Creativity in schools – what’s happening? Dance as a case in point

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Abstract

Despite long-running dance advocacy and relatively high participation in extra-curricular dance outside of school, new concerns about what is happening with dance in school are emerging. The number of providers of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Dance at completion level has almost halved, since its peak of 136 providers in 2002, to 71 providers in 2015. In 2015 more than 25 of these providers were ‘private providers’ and of the remaining secondary schools 80% had an Index of Community Socio-educational Advantage (ICSEA) over 1000 (the median). In the United States a decline in adults’ arts participation has shaped, and been shaped by a decline in school-based arts opportunities. This decline is particularly concentrated among low-income students and among African American and Hispanic students (Rabkin & Hedberg, 2011). So what is happening to the creative arts here? What stories are the data telling?As a creative arts teacher educator, VCE Dance teacher in a variety of schools, and a VCE Dance curriculum writer and assessor in the past, I have witnessed a hegemonic discourse in the VCE Curriculum text, and in conversations with VCE Dance students and teachers that privileges female, middle class, white practitioners. In this presentation I consider the following questions:• What discourses are privileged/heard/dominant in creative arts fields such as Dance?• What is the impact of these discourses on Dance providers?• How might an analysis of VCE Dance curriculum, as a case in point, relate to subjects in other states and countries experiencing similar declines?My analysis of the VCE Dance curriculum and related resources from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is methodologically informed by critical discourse analysis that is focused on how text, images, and utterances articulate and thereby construct issues and social categories in terms of hierarchies and power. I focus on how discourses work to communicate beliefs implicitly, rather than a focus on intentions from specific actors or what the discourses mean. Here, I investigate how hegemonic discourses presuppose a power base of privileged access to scarce social resources, thereby reducing the willingness of providers to ascribe to the rules and routines of VCE Dance. In identifying and challenging the existing hegemony, and working to change the current discourses in curriculum documents as a starting point, students will have greater access to the creative arts and Dance in particular. It is time to encourage students to bring their own dance ‘worlds’ to a curriculum that is flexible, responsive, accessible, and engaging for all.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2016 - Melbourne Cricket Ground Function Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 27 Nov 20161 Dec 2016

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2016
Abbreviated titleAARE 2016
CountryAustralia
CityMelbourne
Period27/11/161/12/16

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