Semesters: Fall/Spring 2005-06
General Course Description:
Students electing to take the course for 3 credits will submit a final paper documenting the process of change that can occur when designing and implementing curriculum in collaboration with others.
Class Meeting Times and Dates:
CREATIVE ARTS LABORATORY
How do I know me? Let me count the ways. . .
I can. . .
listen and create music to express my deepest thoughts . . . thoughts about anyone . . . anything . . . anyplace . . . in my world . . . both in and out of school.
mold a clump of clay into a three-dimensional object and make. . . a special friend out of it. . . and invite it to share my living space.
move my body and feel what it must be like to freeze into an icicle. . . and then. . . in a dance of my own. . . slowly melt. . . and become part of a large body of water.
tell a story and make you feel like my characters do. . . their fears . . . their joys. . . their successes. . . their . . . not-so moments.
learn how to learn . . . because. . . I know my best learning takes place when I have a chance to put myself in the middle of things. . . subjects like science . . . language arts. . . math . . . social studies . . . . . . exploring them through dance . . . music . . . theatre . . . visual arts. I can create music and hear . . . I can mold and see . . . I can move, dance and feel . . . I can write and tell my story . . . then . . . I know that I know how to learn.
Arts are sensory modalities that invite us to play out thoughts, to play out fantasies, to play out reality as we each perceive it. Arts permit us to make real the studies of the rain forest, the missions of historical figures, the life and times of another generation, societal practices that impact on ecology, global warming, and among many other issues, the future of our country and world. The Arts are always a reflection of the times in which they are created. They provide a means by which varying perspectives can be shared. Existing throughout history, the Arts have a continuing nature, they are never out of vogue. The Arts are the podium, easel, dance floor or stage upon which thoughts and points of view are explored for the clarification of thought and the search for new meaning. In these contexts we take our cues for developing an educational process that is imbedded with the various artistic modes by which humanity has continuously sought to communicate, learn and grow.
A commonality in all arts making is the need to "work" materials, (color, clay, movement, shape, sound, and speech, as for examples), to purposefully explore the potential for creating manifestations of personal thinking. Regardless of age, it begins with the aural, kinesthetic, oral, and visual senses of which we are endowed. We arrive in the world with the finest equipment for learning. To ignore it as part of an ongoing educational process is to sever a significant part of our gear for living and learning. It is in these modalities then, that the arts by their very nature keep us true to our endowments in our efforts to purposefully explore and create meaning for ourselves.
It is unsafe to assume age as the critical variable for determining what teaching mode is appropriate in practice. If we do, we may find ourselves flitting to deliveries of content that appear expeditious and economical at the expense of learning that can occur broadly and deeply when all aspects of the human condition are addressed. We may forever perceive a bass drum as an instrument that is pounded in time at the end of a parade. Yet, when we investigate the potential of the bass drum for creating music about a subject we are studying, we are apt to develop a broader and deeper understanding of not only the bass drum but also of the related subject. To depict . . . the coming of a thunder storm, the influences of tension on heartbeats of men in war, the barrenness of lands destroyed by fire, the development of lava in a volcano, is to digest these real life issues in ways that not only engage the mind, but the heart as well, and each is stronger as a result of the other.
The music making for the intended subject motivates learners to listen, analyze, synthesize, read with purpose, share insights with classmates and thus become acutely aware of all the parameters of our learning experience. The processes by which we acquire a heightened awareness of ourselves as learners serves as a stimulus for learning as other curricular issues are integrated and interpreted through music and other artistic modes. The first-, fourth- seventh-grader and graduate student immerses himself in subject matter in ways that build on his multiple capacities for learning.
To integrate core curriculum matters with the arts, so that teaching and learning become comprehensive and in-depth at the same time, pre- and in-service teachers need to design and enact arts experiences. If teachers’ learning experiences in the arts have been mainly illustrative and literal, they need to know the arts at the expressive levels of creating, performing, listening, observing and analysis to internalize their richness and values for complimenting pedagogy at all levels. Teachers’ point of departure is much like the concept of the bass drum in the parade. If their only exposure to a bass drum is the metrical tail piece at the end of a local band, it stands to reason that teachers have only one way to view it. If they have never been challenged to think about the alternative functions of an instrument, a piece of clay, or the feelings evoked by powerful and sensitive body movements, teachers’ repertoires of teaching and learning skills are void of them.
With unconditional positive regard, teachers need to be embraced in the arts, bathe in them if you will, to feel the personal gratification and power that accompany any learning when the arts are present. We need to get paint on our hands, sounds in our ears, feelings in our hearts and bodies, and ascertain for ourselves, what artistic and personal relevance the arts have for our classrooms. Ultimately, it is our decision and . . . we will count the ways.
Sample Class Topics
The arts in context
Poetry through arts processes
Cultural identity through the arts
Literacy and the arts
(3) Reflections and discussion of how the arts provide expressive communication
Learning and the arts
Analysis and discussion of students’ involvement in the arts and how this can transfer into the teaching and learning of core curriculum concepts.
Readings related to discussion: