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.

Preparation for starting with BAPP

Friday, 2 November 2012

Campus Session, Module One

Tuesday morning we had a campus session for Module One  looking particularly at the Reflection part of Module One (Reader1). We see the people who come to the campus sessions as representatives of the student body, or a think-tank of people who will talk about and develop ideas from the module and then shared this with the learning community  through blog posting.  So here is what we talked / thought about.

We began by introducing ourselves and we had a guest Advisor from the MAPP (Dance Technique Pedagogy) course –Helen  http://www.helenkindred.blogspot.co.uk
It was nice to link-up with the MA people.
We then did an exercise where you describe what you think other people do, from hearing how they identify themselves. This is work in pairs, so for instance your partner might identify themselves as ‘a Choreographer’. Then you write a list of all the things you think ‘a choreographer’ does. Likewise they write a list of things they think you do according to the title you have given yourself. Then you give each other your lists. It is quite nice to see someone else’s vision of your profession and often reminds you of the things you take for granted. Importantly it can help you start look at what things about your activity you forget to remember because you are so used to what you do. This is about seeing reflection as SEEING THE FAMILUAR AS UNFAMILUAR, AND THE UNFAMILUAR AS FAMILUAR. This helps with this section of module one, where we are wanting to start to look at the essence of you where You are in the mists of what you Do.  See http://seraclops.blogspot.co.uk

Next we did an exercise that involved learning a new skill (balancing sticks). We noticed how we addressed learning the new skill and used that experience to look at the three theories in the handbook on learning. We looked at Kolb in terms of what we did to begin the skill confidently, some people needed to watch how others tackled it and felt this was an example of Abstract Conceptualisation, some needed to talk to their partner to plan as they were beginning the balancing task and felt this was Active Experimentation, some just started the balancing and dropped the sticks a couple of times and felt this was an example of Concrete Experience, nobody felt they had begun with Reflective Observation. You may or may not agree but what is most useful is the idea of considering how you have attempted to engage with something new as a way to notice yourself.  We also talked about the sticks exercise in terms of the theory of Gardner. For example some people tried the balancing then noticed they were responding to how they had experienced their partner was using the sticks and adapted their balancing to respond to their partner they felt this was Interpersonal. Lastly we talked about the stick experience in terms of the Honey and Mumford theory discussed in the Reader.

Past groups have done something called a silent tour at this point in the campus session but that was when we were are Cat Hill and Trent park there was more place to wonder. The new Hendon campus is very exciting with lots of people all studying different things. It is not conducive to a silent tour though. So we used post cards. We split in to small groups. Each person chose three post cards and found a place to display them in the room then toured their group. The rest of the group wrote a response to the tour and gave it to the person whose tour it was. This exercise was used to discuss a number of things that we related to the task of journal writing or keeping a reflective journal (because you don’t have to write to do this). We talked about the idea of capturing a moment – both how the pictures together as well as where they were placed created information (an experience) that seems only to able to captured in images and also how the tour giver could have an idea and it was communicated to the people who tour more deeply than the tour giver had thought it would be. I feel this is because You are much more vivid than you realise and it is being more aware of this that this reflection section is hoping to encourage you to do. This is so you start to question yourself, your assumptions and your influences. We talked more widely about journals / reflective diaries.  You do not have to use them to record  your daily activities, you can capture anything. Doing everyday is a good discipline but this could take the form of writing yourself texts throughout the day about things you think and then just collecting them at the end of the day. Or taking a few moments to take a picture each day, or writing a poem (which some people at the campus session found really hard / funny – the poem does not have to rhyme or be forced it can just be a task that allows you to play with words).

Some people talked about old diaries they had found from when they were much younger and how they had brought back memories. One person said they had found an entry where they had put it was too secret to even write in the diary and now they had no idea what it was about. It is for these reasons we are asking to keep a reflective journal because your learning process is very alive as you live it day to day but as you go through the course (and the rest of what you do!) you will be a different by the end. You are likely to forget moment or remember then differently. But at the end of the module we are asking you to recall the journey. The reflective journal is like keeping snap-shots of the journey you can use to recapture the moments and you can use to illustrate. Later when you are in module two and three you will need the reflective journal for the same reasons as well as to help you capture first impressions of research activities.  As artist you might find it useful within your professional practice to develop methods to have an on-going ‘conversation’ with yourself.

At the end of the session each member of the group agreed to write a blog post on at least one thing they found useful from the session – Go visit their blogs, listed below.

We also captured six things we felt were interesting ideas that had been raised. These were;
1)    We can hear what other people say, not so you can decide whether they are right or wrong answers but so you can see how they connect to your ideas.
2)    Experiences help you understand something.
3)    You do not have to be too serious; fun can be just as useful. It can be fun to find ways to reflect and capture moments.
4)    We had talked about different ways to be present; I had asked people to make comments at points in the session by writing about either what they see, notice or think. Each of these is a different way to engage with a situation and reflect on it. (see list just below)
5)    Theories are like tools to help you understand something
6)    Being interested in other people; they don’t have to have the same perspective as you.
7)    Kolb’s learning cycle can be envisioned as happening at different speeds and layered. So you could be in a month long learning process but also be in a minute long cycle at the same time.  The minute long cycle might be something you quickly learning like how to respond to a puddle as you are walking the month long cycle might be learning the journey to a new place.

Things people wrote for what they saw: ‘See’
Long Green sticks
Team work
People messing about with sticks

Things people wrote for what they noticed: ‘Notice’
People concentrating and having fun
Use of different dynamics while using the sticks
Observe, connect, trust, have fun
People smiling
Different peoples reactions: shy, confident, embarrassed
People bonding and forming relationships
In the bigger groups whenever a stick fell we all, without realising, waited for the circle to be complete again.
Different levels of concentration to number of participants.

Things people wrote for what they thought: ‘Think’
Less though the better
Patience, concentration, work as a team, cooperation
Cooperation? Involved?
See how people think in different ways; some think in colour coordination, some in meanings, some random
Some people take it on as a challenge to make it as complicated as possible without dropping it. Some people are more careful
Each person in tune with left and right partner physical negotiation

Here are the blog links to people who were there.
And Russ who has just got his blog going so visit as soon as we post the address and say hello!!!

What do you think?


  1. Thanks for posting all of that, Adesola :) As I read through each section I found I could picture the events again and this helped me to make more concrete connections to the learning that went on during the session. I've read everyones' blogs too, and found them equally as brilliant! The main thought that kept popping into my head was - although we were all in the same room at the same time we all seem to have attended to parts of the session in a different way to each other. This really reinforces for me how we all frame our experiences differently depending on who we "are"

  2. Thanks Adesola - really thorough comments - I have linked all of your Campus session blogs to the Libguide Module tabs. Bw

  3. Hi adesola, great to see what you've written. it was a great interactive session. I wrote everything up last week just to clarify everything for myself and others and reading yours has just furthered that really. so thanks :)