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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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9. A Trio: Combining Language, Literacy and Movement in Preschool and Kindergarten Community-Based Dance Classes




A Trio

Combining Language, Literacy and Movement in Preschool and Kindergarten Community-based Dance Lessons


To the young child, verbal language and movement are entwined. Preverbal movement expression does not cease when a child develops language. The road to literacy involves the translation of movement expression and communication into words. Language and dance are not separate threads, but are woven together and incorporated into a fabric of communication and understanding. (Faber, 2002, Standards for Dance in Early Childhood, p. 2)

Dance classes for preschool age children reveal the magical intersection between movement and language. The creative dance class described in this chapter is a well-crafted unit of study involving multiple layers of learning about dance, being in a social setting with peers, and exploring larger early childhood concepts related to language and literacy. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 are going through an important period of life—learning letters, sounds, words, and the idea of written language and story. Through these, they explore and develop relationships to others and to the world. At the same time, children are also exploring and learning the fundamental building blocks of everyday movement—movements that are also fundamental to dance.

Below, I describe a 21-week creative dance class for 3- to 5-year-olds that systematically investigates the intersection of language and dance. I examine naming movement verbally, using written language as a springboard for movement and ← 187...

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