Creativity and Communication through Dance: MYP Physical Health Education

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Imagine this: You’re told that within a few weeks, you’ll be stepping onto the stage of the World Championships for Dance, with the chance to earn a contract for a worldwide tour! No, you’re not on “Dancing with the Stars” or “Strictly Come Dancing”; you’re right in the ISP “big gym” during your Grade 6 Physical Health Education class.

Excited? Nervous? Ready to pick your song and begin?

This unique dance challenge was presented to Grade 6 students a few weeks ago by PHE teachers Sue Rabjohn and Oliver Hill as they embarked on their MYP (Middle Years Programme) Dance unit, an imaginative journey into the world of dance, choreography and teamwork! However,  the goal of this project was not just about showcasing dance skills; it was about understanding how effective communication within the group influences overall function and creativity.

“My team learned the valuable ability of teamwork. The Dance unit was a very important part of PHE.”

Max, Grade 6

“I really enjoyed the process because it showed how our skills developed and our group worked well together.”

Eshkar, Grade 6

While the task posed to these budding dancers was straightforward, it was certainly not easy: could they collaboratively craft a dance choreography highlighting the group’s individual talents and demonstrating synchronised dancing to a self-selected piece of music? As part of this challenge, each student was responsible for choreographing a section of the dance (intro, chorus, verse, etc), and each section had to incorporate both a canon (sequential dancing, one after the other) and unison (dancing together). This challenge required not only physical dance skills like coordination, flexibility, timing, spatial awareness, rhythm and endurance, but also effective communication and teamwork.

“I felt good, accomplished, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders after the final performance. My group carried each other, and that’s how we made it to the end.”

Heidi, Grade 6

“I really enjoyed the Grade 6 Performance in the end because I felt really accomplished and proud after!”

Zaynab, Grade 6

This innovative approach to teaching movement brought a fresh perspective to the Grade 6 PHE curriculum and also provided students with a holistic learning experience, blending the physical and interpersonal aspects of their education. Not only was this dance challenge an opportunity for students to express themselves creatively but to develop essential life skills extending beyond the dance floor’s confines!

“This PHE unit is a challenging one. It is all about communication, collaboration, organisation, risk-taking, conflict resolution and perseverance. Students’ interpersonal skills play a huge part in their group’s success in this unit. All of the groups completed the challenge and performed their dances with pride. The final showcase demonstrated their improved dance skills and commitment to getting the job done! Well Done!”

Sue Rabjohn, Middle School PHE Teacher