Utilizing creative movement and ballet in the classroom to enhance instruction : a pilot project
This is a case study conducted at East Clark Elementary School. East Clark is located in the inner city of Cleveland, Ohio, USA. In the study an Action Team explored a way to incorporate ballet and creative movement into the regular classroom of three, second grade classrooms. It was funded by ICARE, a grantor that supports integrated arts curriculum endeavors. The funding granted was for four years, contingent upon successful completion of a pilot project. This thesis investigates the implementation and results of the pilot project. Using the concept of metamorphosis as the subject unit, the art, classroom, and guest dance teacher worked as a team to conduct science, reading, and literacy classes. Students and teachers attended performances of the Cleveland San Jose Ballet Company's production of Swan Lake, and two dancers from the company performed at East Clark with the students. Drawing upon E. D. Hirsch's theory of Cultural Literacy, area corporations were invited to participate in the project with the students. The study utilizes a project journal, interviews of the Action Team, and exploration of current research to both analyze the results and to place the issue of arts education in a wider context. America is a young democracy, and the drive to explore new frontiersimpacts on how democracy and capitalism are realized in the culture. While there is room for creativity, the place allotted to the arts is limited. For a democracy to thrive, its citizens must develop shared metaphors and experiences. One of the concerns about the inner city is the risk of is enfranchisement from the mainstream. While sub-cultures will exist in cultures, they can become divisive if populations become too estranged. We found that by using a multiple-intelligences teaching approach and community interaction, a rich, contextual environment was created. Feelings of empowerment and self-esteem began to emerge. Motivation to learn improved. Students retained the materials they had learned more than six months later. An unexpected result was that the Special Education students excelled to the point of leading the rest of the class in movement exercises and participation in the performance. Ultimately, systemic change of an educational setting w i l l require that the teachers change. Students pass through the system, but the teachers remain. The project proved motivating to the teachers who felt that they had each changed in some way. In the end, the recommended improvement from the teachers was their desire to incorporate the integrated arts curriculum approach school-wide.