Date: Fri, 28 Jun 1996 13:37:40 MST From: Renee Buchanan [RBUCHAN@ssb1.saff.utah.edu]
"Service Learning: Modern Dance"
University of Utah
taught by Phyllis A. Haskell
beginning Winter, 1996
Service Learning; Modern Dance is a course designed specifically to bridge the learning in the Modern Dance Major to practical experience in community service. The class, which meets once a week for 90 minutes, is an elective open to Modern Dance majors of sophomore, junior, senior status as well as to second year graduate students. Variable credit (1-3 credit hours) is available depending on the number of hours students devote to their volunteer activities. Through community research students select the organization/area that interest them, propose a project, meet with the appropriate representative to discuss their project, design the project, draw up a contract for mutual approval, carry out the project, and help develop an evaluation process for the project. In-class hours are devoted to discussion of projects and ideas relevant to service-learning. Guest speakers are regularly invited.
Students have been and will continue to be contracting with community agencies such as: Jackson Elementary School, Friendship Manor, high school dance programs, Salt Lake City Work Activities Center, as well as not for profit arts agencies such as: Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Repertory Dance Theater, Utah Arts Council. Students perform dance related volunteer work for such agencies to fulfill a need expressed by the agency. Contracts stipulating the following will be drawn up to assure that the agreement is mutual: -description of duties to be performed -dates and hours of commitment -method of evaluation/assessment
2. The service experience relates to the subject matter of the course.
Students will be volunteering service 1) in the field of dance discipline to "non-dance" agencies or 2) other types of service to dance agencies. An example of #I would be students teaching creative movement classes at Jackson Elementary School. An example of #2 would be students working on special projects for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, such as booking a touring schedule in Utah schools. Students will attend weekly 90 minute classroom sessions for discussion of such topics as: -what is the role of the artist in the community? -what is community and how is it formed? -what is unique about our local/state/ national "community"? -what are the needs/advantages for art in the community? -what can dance contribute to the community? In addition student's keep journals of their volunteer experiences and write papers on a variety of related topics such as "Who am I as an Artist? Who am I as a Community Service Volunteer? Students also read assigned articles on dance and community service, such as Liz Lerman's "Are Miracles Enough?, Selected Writings on Art and Community" and books such as _Habits of the Heart_, Robert Bellah et al. Student's also gain information from the invited guest speakers. This past year, speakers included Jackson Newell, Mary Ann Lee, Joan Woodbury, and Tandy Beal, among others. Videos about the difference that the arts can make in education and community are shown in class, for example "Something Within Me".
3. Activities in the class provide a method or methods for students to think about what they learned through the service experience and how these learning's related to the subject of the class.
The weekly classroom component is the context for reflection of issues of service learning as related to dance. Weekly discussions cover such topics as: What does the dance artist have to offer the community? What is community, can it be created and, if so, how?, Define yourself as an artist and as a community service volunteer? What is the history of dance outreach in our community? our state? our nation?, Why have you chosen to do this work? Have the arts lost the public trust? Why? if so, what can we do to change attitudes? Written assignments and readings augment the discussions as methods of reflection. Regular in-class reporting of activities, problems, and successes of the projects are subjects for group discussion.
4. The course offers a method to assess the learning derived from the service. Credit is given for the learning and its relation to the course, not for the service alone.
Assessments are done in both written and verbal form. Students prepare written mission statements at the beginning of the quarter to set their goals. At the end of the quarter they write a self-assessment paper based on these goals. They design the service contract in concert with the agency supervisor which includes a design for evaluation by the supervisor, the clients, and the student. The supervisor submits a written evaluation (which includes client input) to the instructor with a copy to the student. Additional methods of assessment on learning issues beyond the service work include grades on papers and in-class participation.
5. Service interactions in the community recognize the needs of service recipients, and offer an opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of the service.
Student contracts are written to include an assessment component by their agency supervisor, the clients, and the student's personal evaluation of him/herself and the project as a whole. An example of this would be the teacher/student assessment forms that were submitted to the student volunteer and to the course instructor from a service project conducted in Bonneville Jr. High School. In addition, the junior high school teacher provided a one to one conference with the volunteer at the close of the project and wrote a letter of evaluation of the student's work.
6. The service opportunities are aimed at the development of the civic education of students even though they may also be focused on career preparation.
The readings, videos, guest lectures, in-class discussions, and assigned papers are all focused on developing civic-minded artists who understand their place in the community. Many of the discussions center on the interdependence of the arts and the community. Local artists who understand this interrelationship and serve as excellent examples of how arts can enrich a community and how a community can support the arts, are brought in to share their experiences and their ideas. Students are encouraged to create their own designs of bridging dance and the community. Henry Miller has said, "Art teaches nothing but the significance of life." I would suggest that the life lessons of the Service-Learning experience will give significance to our student's art and help them to create art that is of significance to their community.
7. Knowledge from the discipline informs the service experiences with which the students are involved.
Students are actively engaged in bridging the work of their discipline to their service work. Content comes from the personal artistic work the students are engaged in, as well as from their university course work in dance. They are creating additional learning about the content while actively presenting it to others. In addition, their service work experiences often inform and influence the content and approach of the student's personal artistic statements.
8. The class offers a way to learn from other class members as well as from the instructor.
The weekly classroom component is an ongoing context for discussions, questions, and insights between the students as well as with the instructor and guest lecturers. Some students choose to work together on class projects, designing, implementing, and evaluating as a team. Individual and team projects are regularly discussed and evaluated in class. Students share their concerns, challenges, and successes in class discussions and receive support and suggestions from their fellow students. In addition, students are asked to read and comment on one another's papers. -----
This class is a seminar format wherein discussion is the primary source of information during class time. Guest speakers are regularly invited to lecture. Students attend class sessions once a week for an hour and a half in addition to contracting with a community group for a specified number of service hours per week. The number of hours is based on the student's schedule and the needs of the organization. Credit hours vary from 1-3 based on the contractual agreement between the student and the organization. Through community research students select the community organization/area that interests them, propose a project, meet with the appropriate representative to discuss their project, design the project, draw up a contract for mutual approval, carry out the project, help develop an evaluation process for the project.
C. Grades will be based on class participation and successful completion of class projects. Evaluation will be based on reports from community organizations, student reports and assignments and instructor's observations.