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Moving Ideas

Multimodality and Embodied Learning in Communities and Schools


Edited By Mira-Lisa Katz

What does it look and feel like to communicate, create, compose, comprehend, teach, and learn with our bodies? Reaching beyond existing scholarship on multimodality and literacies, Moving Ideas expands our capacity to understand the embodied dimensions of learning and stretches our repertoires for more artfully describing them. Wresting language away from its historically privileged place at the center of social science research and practice, this collection examines the strategic layering across semiotic modes, challenging educators and researchers to revisit many of our most elemental assumptions about communication, learning, and development. The corporeal pedagogies these authors describe illuminate a powerful kind of learning that we know far too little about; in this age of accountability and high-stakes testing, failing to pay adequate attention to the promise of multimodality means forfeiting significant resources that could be used to innovatively engage people of all ages in education broadly conceived.
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1. Growth in Motion: Supporting Young Women’s Embodied Identity and Cognitive Development Through Dance After School




Growth in Motion

Supporting Young Women’s Embodied Identity and Cognitive Development Through Dance After School1


Dance is many things to many people. It can be a discipline, a practice, a ritual, an exercise, a form of prayer or meditation, a kind of storytelling or seduction, or a medium for artistic expression. In addition to being a powerful means of knowing oneself and communicating with others, dance can also support cognitive and developmental processes and identity formation.

In response to a friend’s whimsical suggestion in 1977, I started taking classes in modern dance, ballet, and a form of classical Indian storytelling dance called Kathak. Having come to dance as an older teen, I later became intrigued with how activities outside of school can inform classroom-based learning. Given the number of choices young people have for how to spend their time outside of school, I wanted to learn more about what motivated the young women with whom I dance regularly to dedicate several days each week to their art.

As a language and literacy educator since 1991, I have worked with adolescents and adults in a variety of school, college, workplace, and community settings. Several years ago, in an effort to weave my dance and academic universes together, I began to explore the world of dance as an educational researcher, hoping to unveil the distinctive dimensions of embodied learning, that is, how we learn and know...

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