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Creative Arts Laboratory

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Teachers College Columbia University

Semester:  Fall 2010/Spring 2011

General Course Description
Experiential sessions in movement, music, drama and videography will enable course participants to design and enact arts experiences that facilitate development of critical and creative thinking skills in core curriculums.

You will be graded on the following:
1. Participation
2. Video presentation and analysis of work with students (2 credits)
3. Final paper (3 credits)

Team-Led Presentations:
During the semester you and your selected team member will be expected to present a video of students as a point of departure for analysis and discussion.  The video should not exceed 15 minutes and should demonstrate successful integration of the processes utilized in CAL (dance, music, drama and videography) for teaching core curriculum concepts.

Variable Points:
Course participants electing to take CAL for 2 or 3 credits are expected to work in dyads or trios to design and enact arts experiences that facilitate critical and creative thinking that is based on a classroom teacher’s core curriculum. Course participants will maintain journals of their work in classrooms and produce one video of classroom work with students that exemplifies the goals of the Creative Arts Laboratory.

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 in different curriculum disciplines.  References from the recommended reading should be included.

Meeting time for each Saturday is 9:00 – 4:00

Saturday sessions will focus on core curriculum issues by viewing these issues through the lens of each art form as it relates to the indigenous processes (creating, performing, critical analysis, problem solving) that characterize the particular art form.

NOTE:  If you play a portable instrument, you may bring it to class.

Lee Pogonowski

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 .  .  .medicine. . .  social studies  .  .  .  .  .  .  exploring them through dance  .  .  .  music  .  .  .  theatre .  .  .  visual arts.  I create music and hear .  .  .  I mold and see .  .  .  I move, dance and feel

.  .  .  I write and tell my story  .  .  .  then .  .  .  I know that I know how to learn—adjust to circumstances with my critical thinking skills to meet present requirements.

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 critical and 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 and those we serve.
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 or women in the emergency room, 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 their learning experiences in the arts have been mainly illustrative and superficial, they need to know the arts at the expressive levels of creating, performing, listening and critical analysis to internalize their richness and values in the learning process.  Their point of departure is much like the concept of the bass drum in the parade.  If this is their only exposure to a bass drum, 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 and clinics.  Ultimately, it is our decision and .  .  . we will count the ways.

Sample Class Topics
The arts in context

Exploration of materials and processes in Dance, Music and Drama.

The Battle of Bunker Hill and the meaning of “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.”  Quote by General Putnam.

Reflections and discussions of how the arts give voice to deeply held beliefs that clarify or change perceptual educational, social or political attitudes in all subjects.

Videography—Capturing process in the moment.

Poetry through arts processes

Cultural identity through the arts

Literacy and the arts

Examine parts of speech and how they could be re-defined in the language of Dance, Music, and Drama as related to a selected reading in the core curriculum.

Bibliography and Recommended Reading:
Ayers, W.  (2001).  To teach: the journey of a teacher.  New York: Teachers College Press.
ADDIN ENBbu Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York, W.H. Freeman.
Brooks, J. G., and Brooks, M.G. (1993). In search of understanding:  The case for constructivist classrooms. Alexandria, VA, ASCO.
Clark, C . (Ed.) (2001).  Talking shop: authentic conversation and teacher learning.  New York: Teachers College Press
Bruner, J. (1996). The culture of education. Massachusetts, Harvard University Press.
Caine, R. N., and Caine, G. (1994). Education on the edge of possibility. Alexandria, VA, ASCD Yearbook..
Forman, E. A., Minick, N. and Store, C.A., Ed. (1993). Contexts for learning. New York, Oxford University Press.
Graue, E. M. a. Walsh., D. (1998). Studying children in context: Theories, methods, and ethics. CA, Sage.
Paris, S. G. a. W.inograd, P. (1998). The role of self-regulated learning in contextual teaching: Principles and practices for teacher preparation. Contextual teaching and learning: Helping students make the connection,
Pogonowski, L. (1987). “Developing skills in critical thinking and problem solving.” Music Educators Journal 73(6).
Pogonowski, L. (1989). Metacognition: A dimension of musical thinking. Dimentions of musical thinking. E. Boardman, Ed. Reston, VA, Music Educators National
Pogonowski, L. (1989). “Critical thinking in music listening.” Music Educators Journal 76(1).Conference and Association Collaborative for the Teaching of Thinking — a subcommittee of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Pogonowski, L. (2001).  The role of context in teaching and learning music.  Dimensions of teaching and learning music.  E.Boardman, Ed.  Reston, VA, Music Educators National Conference.  (In press).
Sarason, S. (1999).  Teaching as a performing art.  New York: Teachers College Press
Schon, D. (1991). The reflective task: Case studies in and on education practice. New York, Teachers College Press.