited!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Ethical Consideration

So I'm finally deciding that I'd like to look at the psychological side of teaching dance. What will this mean as far as ethical consideration is concerned?
-I'm looking at psychological issues in children so I will need parental permission for all children involved.
-I will need my DBS check to be in place.
-Some parents may wish to see any questionnaires or want to know the sort of information being asked of their children, so I will need to provide them with this.
-If I decide to video any classes again parental permission will need to be attained.
I will need to check the insurance policy of where I work to check I'm covered for the work and research I want to do.
-I will need to obtain permission from my work place to carry out this research.
-I will need to have the children's agreement to be involved in the research.

Anyone with any further thoughts would be gratefully received.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Why are you thankful for dance?

I saw a Facebook post called "Why are you thankful for dance?" which Ainsley posted and after reading it wanted to add my thoughts. It could almost be a research question!
I'm thankful for dance for many reasons and these have changed over the years, however I think they all contribute to who I am today. When I was little about 6 years old my parents divorced. For various reasons I had to grow up quick but my dancing was where I could be who I wanted to be, which was me. I wasn't the little girl in between my parents or trying to put on a brave face because our family home was being sold. I could express myself while I was dancing and loved the exertion and complexity that I was being asked to do. The studios became my home from home.
When I moved from Australia to England at the age of 14, dance was my connection to my home of Australia. It was what I knew in a world that had become very unfamiliar. Having lived in a country which was very safe and I could go where I wanted pretty much whenever I wanted, to an all girls boarding school in Hertfordshire in the middle of nowhere. Dancing was my release and my safe place.
At dance college I found a new way to express myself other than ballet which is what I had done largely up until then. Contemporary dance released so much more and going to London Contemporary Dance School to study contemporary and choreography allowed me to delve deeper. I gained new movement to express myself and my new Christian faith.
Teaching allows me to pass on my love of dance and still allows me time to look at how I'm developing and growing as a person with and through my dance.
Dance for me is a vital connection into who I am as a person. Not just as a teacher but as a wife, mother, friend and Christain. I am thankful that dance has been a part of who I am to help me in life and to help me to understand myself better.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Martha Graham and George Balanchine

Martha Graham and George Balanchine
Notions of knowledge,certainty and body positivism.
I've really enjoyed looking at these two incredible people who had such a huge impact on American dance and also dance worldwide. They came from very different perspectives in Graham wanting to dance in an expressive way that wasn't controlled by what she saw as the confines of Ballet technique. Balanchine came from a very classical  view point and wanted to to see this ballet technique developed. Graham created a movemnet vocabulary for the human body to express itself whereas Balanchine used the existing ballet vocabulary to express. I beleieve both had an uderstanding that their bodies were able to express and learn through movement often by-passing their brains. Balanchine is quoted as saying, "Don't think, dear, do!".

Graham is quoted as saying "I wanted to begin not with characters or ideas, but with movements... I wanted significant movement. I wanted it to be fraught with inner meaning, with excitement and surge." Balanchine also often started with movements rather than characters and was the first to develop a full length ballet without story line in "Jewels".

Whilst Graham wanted to impact political and social views in society with dance that reflected much of this, Balanchine wanted to create an audience that could appreciate the Arts in all their 'beauty'. They both were challenging the world around them but in very different ways. Graham's way was far more raw and wanted to get to the heart of issues whereas Balanchine wanted to create culture in America and it to be American not European.

They both believed that the body was an instrument to be used to communicate experience as action. Not necessarily stories but they were able to show the experience they had of life through the body and therefore understood the body could gain knowledge through experience. Therefore they both must have beleieved in embodiment.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Skype call 4th October 2015

Finding Time
We spent quite a while talking and sharing about ways to 'find time' to study for our MA. I found this extremely useful as I tend to be the sort of person who likes to block out chunks of time and if that gets interupted I struggle and feel like I'm on a slippery path away from ever getting to do the MA. Some useful advise was to make sure your family are on board ,which I know mine are. However sometimes they forget!! Also to get work on board which I know I haven't particularly done and will try to do.
The next thing was to find small pockets of time. I get to the point where if I have a spare 30 min I think I haven't got time to get anything significant done, so I don't. Some of the others on the skype call were encouraging to say use this time to read even just a few pages of a book or go back over something already done. If I can make a list of things that I need to do then when I have a few moments then I can jump straight back in where I left off.
Another suggestion was to keep notepads and pens around the house so that if you think of something that is related to your MA you can easily jot it down. Helen was also suggesting that if you're in the car to use voice memos.
Finally having cut everything into bit size chunks the other suggestion was to take a whole day and sit in a library without your phone so that you can get away and really focus,
I'm hoping to try a combination of the above and really hoping that this term goes really well.