I’m not your typical performing arts teacher. In fact, I’m a bit of an introvert.
I believe this helps me as a PA teacher because I remember how it felt when I was at school to be pushed from a proverbial plane… without a parachute… crash landing onto a stage to perform a song or a dance I didn’t choose,
or want to be a part of!
I would not want to inflict that kind of feeling on anyone. Performing arts is supposed to be a celebration of who we are and who we are becoming.
This is part of the reason why I’ve embraced the word ‘agency’ at the core of the enhanced PYP.
We should let students decide when it’s time to jump, from a height from which they are comfortable jumping, and what to do when they land.
After they’ve seen some of their peers jump and land successfully… they will feel inspired and confident.
They will jump when they are ready.
Maybe not the best analogy but I hope you get the idea.
In performing arts this past year (18-19), I wanted to create an environment where everyone can share what they’ve learned while being excited about the sharing experience, and to create lots of options for them to ‘strut their stuff’. I wanted students to perform when they were ready. I wanted them to push themselves intrinsically, to be inspired by each another in an environment where a growth mindset rules!
After all, I’m in the business of stimulating creativity and imagination, not fear!
I should note at this point that I’m using the word ‘share’ rather than ‘perform’. This promotes the idea that we are celebrating what we’ve been learning rather than working towards a test where people will be watching and judging.
Here’s the range of sharing opportunities which we provided last school year:
- Students video their learning and can upload to Seesaw. From there, they can share in a number of ways as we have a video of them; from individuals to a class viewing, an assembly, or even a YouTube upload!
- ‘Open-mic’ sessions during performing arts classes; sharing with their class, or grade.
- Breaktime or lunchtime performances, whilst the other students play and eat.
- Larger performances in the ‘Black Box’ (secondary space) which holds up to around 60 audience members.
- Primary assemblies for the fearless!
- Festivals… loads of performance options in 1 day… new this year, and expanded-confirmed for the coming year… maybe a separate post 🙂
- “Out ‘n about” performances around the city… yet to happen… a goal for this year 🙂
After students have shared their learning, they gather feedback, reflect, and then decide if they want to continue down the same path, or try something different. As mentioned in a previous post, I decided early on to allow the freedom for students to start specialising if they’ve really fallen in love with a particular discipline… dance, drama or music, or a combination… and why not!
In a nutshell, the variety of sharing options provides students with a ‘low threshold, high ceiling’ framework within a which they can grow and develop as artists.
If we care about how students are feeling, and offer them enough options to share in a way which they are comfortable with, they will grow.
So, let’s care about how our students share their work, giving them choice, and let’s watch their confidence grow and they celebrate their progress in a fun and safe environment.