One of the acts in the performance was composed of three African students who performed a traditional African dance. The thirteen-year-old students danced in a manner that was found by the writer of this work to be erotic in nature and contained dance moves that this writer found to be provocative in a sexual context. The clothing worn by the dancers was revealing in nature as well. It entered the mind of the writer of this work that perhaps the conservative environment in which the writer had been reared, or one of a traditional Chinese cultural heritage had biased these thoughts. It was the realization of the writer of this work that in order to win the respect of children in such a culturally diverse environment that the teacher must possess the mindset that allows for removal of any and all bias that one might possess toward other cultures.
Week Five - November 8, 2006
Week five began a new group of students. This group contained 20 students who were year 10 students. The writer of this work was allocated three of the students. While the beginning of anything new is always found to be somewhat awkward one of the youth workers introduced us to a warm up game which allowed for everyone to become acquainted in a fun and interactive manner. The realization that came upon the writer of this work during this week of the project is that one must be forever a learner and this is particularly important to note because there is always something new to be learned. During this week we did not take students outside of the school area but we did take students around the school to photograph the surroundings of the school.
Week Six - November 15, 2006
Week six was comprised of visits to Thames Barrier Park and walks around the area of the docklands.
Week Seven - November 22, 2006
During week seven the students were taken to visit the Docklands Light Railway control station and courtesy lunch and a presentation of the operation of the network was provided. During this visit all the main offices of the control station were toured which was a privilege as some of the areas were considered to be 'out-of-bounds' for even those who are employed by the Docks Light Railway. It was learned during this tour that the Docks Light Railway is a separate entity to the London Underground. It was interesting in discovering how integral the Docks Light Railway network is to the community through the facilitation of the connection of communities as the Docks Light Railway acts as the transport that connects to the artery of London, or the Underground. The fact that the children were allowed to enter the offices of the private organization illustrated that while the organization is a profit-making organization that it still has an interest in retaining excellent relationships to those who comprise the community that it serves. The Docks Light Railway will be placing the work produced by the students in the advert carriages of the train.
Week Eight - November 29, 2006
Generally one expects that students in this age group are a tremendously rebellious group or that they have attitudes towards others that are other than respectful and particularly toward those in the elderly or advanced age group however, one of the students from the group of year 10 students absolutely provide this theory as wrong. The writer of this work was shocked and amazed when viewing an incident that occurred in the park. Three of the male students were play-fighting chasing each other around the park when one of the stated that an elderly lady was passing through the area. One of the students stated that they should stop and allow the lady to go through first. The writer of this work prior to this incident held the belief that consciousness was closely connected to the age of the individual however, after having witnessed the incident and the action of the boys it occurred to the writer of this work that there should be more faith and hope placed in the new generation of young people that will be the adults of tomorrow's world.
Week 9 (6th December 2006)
During Week Nine there were groups of students that are year 11 students that joined the group. This week the writer of this work and other teachers/mentors realized the importance of enforcing time scheduling. We were scheduled to visit three sites specifically, the Cundy Park, Excel and the Beach. It was managed however to visit only the first two of these locations due to the lack of enforcement of time scheduling and instead of pushing the students to complete their photographic assignments at each of these sites time ran out resulting in visits to only Cundy Park and Excel and the missed opportunity of visiting the Beach.
Week 10 (13th December 2006)
During Week Ten of the project, the project coordinator was absent due to a prior engagement and this added to the unexpected illness of the lead youth worker resulted in the situation where only the writer of this work and one other university student were required to form an action plan in the twenty-minute timeframe immediately prior to the beginning of the session. This was experienced as a time of high-pressure and exceeding stress due to the importance of the day's schedule. The choice of cancellation of the day's activities was present but a decision was made of sticking with the option of not disappointing the students. The result was that the day was a great experience in handling the unexpected and participating in the decision-making process.
Week 11 (20th December 2006)
Negotiations with outside organizations was found to be a complicated process and the learning in a practical manner must rely on one's self-confidence and the project reliability on which one is working and as well the writer discovered that one must rely on their own self or in actuality trust their own decisions. The writer learned through this project that many chances exist for experimentation in face-to-face encounters in dealing with and working out situations relating to external institutions for example; arranging to collect free-of-charge visitor's tickets on the Docks Light Railway for members of the project and for students. At this time the writer of this work spoke with the Docks Light Railways community representative to procure the free tickets which had been pre-arranged by the coordinator of the project. The free tickets not only enabled to project to take the children to tour the various Dockland sites it further facilitated the project's time-keeping and enabled the project to visit each planned area on this occasion.
Student Journal Entries Summary
The lessons learned during the project allowed the writer of this work to extend the understanding and competence of the art practice into a practicable application within the public sphere as the students were introduced to the surrounding area of their community during the project weeks. Furthermore, it allowed the writer of this work to foster less experienced students in the appreciation of art in its many and various forms. As the writer of this work intends to pursue a position within education in the arts at a school the participation in this project was incredibly important in enlightening the writer of this work to the cultural and diversity issues that are inherent to this aspect of education in the arts. The work of Kathia Castro Laszlo, Ph.D. entitled: "The Evolutionary Role of Art" states: "In contrast to the Western notion of art, ancient cultures and traditional cultures of our time have artistic expression integrated into their lives. Art is part of the spiritual and community activities, and therefore have a central role in the functioning of their culture." (2006) Laszlo offers for example Pre-conquest Mesoamerica in which the society had not art for "art's sake" because "art as a separate discipline and activity had not been socially constructed..." (2006)
Cultural Diversity - Art Forms, Language, Societal Elements
Among the realizations of the writer of this work and future educator in the arts was that 'art' is different among the various cultures of the world. The 'forms' of art, the 'language' of art and even the sources of art within various cultures are differentiated by the specific aspects and beliefs within that culture. It is related that in the work of Laszlo (1996) that evolution of art is described as."..the patterns and dynamics of change in the cosmos, as well as in the living world: in the history of human culture and society no less than in the history of life on earth..." And states that it is this that has been acknowledged as the "emerging meaning of evolution....not only the evolution of living species but the evolution of all things that emerge, persist, and change or decay in the known universe..." (2006) In fact Laszlo holds that art evolution "can be considered a…