14 Oct 2010
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DANZ applauds recent research highlighting kinaesthetic learning as a
key to improving achievement levels in education.
New research undertaken by Rakesh Pandey of Dunedin based Big Picture
Learning, showing how the use of kinaesthetic learning could increase the
achievement of Māori and Pacific Island students at school, is exciting news for the dance sector.
"It reinforces the importance of dance and movement to the wellbeing and
development of our Tangata Whenua and Pacific Island peoples. It also
demonstrates that for kinaesthetic learners, who are found in every
population, kinaesthetic learning styles need to be used as part of our
education methods. Dance is a strong component of kinaesthetic learning
styles”. says Dr. Tania Kopytko, Executive Director of DANZ (Dance Aotearoa New Zealand).
The research supports DANZ’s view that there is enormous potential for
dance to contribute to education and general recreation programmes. At
present this potential is underutilised.
Dance across the cultures is highly popular in New Zealand. The SPARC
research undertaken in 2007/2008 as part of the Active New Zealand Survey showed that 16.8% of New Zealand adults (aged 16 years and over) regularly participate in dance. Dance is the 8th most popular physical activity for New Zealanders, ranking 5th with females 22.6% of New Zealand women dance.
Dance is ranked as the 6th most popular activity with Māori and Asian, 5th with Pacific Island and 7th with “Others” (including migrants from Middle Eastern, Latin American and African ethnicities). It is a key component of Māori and Pacific Island cultures, where it expresses core cultural values and identity.
This is reinforced by Rakesh Pandey’s research: “If the kinaesthetic learning styles of Māori and Pacific Islanders were taken into account, there would no longer be a lag in the achievement of pupils.”
“The statistics show there is a significant percentage of our population whose education and also recreation, could be supported and approached
differently.” says Dr. Kopytko.
DANZ has long been an advocate for kinaesthetic learning. It provides
motivation and appropriate challenge and enjoyment. Dance can be very
effective in working with attention deficit syndrome students and low
achievers. Dance can also be used as a tool for learning in the areas of
numeracy and literacy. These developments will add to the current ‘explosion’ of dance in our community.
Dance is highly popular with children and it is the fastest growing subject in senior secondary schools.
DANZ offers workshops that incorporate the principles of kinaesthetic learning in its LEOTC (Learning Experiences Outside of the Classroom) programme. We look forward to a stronger shift towards using kinaesthetic learning in schools and the wider community. We are excited about the possibilities this will bring to increase visibility and wider community access to dance.
DANZ hopes Mr Pandey’s research will lead to a change in understanding
and support for Māori and Pacific Island education and culture. DANZ heartily supports this and also sees such a shift having broader positive implications for the dance sector.