- Learning Area
Michelle Holden has spent 30 years teaching physical education and dance. Throughout her time as a teacher she has seen improvements in the syllabus that have led to clearer learning outcomes for students.
Michelle started her career as a temporary Physical Education teacher 30 years ago, not long after the first 7-10 Dance syllabus was created in NSW. In 1993 Michelle took up a permanent role at Westfields Sports High School where she started teaching dance one day week.
“I drove the students to the local church to run the class as the school had no dance space at the time. By 1995 I was working five days, teaching elective dance and the Talented Sports Program (TSP) Dance,” Michelle reflected.
“I was lucky enough to be working with colleagues that recognised the value of the Arts and who dedicated their time to creating a Dance syllabus and subsequently the HSC course.
“I wish I had a copy of that first 7-10 syllabus as it was a really interesting document, and everyone was so proud of it as they are of this new syllabus.”
As someone very familiar with the current Dance syllabus, Michelle appreciates that the revised Dance 7–10 draft syllabus makes learning outcomes for students much clearer
“Learning outcomes have been made more explicit and therefore easier to interpret for the classroom teacher. Essential knowledge can now be easily identified and therefore lead to better programming and delivery in the classroom,” Michelle said.
“The links between the practices or focus areas provide a better appreciation of dance as an artform. The content groups identify and guide the teacher to the links between them.”
While individual topics currently taught for Dance won’t change because of the NSW Curriculum Reform, the way Dance is taught will.
“The clarity of the learning outcomes means that teachers can implement a comprehensive yet flexible dance program for their students. The revised draft syllabus allows for greater inclusivity, resulting in students having a global view of the context of Dance in the world,” Michelle said.
“The interrelatedness of performance, composition and appreciation will allow students to view dance as an artform. Engaging students in critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration which makes for a better learning experience, one that is more in line with real life experiences.”
“I think the revised draft syllabus is better because it’s taken the three practices/focus areas mentioned and expanded the experiences for students. There is now an opportunity for all students to study dance from any background or ability level. The draft syllabus is in line with current educational standards and studies of best practice,” Michelle said.
“In a world where body language, emotional and social intelligence, critical thinking, and collaboration are characteristics of success and are being tested daily, the draft dance syllabus develops these skills in students,” Michelle concluded.
Michelle is a member of the technical advisory group (TAG) for Dance 7–10 that is providing expert advice and quality assurance of the outcomes and content of the draft syllabus. TAG members include academics and practising teachers with deep knowledge of the subject area, curriculum development and student learning.
Consultations for the Dance 7–10 draft syllabus closed on Monday 26 September 2022.