Scores, instructions, prompts and briefs: The assignment as artwork
Trying to grasp arts assignments can feel like chasing a ghost. They are continuously thought up and carried out by arts teachers and artists, only to evaporate before they can be preserved as momentous slices of curriculum. As such, arts assignments constitute a living curriculum that is personal, dynamic, and embodied.
Generally, arts curricula provide much freedom for interpretation, leaving space for the design of personal assignments that can relatively easily be implemented in the classroom. The collateral effect, however, is that these assignments can disappear into thin air when the teacher changes jobs. Arts assignments are dynamic too, as they are responsive to emergent events, themes or learning
needs. Many arts teachers will constantly change, update, alter or remix their own or published assignments. Moreover, especially in theatre, music, and dance education, assignments are part of an embodied teaching practice, in which teachers communicate in physical ways: their directions, prompts, and coaching strategies are often non-verbal and difficult to grasp in written assignments.