When we looked at artists working with children and young people, we found some common practices. No single artist used all of them in any one project. They always made a selection to suit the nature of the project, the stage it was at, the students, the art form and the kind of tasks that were involved. Artists used combinations of these practices, adapting their sequencing and pacing to particular circumstances. They often improvised on the spot, responding to events and the students’ needs and interests. This meant that artists, like expert teachers, were continually ‘reading’ the students, as well as keeping an eye on the longer term project and the agreed product or production. They also had to continually monitor themselves and their artistic input.
We have identified nineteen elements which help to give creative signature pedagogies their distinctive character. We have grouped these into five common approaches.
- They were flexible in the pacing of activities
- They deliberately set up routines
- The body was a site of learning, not just the mind
- Artists created a rich narrative environment
- Artists connected with and built on children’s everyday experiences
- Artists worked with a wide range of everyday and unusual artefacts.
- Artists often used costume
- Artists stimulated interest and excitement through ‘the provocation’
- Artists regularly went outside the classroom
- Artists deliberately used professional artistic norms
- Artists’ expectations were aligned with their disciplines
- Artists did not used fixed outcomes, but open-ended challenges
- Artists used themselves as a teaching resource.
- Artists introduced different classroom discourse patterns
- Artists valued collective endeavour
- Artists gave students permission to play
- Artists managed students' behaviour differently