Challenging the Rules of Engagement: Critical Pedagogy, Dance Education and the Argument for Political Literacy

Christina Kostoula
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As an inclusive dance teacher “doing Outreach” in inner-London schools, I started questioning the pedagogic model I use. I become increasingly aware of the weaknesses of the distinctive form of symbolic communication that I aim to transmit to my students. I use principles identified as progressive, liberal and inclusive aiming at positioning participating subjects equally and uniformly. But in reality the students are categorised differentially - by the society and culture - based on concrete criteria of race, gender, class and ability.

In this paper I challenge the way I “read” their differential embodiment of social roles. I investigate the ways students and teachers make sense of unequal roles in dance practice. I offer examples from fieldwork on how social reality is treated when it erupts in our classrooms and studios. I ask: Is it ever possible to compensate for inequality through dance? When the communicative context shifts from a controlled inclusive workshop to a moment of crisis and resistance, are we all encouraged to problem-solve together? What can be our critical tools?

Keywords: Dance Education, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Ethnography, Sociology of Education
Stream: Arts Education, Other or Stream Unspecified
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Christina Kostoula

PhD student, Department of Dance Studies, University of Surrey
London, UK

Christina Kostoula is a freelance dance and drama teacher.Following her MA in Performance and Culture (Goldsmiths College) she trained as a inclusive arts practitioner and became an outreach member of Chicken Shed Theatre Co. She has been artistic leader of a children's theatre group in East London and is currently completing her PhD thesis entitled: "Divided by Ability, A Critique of Inclusive Dance Education and Performance" (University of Surrey). She has recently been a visiting tutor for the MA programme at Goldsmiths, teaching the module on corporeality and embodiment. Research interests: dance education, sociology of performance, critical pedagogy, critical theory.

Ref: A06P0585