Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Creating a literature review

“Recently in education, the idea of promoting student ownership has emerged as a means of authentically engaging students in their own learning.”[1] In education in general, the idea of empowering students by promoting ownership emerged recently, considering the literature around this theme. This phenomenon finds its sources in the development of ‘student-centered education’, a notion that arose in the 1990s as a response to educational systems that didn’t fully consider the needs of every individual. Theorists like John Dewey, Jean Piaget or Carl Rogers, to name only a few, have pioneered student-centred education through their research on how the individual learns and the importance of creating a learning environment with opportunities for the student to actively engage in the learning process through experience.
In dance, the additional aspect of the physical body becomes very important when it comes to ownership. Research around student ownership in dance raise questions about embodiment, empowerment and the training of dancers’ bodies. How can we free the student dancers’ body in a technique class and allow him to own the learning process and learning material?
Some researchers say that by not imposing any kind of form, the dancer becomes autonomous and responsible.[2] In such cases, the teacher doesn’t feed the students with learning material but is there to initiate, to guide, to create learning opportunities. With a similar point of interest, but considering the aspect of technical skills, J. Karin develops an approach to acquire ballet skills respecting “the role of sensory awareness, imagery, and intention in cuing efficient, expressive movement”[3]. With her ideas about aesthetics, imagery, sensory context and expressivity, she touches on the theories of somatics in dance[4] such as J. Green’s research study from 1998. J. Green questions the education of the dance student’s body by focusing on the objectification of the learner’s body and how one can change this by applying somatic authority where the student regains ownership of the body[5] and engages more personally in the learning process. In 2013, R. Rimmer discussed in her research one possible method to achieve embodiment and ownership of the body, movements and especially learning, namely improvisation[6] (using it “not to create new material, but to work with existing material”[7]). The type of class R. Rimmer is explaining joins Stanton’s propose that a technique class is a ‘laboratory’, “working with principles and not codes”[8], where teacher and student work together, move, observe and verbalise.
Creating my literature review, I noticed that there are several case studies around multiple teaching methods promoting student’s ownership of the learning. However, I feel like there is a lack of literature about the reason why “laboratory” technique classes can be beneficial and how they meet with the students’ as well as the teachers’ expectations.  

[1] McMullen, JM, van der Mars, H, Jahn, JA, (2014) “Promoting student ownership in a non-traditional physical education teacher education internship course”, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 19:3, p. 337.
[2] Necker, S, (2008), “Créer un moment de danse à l’école: les conditions d’enseignement et d’apprentissage dans l’atelier mené par un enseignant et un artiste”, Les Sciences de l'éducation - Pour l'Ère nouvelle, 41:2, p. 109.
[3] Karin, J, (2016) “Recontextualizing Dance Skills: Overcoming Impediments to Motor Learning and Expressivity in Ballet Dancers”, Frontiers in Psychology, 7, p.1.
[4] On somatics in dance: Meenan, M, (2013) Exploring the modern dance technique class as a somatic practice, MA thesis, University of Oregon.
[5] Walsh, L.D., Moseley, G.L., Taylor, J.L., Gandevia, S.C., (2011) “Proprioceptive signals contribute to the sense of body ownership”, The Journal of Physiology, 589:12, p. 3009-3021.
[6] On improvisation: Davenport, D, (1999) ”Working with play: Improving dance technique through improvisation”, Dance Teacher, 21:1, p. 85-88.
[7] Rimmer, R, (2013) “Improvising with Material in the Higher Education Dance Technique class. Exploration and Ownership”, Journal of Dance Education, 13:4, p. 144.
[8] Stanton, E, (2011) “Doing, re-doing and undoing: Practice, repetition and critical evaluation as mechanisms for learning in a dance technique class ’laboratory’”, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 2:1, p. 86.


  1. Good points Maiete. I feel literatre review is helping me to go back to my beliefs and ideas learnt to the stage of making sense, as I am exploring how to integrate those ideas in my dance class. Discussing the conecpt of embodiment and developing ownership of learning happens in different stages as far as Indian classical dance is conerned. However, it is interesting to learn from other's perceptions.

  2. Nice use of your inquiry into literature on the area you are inquiring into. This informs you about how you will go about finding out experiences and ideas through the inquiry you are planning.