We are Rebecca and Elle, friends and colleagues from Norwich and Manchester, using our skills and expertise in Performing Arts (PA) to break down the misconceptions surrounding Performing Arts, and the benefits it has in a school environment.
We are both qualified teachers (PGCE) and Performing Arts Consultants, previously working with schools and education businesses to improve PA provision.
We have a passion for creative learning approaches and using PA skills to explore a range of learning styles. We don’t want a child’s creative experience to be limited to a street dance class, or the school nativity.
Here at Creative Minds we understand that all children (and adults) learn in different ways. By using a practical creative learning approach, we can ensure lessons are inclusive, everyone is learning, making progress and having fun.
At Creative Minds we deliver high quality bespoke creative learning experiences for children at both primary and secondary level, with a focus on curriculum development. We work directly with schools and teachers with our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training events that focus on practical teaching approaches and an understanding of how and why PA is beneficial within all school environments and for the everyday development of our children. We believe PA should be used as an additional learning style and as a continuation of classroom learning.
Who are Creative Minds
One of the overall memories that still stands out in my mind as my time as a Secondary Drama teacher was the sheer joy, determination, and compliance of ‘Harry’, in Year 9, within my weekly Drama lessons.
In other lessons he found it hard to focus and concentrate whilst sat behind a desk, usually resulting in poor behaviour and low attainment levels.
When he arrived for Drama his face physically lit up. He enjoyed the active elements of the lesson and always worked well with his peers in group work.
Each week he was free to express himself verbally, physically and emotionally; something he often missed out on in other lessons. He wasn’t the ‘best’ actor in the class, but he engaged in the lesson and showed progression- what more could I ask for?
Having worked in performing arts education since graduating from University I have come across many ‘Harry’s’ in my time, and am passionate about supporting other teachers to enable them to bring a creative learning approach to their own lessons.
There are many misconceptions in schools surrounding Performing Arts, especially related to Dance and Drama. Many think they tick the Ofsted box of ‘drama’ by creating the annual Nativity play, or with ‘dance’ by putting on a lunch time street dance club.
Whilst there is no denying these all hold value and benefit a child’s growth and school experience; they should not be limited to just this.
Creative learning is not just characterised within those subjects commonly thought of as being inherently ‘creative’, such as dance, drama, music and visual arts. Creative learning approaches or ‘ways of learning’ can be incorporated into every aspect of a child’s school experience, through exploring, reflecting, questioning, adapting, challenging, and developing, in both curriculum and extra-curriculum learning.
Research has shown that by supporting and educating schools on how to embed creative learning and interactive approaches into the National Curriculum, through individual subjects and through cross-curricular approaches, it can have a positive impact on children’s personal development and preparation for life beyond school.
Drama and dance related skills and practical learning approaches can reach all learning styles through using a range of stimulus such as verbal, auditory, kinaesthetic and visual. All children, (and adults) learn in different ways; that is what makes us unique as humans, and our learning approaches and styles should reflect this.
By using practical methods, we can bring a topic to life and make learning fun! Rather than sitting and looking at a picture of the Solar System, why not physically become the Solar System, and explore how the planets move, their physical traits and relationships with other planets.
Creative learning can support the mental and physical wellbeing of young people through socialising in a range of ways, by having time to reflect on the work they have created and by learning through doing. All children can have the opportunity to achieve and feel success, they can create their own work and there is no ‘wrong’ answer.
‘Approaches developed successfully in traditionally ‘creative’ subjects, such as the arts and English, were often incorporated into other areas, such as science and mathematics.’ Learning: creative approaches that raise standards, Oftsed report, 2010