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Teaching for transformation:Reflective practice for transformative dance education in children's community dance

Dance is a marvelous developmental tool for holistic growth (Graham, 2002; H'Doubler, 1940). In current times, dance opportunities for children are generally found in the dance studios and reserved for those with money, time, or talent. In many such cases, dance classes amis towards examinations, driven by traditional dance pedagogy: typically, authoritative and mechanical transmission of steps and skills (Coe, 2003; Shaprio, 1999; Stinson, 2016). In comparison, the New Zealand public school system offers a comprehensive dance curriculum designed for all children to approach dance as holistic creative development (Ministry of Education, 2018). However, the potential of the current curriculum is not realised for various reasons (Bolwell, 2014; Buck & Snook, 2017; Cheeseman, 2009). Therefore, there exists a need in Aotearoa New Zealand for accessible and quality dance education for our children to experience the benefits of participation in dance. There are some small recreational dance offerings in studios and community settings that are bridging the gap between skills and creativity, by offering learner-centered pedagogy and increasing accessibility and democracy in the dance sector (Buckek, 1992; Burnidge, 2012; Dragon, 2015; Dyer, 2009; Green, 2007; Sansom, 2011). Transformational learning is an objective of learner-centered or democratic dance education and is discussed by dance scholars (Antilla, 2015; Bond & Stinson, 2000/2001). Additionally, scholars note the importance of teacher’s reflective practice to facilitate transformation because reflective practice provides educators with a critical lens to challenge traditional or authoritarian pedagogical models, which have been found socially and educationally problematic (Bright, 2013; Duda & Quested, 2011; Risner, 2009, 2017; Shapiro, 2016; Stevens & Huddy, 2017; Tembrioti & Tsangaridou, 2013; Warburton, 2008). Where there is rigourous discussion about these topics in higher education (with adults) there is limited research on transformation and reflective practice within dance for children of primary age, particularly in New Zealand and so this ethnographic study aims to illuminate our country’s own unique pedagogical practices in community/recreational dance. This focus on our own context may contribute to a greater understanding of our unique value systems that inform transformative learning through dance for children in New Zealand, and further insight into how reflective practice is utelised to facilitate it.
Type of thesis
Walus, L. (2019). Teaching for transformation:Reflective practice for transformative dance education in children’s community dance (Thesis, Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance (MHSHP)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12374
The University of Waikato
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