The Studio Thinking Framework in Dance Education

The Studio Thinking Framework in Dance Education: research aimed at enhancing selfassessment at the 5 o’clock class.
by Jocelyn Bergland en Lot Siebe

‘To develop excellence in art, reflection and the ability to formulate appropriate development goals are crucial factors besides deliberate practice.’ Mariette Huizinga (2013) researches the balance between socio-emotional and cognitive factors in learning processes of adolescents. She stresses the importance of supporting the development of goal-oriented behavior in addition to deliberate practice. This perspective validates the didactic and pedagogic approach of Jocelyn Bergland, artistic director of the 5 o’clock class of the Theaterschool Amsterdam since 1999.
Jocelyn Bergland developed a preparatory training program for adolescent dancers of which critical reflection is an important part in addition to daily technical training and creative work. Through reflection, the young dancers monitor their own growth and development. Jocelyn Bergland was asked to join a research project hosted by the AHK’s Art Education research group that focused on assessment in the arts in collaboration with Harvard University’s Project Zero. Jocelyn Bergland drew up a research plan together with Lot Siebe. Their research topic was: Which approach to self-assessment can help the pupils reflect on their learning process and the technical and artistic criteria used by the staff and teachers?

As researchers, we aimed to develop a more systematic process for self-assessment. We are enthusiastic about the Studio Thinking Framework developed by Lois Hetland and Ellen Winner (2013). The Studio Thinking Project was an observational study designed to understand what was taught (the Studio Habits of Mind) and how teaching was conducted (the Studio Structures) in rigorous visual arts instruction. The model provided a context for critical analysis of the program and learning activities undertaken by students of the 5 o’clock class.

In this report we would like to share the results of our research process. We considered daily training classes, rehearsals, study counseling sessions and performances. The assessment criteria and procedures were compared with the Studio Habits of Mind: Develop Craft / Engage & Persist / Envision / Express / Observe / Reflect / Stretch & Explore / Understanding Arts Community. The training classes gave insight in how pupils develop their craft, how they deal with and persevere in their training, the way they express themselves, what they observe and the extent of their exploration. During study counseling, students were asked to undertake reflection tasks and answer questions. This provided us with information about how they reflect verbally and the way they formulate goals for improvement. Performance situations and creative work processes were not included in the report.

Download the research report


Bekijk de presentatie van het onderzoek, LKCA conferentie 25 november 2013