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

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

PM Skype chat

Today’s PM session was great, we talked about:

Ethics: some people had not made the campus and non-campus sessions on ethics for Module 2 and then ethics is an important concept in Module One and Module Three  so people wanted to talk through ideas a little. Ethics is about how you impact or are experienced by the people around you. We talked about this is terms of professional practice – Ethics is about how you present yourself and handle what you do - not just what you can get away with, but remembering you are representing yourself and who you want to be. It is about how you touch the world. We talked about how when planning in Module Two it is more than just the legal requirements. These are just the bare minimum of what should be expected of you. If all you write about are the legal requirements then you are just doing the bare minimum. Pip is going to post on this also:

What is more important in terms of BAPP activity is what you mean behind the ‘ethical’ words. When you say ‘I don’t want to hurt anyone’ – course you don’t but who are you to determine when they are hurt or not? The ethics is how you think about this not just in not doing it.

Have a look at Sarah’s thoughts too:

Questions: We talked about questions:
  • ·      Not having too many.
  • ·      Not asking ones that require a yes or no answer but ones that help you learn MORE.
  • ·      Not being too specific
  • ·      Not being to broad
  • ·      !!!

Literature Review: Lastly we talked about literature reviews and thought about rewording to better understand what they are.
Literature Review is not equal to ‘Book Review’
Literature Review is more like ‘Library Review’ - looking at what is out on a number of subjects that ‘intersect’ with your inquiry. This is about looking for the themes that are across the books, articles etc…Lara is going to post on this also:

The next Tuesday Coffee House Group skype sessions are AM and PM on Tuesday April 28th (I’ll post a reminder on my blog nearer the time).

What do you think?
Please comment below


AM Skype chat

This morning group skype went well.
We talked about time management. Which James is going to post on also.

Some tips were
Listen to pod casts on subjects as a way to be thinking about things on the go – like listening to a pod cast on reflection on the tube.
Learn to know times of the day or situations where you will time waste even if you have set time a side for study.  For instance maybe it doesn’t work if you block out time in the day to work on BAPP because something always comes up. But you know if you do some study at the end of the day when all your work chores are over you will be able to focus on it.
What’s App voice messages to yourself  to capture moments where you have time to think about something but you are on the go

We talked about practicing academic writing (task 2c). Lisa is going to post more of thoughts about this task. 

We talked about how this is really about learning a technique. Like learning a ballet technique it is somewhat about knowing the rules of the technique.
These rules include:
Knowing how to cite and why you need to
Being able to find books and use them as reference
Skills for writing Introduction and Conclusions
Jodie is going to write about this part of the conversation have a look at what she says in the comments below.

We also talked about thinking about the final work you are handing in. We said that you should be sending drafts by end of Easter if you want feedback from your advisor.

Also making sure you know what you want to say. Finding this out does not always come in the form of writing it. We talked about how going for a walk or doing a yoga class or talking to someone else are all methods of working out what you want to say (and what your point is). Then writing it down is just a form of presentation.

What do you think? Please comment below

Adesola :)

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Tuesday coffee shop group Skype chat!!!

This Tuesday is our Group Skype chat. We romantically imagine BAPP students all over UK and the world going to a quiet coffee shop or sitting in the lunch room at work or in your house chatting together about the course - things you have discovered, questions and comments. These group Skype calls are for people across the modules to share, give advice and tell us what has been happening on your learning journey. We have this sessions because we believe learning is a collaborative process and that we learn from what is around us and from each other - we learn from experience.

So we have two session an AM session
10am in London

and a PM session
9pm in London

so calculate in the hour forward change.

Please let me know which session you are joining in with by posting a comment below. As always make sure I have your Skype address before the session time starts. If you want to join in and I do not call you then Skype me and I can add you to the conversation then and there.

