If life is what happens to our plans, then dance is what happens to our steps.
ideas sometimes when you wait they come to you.
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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Campus session: ideas and theory

Campus session March 16th

We had a Hendon campus session on March 16th. It was great afternoon. We talked in the classroom and also went to the Shepard Library on campus.

This is an overview of the conversation:

We talked about ideas and theory.
What do they do? In the first module you are introduced to three ideas:
-       The idea of reflection
-       The idea of networks
-       The idea of communication (via the web particularly)

These ideas are threads that will run through the whole of the course (all three modules). They are not taught pieces of information to memorize and write about at the end. They are ideas to stimulate your thinking about your own Professional Practice deeply or differently. Therefore, the order you are introduced to them is not important but we had to choose an order  (that is the one in the Module Handbook). So, do not think of them like a tree, building up from starting a blog at the beginning of Module One and layering up to handing-in an artefact in Module Three – this is like a tree model. As if you were climbing up something.

Instead think of them all as equally feeding your understanding of your Professional Practice – like a rhizome.

each idea is a shoot (an idea shoot) that connects underground. You cannot see the connections from above ground. Your study is about finding the connections. So it is not about climbing a tree of ideas we have put there for you. It is about nurturing ideas, looking at them carefully and finding the connections between them and you. Connections that will be different for different people because all your professional practices are different.

So at the end of each module what you hand-in is the result of looking carefully at the ideas that have manifested during the term. And then making connections between those ideas and your professional practice.

So that being said, what could we say about 'theory'?
Theory could be thought of as what someone else has come up with having done that process of looking at ideas carefully and making connections for themselves. So you can link your connections with connections (theory) someone else has made and published about. They have spent more time looking carefully so you can often be guided by (their) theory.
BUT theory is not a justification for you to do what you want!!

Theory is a specific set of connections someone has made. You can’t pick and choose – “I will cite Smith about this connection and ignore that connection she made.” !! It is not about agreeing with every thing Smith said. But you have to know enough about Smith that if you cite her as why you are doing something in one place you can explain why you are not doing something else she said in another place. 

Theory is not a neat bag to wrap-up your actions in. Its not an excuse to do something you want to do. Theory is more like the core of what you are doing it indicates what you should do. We talked about theory being like the bones not the skin.

Theory indicates what you can do – you are following a set of connections to see what they are like and how they lead you. You can’t chop and change without explaining why - and you are not on your own look at what the theory would santo do. You can notice where they differ for you or the situation you are in. So if theory is partly going on someone else’s ride (which you need to do because that someone else has spend a great deal of time thinking about ideas you are just finding out about), what is stopping you from crashing. If someone else is driving the bus how do you make sure you don’t end up in an accident???

-----Ethics. Having looked at ethical issues means you are aware of where you are not willing to go on the ride. It means you are prepared for possible issues and it means you have drawn a line in the sand as to where you are not willing to go with the theory. Ethics is not about a set of rules, it is about being aware of and thinking about the consequences of what you are doing. We said
Ethics is a response to what the theory indicates.

All this was talking about what is called a theoretical framework. The framework from which you are thinking. We went to the library to look at Journal articles. To see if we could spot the theortical framework the authors were working with. We looked at the bibliography* which shows whose theories the author was 'riding'. Then we read the Introduction or Abstract to see what parts of the theory journey the author was on board with, what changed, and what questions they had about it. (*That is what a literature review is partly for to share the places you are constructing your ideas from, to show the rides you have taken as you have thought about things.)

Read participants-of-the-session's blog posts to see what they found. 

Victoria Vickers
Jessica Stokes
Eleanor Byrne
Jessica Dinmore
Megan Louch
Amanda Conroy

We watched this Ted Talk. It tells us a lot about – believing /following a theory, using ethics, how ethical issues change for you depending on which theory you are following, how looking at an idea carefully changes your own personal practices, and how conversation and discussion with others also looking at ideas carefully helps you develop or better define where you stand.

Please comment on this whole post in the comment below:


Friday, 10 March 2017

Campus Session - Thursday

We have a Campus session (all Modules)  on Thursday 16th. It starts at 1pm and runs to 4pm.
Go to the front desk in College Building for help and directions.

Looking forward to see you then.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

First 'Tuesday' discussion group chat

Its the beginning the month !! and we have our First Tuesday Discussion Group skype.

Tuesday March 7th at 7pm (time in London)

This is a chance to talk to other people on the course, and share ideas, and thoughts. Discussion is a great way to deepen your own understanding and hear new ideas and perspectives. Looking forward to talking to you all.
Please comment below to indicate you will be joining the discussion.

Speak soon

Monday, 27 February 2017

Thoughts on Feedback.

I have just been talking to people about their feedback to our feedback for Module Two !!! It sounds back and forth. But I see feedback as a two-way street. It is not about us telling you what to do in the disguise of feedback. For me feedback is about giving someone more ideas to think about or another way to look at the same thing. Therefore feedback on my feedback is just a response saying what it made you think of, it’s a discussion. It is not a about defending something but about walking together through an idea. Often in the past you may have been given ‘corrections’ as ‘feedback’ but I think they are different things. Corrections are one-way, feedback is two-way.

Here is something I recently wrote with a colleague about feedback in the dance classes.

What do you think? Feedback in the comments below!!

