|Choreographer/Artistic Director - "Kadaash Zoku" Student Showcase|
I write this post as an open journal. To explain my thoughts on play-based learning. At this point in my career I have taught thousands of students. I've taught students Kung Fu, Dance, Acting, and Parkour. Every discipline offers something unique and extremely valuable. All of them build character, and teach practitioners a mindset that will help them in life. Different individuals require different things. And different groups have different needs.
|Free Flow Academy - Kung Fu Class|
|Horizon School District Guest Speaker - "Movement and Mental Health"|
I have a group of students currently, who need a lot of creative ownership. They don't do well learning choreography. It's not empowering to them. It's rather stifling. So instead of having them do choreography and structured routines, I set some basic rules: 1) Warm-up and Stretching is Required 2) Your Commitment to Each Other is Required.
For this particular group, I decided play-based learning was the most effective approach. They must warm up and stretch with me. After that, I guide them through their own creativity and I play mediator. They get to be in charge and create their own dance. Here the creativity flows. They come up with all sorts of themes and ideas I would have never imagined. I give them pointers on how to make the movements they are creating more dynamic and graceful. But other than that, it's their brainchild. They work together as a team. And they must commit to each other's ideas. One student had trouble committing to the work of others. She didn't want to do anything if it wasn't her idea. She even hated her own ideas (not at first, but later when the dance wasn't panning out to her expectations). I worked with her on commitment and follow through, as well as listening to others. Being kind to her friends, and more importantly, being kind to herself. She needed constant reminders to not beat herself up. I think her becoming self aware of this habit is the most important thing she'll probably learn all year. Today was the first day she didn't complain once about the ideas of others. And today was also the first day she didn't beat herself up about some small mistake she thought she made.
As a teacher I hope to bridge communities. That is a spiritual calling I feel I have. But I also hope to inspire compassion and joy. As humans we have the power to create. We are the only species on the planet that can create life, technology, art in all of it's complexities, modes of transportation, energy, and even resources that sustain not only our lives, but all life on this planet! We need to find joy in our ability to create! But first we need to be aware of the power of creation. Creating is basically a super power and a gift. Recognizing it as such helps us find joy in that process. We create through play, and play helps us create. When my students make something, it might not be what I would have made for them. But it doesn't matter. In the grand scheme of things, the most important thing to achieve is realizing joy through your own work. And that is play-based learning. Play-based learning is finding joy through your own creation. And that is a life skill everyone can use. So get out there and play. Rechild Yourself!
- Ms. Elle
|Free Flow Academy - Acting Class (Seasonally Offered through Media Academy)|
|Free Flow Academy - "Exploration Movement" Adventure Retreat|
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