Speak soon

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Using Reflection to Navigate the constellation of experiential learning: On-line 'Campus' Session with a focus on Module One

Yesterday we had our On-line ‘Campus’ session with a focus on Module One this session was about Using Reflective Practice…

First: step read my post below, On-line ‘Campus’ session with a focus on Module Two not just for those doing Module Two
…think about it!!

 So in this session we talked about Reflection BUT not as a separate ‘thing’ (not as a separate artefact of Module One – just practicing using the word thing and artefact ready for Module Three – see on-line Campus session with a focus on Module Three post below – that it wouldn’t hurt to read too)

Yes, not looking at Refection as a separate ‘thing’ introduced in Module One but looking at Reflection as a part of three strands that begin in module One and are carried on across the course.
These strands are:
1.    The Tools we use to do things (In module One you are introduced to the tools of communication of Web 2.0. Module Two you are introduced to the tools of qualitative research inquiry like interviews and observation…)

2.    YOU – Engaging with your ideas, communications and world by looking at what you think and feel = Reflection

3.    Other people’s ideas – such as networking (emphasised Module One) or literature Reviews (emphasised in Module Two).

These three strands are all inter woven in the context of YOUR professional practice, (which is what the course is about BA in Professional Practice). So don’t get caught up in reflection as if it was a thing by itself. It is apart of the constellation of ideas we are drawing on to develop your professional/artistic practice.

That being said: I asked how the reflection tasks are going?
People said they were interesting and talked about them a little like ‘tasks’. I pointed out that none of the task should feel like a bolt-on to your busy work day. They are there to be explored within the context of your work (Work Based Learning, see what I mean?). Then we started to think about ways we already reflect or remind ourselves of things. These methods are often things you have learnt to do in the heat of the moment out of necessity. The point of this course is to give yourself time to experiment and play and push the boundaries. So that you can find out useful methods of working not just what you came up with on the spot in the heat of the work day. So rather than think of the tasks are ‘tasks’ play with the ideas a bit. You don’t have to successful in capturing the whole day in every reflective method you try out. Maybe you do the list version and find it totally doesn’t capture your day but it is a great way to notice some of your subconscious thoughts; giving a great tool for reflecting on your day from an intuitive perspective. Have fun trying to use pictures instead of words to capture moments or reflect on events. Give yourself time in these reflective task to start to unreel the layers of thinking you do about events.

We are really just practicing for an on-going relationship with reflection across the course and on into your Professional Practice. This is because we believe that an important skill in Professional Practice is the Arts is reflection and not just the kind you managed to find on the spot one time and you know always ‘works’ but lots of different ways to listen to yourself and others around you.

Please notice that this is all within the context of your professional practice and should be woven with other ideas in the Module.

For instance: Thinking about the theory of Reflection-in-action and Reflection-on-action Ellie talked about then reflecting on weather she does one or both when teaching. Reflection tasks got her to start trying out more reflection-in-action. Giving her the confidence to try to be more responsive to student needs at the moment rather than after reflection at the end of the day and therefore responding in the next class. This is a great example because it is about reflection, theory introduced in Module One and Professional practice (work). This is something Ellie might write about as part of her final Reflective Essay submission for Module One.

Throughout Module One we want you to weave these all together to get a sense of who, what, where YOU are.

Other points –
Make sure you know what you are handing-in (a reflective essay etc..) and when (May 12th) at the end of the Module

Give yourself time to play with ideas in the Module – Don’t go through it ticking boxes. This first Module is about time to work out what you are, what influences you, what your networks are like, how you are portrayed (especially on-line), what direction you are in after your training etc…

Have a look at what other people in the session thought:

Let me know what you think in the comment below.

Step Gently: On-line 'Campus' session with a focus on Module Two - but read it even if you are not in Module Two!!

On-line ‘Campus’ session with a focus on Module Two was on Tuesday. We were talking about Planning Ethical Practice.