“At the beginning of our inquiry we were interested in exploring how students received ‘feedback’. We thought this would involve discovering more about the forms and ways feedback can be communicated to students, particularly how a climate of negative feedback can be avoided in the classroom.
However, as we carried out the research we realized that merely looking at how feedback is communicated constructs feedback as one directional.
We questioned whether we had been placing enough importance on the notion that feedback can be transactional.  Following John Dewey, we take the term transactional to indicate dynamic, co-created relationships and environments (Dewey 2008).

We realized that how feedback is communicated is significant, of course, but the means by which it is recognized as feedback by students, and how it is responded to is of equal bearing. This led us to consider the importance of students’ (and teachers’) critical thinking in our classrooms, as we felt student responses to feedback is as important as the action of giving it. By critical thinking we are suggesting skills of evaluation that allow for synthesis of ideas and support the ability to have shifts in perception. Particularly, for our students to develop the analytical skills to let go of an essentialist approach to their perception of themselves as dancers, and instead critically challenge their habitual movements and notions of what dance can be. Thus we see critical thinking as supporting the co-construction and permeability of a transactional approach to feedback.”

(You can read the Whole thing in the MDX on-line library, here is the citation  Akinleye, Adesola & Rose Payne (2016) “Transactional Space: Feedback, critical thinking, and learning dance technique”, Journal of Dance Education, Vol.16 Iss: 4, pp.144-148, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15290824.2016.1165821
DOI: 10.1080/15290824.2016.1165821?

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Feedback you Module Two submissions

Just a note to think about: You are asked to start Module Three by sending a response to your feedback from Module Two. You need to send your Advisor, your inquiry plan with where you have changed or developed things as a response to your feedback highlighted (maybe in red type). Then the paragraph that is your response to feedback would be at the beginning and indicate the pages where you had made changes that demonstrated your thinking about and developing-on from the feedback . 

The paragraph is not just so you say you know you were ‘wrong’ or something like that!!! It is about what the feedback has made you think and where you are developing the inquiry process in response. This is part of the inquiry already because it is about how you think more deeply about the inquiry and therefore the topic. 

The goal is getting to know the questions, finding the depth in them not having something perfect. There is no 'perfect' in a moving interactive approach to the lived experience. 


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Discussion, literature and getting started

Monday 13th  is the start of our 12 week term at BAPP. Last week we had some discussion group skype chats and generally got back into our Inquiring Selves. We had two Coffee shop Discussion Group chats.

On Monday 6th in the morning we discussed connecting ideas and mapping how things fit into a bigger picture .

On Tuesday 7th in the afternoon we discussed getting started, scheduling and library access.
Across both discussion the idea of Literature Reviews came up again and again.

I have noticed in the past that people start talking about the start of the module as if it was the start of a treasure hunt. As if  you are looking for clues for things you have to find to be told what to write so you can pass. People have talked about the module as if they were on their own having to invent or forage for any information they can get to know what the key is to passing.

For instance often people reflect by saying “I came across an article by Gill Jones that said…” = this gives the impression you happen to find something.
Instead this should read “Gill Jones (2009) suggests that…” = you did the research and you know what you are talking about.

You don’t need to invent answers or hunt for someone who can tell you what to think so you can write it down and pass. Many people before you have thought about similar subjects. They have thought about things, raised questions, explored ways to look at the subject and mapped how their thinking fits with other people who have done the same thing. It is not about the luck of ‘coming across’ something it is about looking up key words and seeing what people have said or choreographed or created in order to better understand your own experiences. So not looking for articles that say what you think already BUT looking at what people have said about a topic that is new to you that expands your understanding of it. In other words it’s not a treasure hunt for evidence you are right about something. It is an inquiry into how what you have thought and experienced fits with other people’s thoughts and experiences.  That is a literature review.

A literature review gives context to an idea because you look at many peoples ‘take’ on the idea.
It can help you connect ideas in new ways seeing how other people have made connections. It can give you structure helping you find out the areas within a topic that other people have noticed or organised into.
It can help you challenge your assumptions.
 It gives you a range of perspectives, so it is not just the loudest voice is right. Or the highest hit on Google is the authority on something.
It is about you having considered knowledge about things because you have thought about a lot of other people’s ideas in relation to your own.

Also think about this: just because it is the first time you have heard something does not mean it is the first time it has been told to you. Someone with the answer is not always someone amazingly wise, often it is someone who told you something at the right moment for you to hear it. So it is not just about what people say it is about how meaningful you allow it to be.

Getting started back into things, connecting with people, and many of the other points we discussed we talked about all seemed to be about looking beyond your panic for the loudest voice to tell you what to do to get 100%. Instead this is about respectfully listening and contributing to debate. Start looking at the MDX library on-line where you can use Summon to explore journals and books. Visit each others blog and start discussions there. Not “can anyone tell me how to start Module Two?” but “I just finished reading Jenny Gladsons’s book (Maths in the Magic of Dance, 2017)  about dancers in North Carolina who have used dance to develop a math curriculum for Kindergarteners, I had not thought about how closely dance and maths are linked. I am interested in other people’s experiences with arts in school?...”

Other people have posts about our discussions on Monday and Tuesday. Have a look at their  links. Have a look at what they say and please leave comments on the post you read. Please comment here too.

Please leave a message on these comments with a book or choreography that you have found interesting as you are studing and say why.