Monday, 8 February 2010

Imagining a research project

All projects have a situation. This is located in the workplace / professional practice. One such I came across recently was in a high school in Minnesota. It started with two teachers being curious about the disconnection that students had between what they learned in the studio and their ability to transfer that into performance. The teachers observed that there was greater student voice in dance composition than in dance performance and that feedback was lacking in performance practice. They had a hunch that structuring practice time and encouraging independent learning might help the students. The researchers read what experts had to say about peer learning in order to deepen their own understanding and to enable rigour in their research design as well as providing focus on their research objective. The research question they settled upon was what effect would peer coaching have on performance. The research design led them to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. The methods were:

Initial and final student surveys
Pre & post intervention assessments
Teachers’ journals
Field notes from educators
Student Reflection Sheets

All this data was triangulated and analysed and the findings were that “using peer coaching positively affects final performances, classroom community and the revision process ..”

The research article is easy to read and is the final outcome of what required a great deal of thought and application in planning. It’s available from the Middlesex Library to registered students from the e-journals collection. Here is the reference if you wish to have a look at it.

Harding, M.; Haven, B. (2009) “The effects of peer coaching in the secondary arts classroom: intentional watching in the dance studio”. Journal of Dance Education. Vol. 9 Issue 2, p41-51

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