Creative Dance: Singapore children’s creative thinking and problem solving responses
Keun, L. L., & Hunt, P. (2006). Creative dance: Singapore children’s creative thinking and problem solving responses. Research in Dance Education, 7(1), 31.
Teacher-researchers developed and implemented a dance-integrated curriculum in a primary class of seven-year-old children and observed the effects of dance education on the children’s acquisition of dance skills and their proficiency in creative thinking and problem solving. The dance-integrated curriculum centered on the coral reef and was specifically designed to develop and increase dance and creative skills in participating children. The teacher-researchers observed students over five sessions in order to document any progressive learning, particularly in their kinesthetic responses (instinctive responses to external stimuli) to the problem-solving tasks, and used the observation data as the primary data source. The teacher-researchers found in the context of a supportive, dance-integrated learning environment, children developed creative thinking skills and learned to use bodily kinesthetic intelligence, defined as the use of one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems.
The teacher-researchers report that students made progress in creative thinking and problem-solving skills as evidenced through the following parameters: original body sculptures, innovative pathways, individual movement patterns, and dance composition. The teacher-researchers observed many individual differences in creative ideas and movement choices of the participating children.
The teacher-researchers observed the development of important aspects of the creative process throughout the integrated dance unit. Specifically, children consistently repeated shapes they had invented throughout the dance sequence, indicating a sense of ownership over the movement and form and a sense of kinesthetic achievement. Ownership over an idea is cited as an important part of the creative process. Similarly, the teacher-researchers observed children exercising instinctive creativity through solving problems like how to transition to and from open and closed shapes in synchronization with the music cues.
Students progressed in the area of dance skill acquisition. They learned the dance concepts of personal and general space, moving and freezing, levels, opening and closing, and fast and slow tempo. According to the teacher-researchers, these acquired skills helped generate creativity and divergent thinking through exploration of various solutions using the newly acquired dance skills.