First point we made was to look at what is ethics: I have described ethics as reflecting on what you are experience as. Thinking about what is the effect, affect, feeling, event that is created by your actions. This is not to say that you can control how people have a ‘good time’ with you because you can’t know what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ for them. But you can think about what impact you are having on the people and things around you and reflect on whether the impact you are having is the same as your intension for doing things.

NOTE: This is about using reflection: Module Ones old and new –  developing reflection is a kind of tool for thinking about a wider picture and making sure you are not narrowing your ability to engage with events to what you expect to find.  – also ties in with Module Three: using reflection to support yourself not having to know the ending of the inquiry at the beginning! (see my last post) – its all connected.

Ethics: Impact on others
So having established that when thinking about ethics we are looking at our place, effect, impact on people and things I asked the group what do you think of doing a research project which will result in giving advise to people about a topic. – bearing in mind you have about 3 months, you are at BA level, and some people have been looking at the field you are looking at all their lives. Alan was just saying to me he was listening to a TED lecture where the person said for the first 30 years of the research we thought X but know we have come to see it in terms of Y today!!!!!

So what do you think of you doing a research project that will give people the answer to something? What are the ethics (impact of you) in this?? I would not want to try to do that. It seems a little rude to people who already study the area to think I can come up with the ‘answer’ in 3 months when they might have been looking at it for years and years. And what is the ‘answer’ in terms of them, the answer is really just my thing, my issues?  Who am I?

NOTE: Module One is about asking yourself who am I – through looking at your networks, your presence on-line your reflections. I am the experiences I have – unique experiences because only ‘I’ live MY life.

Who am I – after Module One – I am someone with unique experiences and (and therefore) my ideas and thoughts matter because only ‘I’ have my perspective.

So I am someone who does not have to feel I am going to save the world in three months and come up with the ‘answer’ to this important question. But I am also someone with a unique set of experiences and what I think matters ….so  (ethically I could say) my inquiry is about finding out more about my question and giving some informed comments and ideas about what I think of what I found out.

NOTE: This what you do in Module Three – a reflective report and some ‘thing’ people in my industry can relate to (see blog post On-line Campus Three session below for ‘thing’ reference)

OK so what does this ethical perspective do to our inquiry questions? Remember:
1)    We don’t have to ‘find’ and answer to the question (and possibly can’t) we need to find out more
2)    We don’t have to assume we need to save the world and that nobody else thought of saving the world before us and just didn’t try
3)    The goal is to ask better more informed questions

We looked at our questions and reworded them. For example

Save the world version:
What are the different methods for developing performance skills for excellence in performers, so I can teach this to my students?
Find out more version:
What do different people consider excellence in performance is (asking dancers, director, choreographers and audience members)
I feel Pat Smith, Blair Teller and Fran Jones are excellent performers so I will talk to each of them to find out what in their training helped them in their performance work.

Save the world version:
Blindness and Dance: why is their so much training lacking? I’ve noticed there is no training for dance teachers in this.
Find out more version:
What is out there in terms of dance projects that involve blind children. (world wide and locally)
What do parents of blind children feel is a benefit from doing dance class and are these benefits to do with they way the classes are taught?
How are the arts positioned in training for working with blind children? Looking at training programmes in general and seeing how much of this involves arts educational training.

Save the world version:
Culture in dance: what are opportunities for people to study musical theatre in India (but I don’t live in India).
Find out more version:
Is musical theatre a culture in itself (as it could be argued ballet is) having its own language, and expectation for behaviour?
Starting to mapping musical theatre training from different places by comparing the narratives of three performers who have trained in different countries.

Ethics –  Questioning Assumptions
We noticed the find out more versions allowed us to notice our assumptions and question them.
Noticing the assumptions we are making is like taking a step back to look get a wider look at what we are thinking about. Very often the assumptions we make are the best place to start inquiring into. Why we make that assumption and what other ways are there to look at things. In the performance skills inquiry area there are assumptions in the original save the world questions that need to be noticed and in fact could be the inquiry its self.

For example: What are the different methods for developing performance skills for excellence in performers, so I can teach this to my students?
This has the following assumptions and possible inquiry areas:

Everyone thinks the same things are performance skills and excellence
What do different people think makes excellence in performance (get opinions from different people in different roles to do with performance)
Performance skills remain the same regardless of the performance setting
Find out if people who perform if different performance events and venues seem to access the same skills each time (Watch great performance in different setting, what do I think? What has been written about this.)
It is possible to teacher people to be better performers its just nobody does it
Talk to people I think are great performers and find out what they do and think.
There are methods to get people to perform it can be broken down in to steps or stages or points and then learnt in the classroom.
Talk to teachers/director/dance captains I have had, who I respect, and find out what they do and think and why.

You can see that all the example inquiry questions that are raised from my assumptions can all still be useful in my end goal of being better at teaching performance skills to my students.

The conclusion we came to is:

We help people (save the world) by being better informed, inspired etc… ourselves. Not by going out and ‘helping’ people. Being better yourself helps other people.

Joke: Old lady (much like myself!) standing at the edge of the road you help her across. And on the other side she says she didn’t want to cross the road and now she has missed her bus!!! (The irony was you wanted that bus too but you sacrificed missing it to ‘help’ her.)

The practice under ethics of looking at your assumptions is really valuable. In the session we all looked at the assumptions in our questions so far. This is about how looking at ethics will help you shape your inquiry. (Its not about a right /wrong question). You can see from my example table above that the inquiry questions that come out of looking at my assumptions also indicate inquiry tools – like I would need to interview people, or observe performances. So looking at my questions through a focus on ethics gives me ideas about the focus of the questions, the tools I would need and where informative information about the question might be.

Ethics – Nuts and Bolts
In a session about ethics we cannot miss out having a quick look at ethics 101. Make sure you don’t hurt people.  As the handbook points out some research has been at the cost of harm to people mentally or physically.
Some of the assumptions we make can be offensive and hurtful to people. Assuming I need help across the road is pretty annoying when I can ask if I do! In the summer I was standing next to someone much older than me waiting to cross the road in Liverpool street station and as the light changed for us to walk across she took my arm. When we got to the other side she let go and realised I was me. She said sorry. I said it was really nice to walk across the road together like that I haven’t done that since I was child. For a moment I was what she needed (some remembered friend or relative) and then I was not.

Nuts and bolts
1)    Plan to use pseudonyms for people you interview. Yes, so they have some anonymity but beyond that because (see Pips blog post from last week – my skype chat post below) because it is hard to really explain what you will be doing in your inquiry as in some ways you don’t know where it will take you either.
2)    Same with informed consent and the ability to drop out of the research at anytime. You can’t really say what will happen minute by minute in your inquiry or where it will go so let people know they can get off the ride when ever they want to. But this is more than just the rhetoric of the consent form you give them. It is about planning an inquiry that understands not all the data is coming from people you interview. What if they all dropped out??? The data is also the literature, and your feelings and thoughts (see recent on-line ‘Campus’ session Module Three blog post below).
3)    The power of the researcher – you think you are stressed about your project! The people you approach also have stress about the idea of research and they are not in control of the project like you are. Think about the impact of being asked to be interviewed or not being one of the people asked to be interviewed will have on people. Think about the relationship you already have with people involved in the inquiry. There is not a right person to ask. You just need to have thought about the impact you will have and maybe tried to make sure it is as gentle as possible. Where possible ask yourself do I really need to involved people they way I am planning, would it be more gentle to change how I engage with them. Like changing planning to interview your students to observing your students. Knowing the power relationship between student (them) and teacher (you) is quite stressful and can be manipulated.

All right this is long enough. I think it would be best now if you have a look at some of the post other people in the session wrote up.

Also I would love to carry on the conversation in the comments below…what do you think?