Creativity in constraints

by Sofia Martyn | 2 December 2020 | Posted in: Curriculum

When online teaching began in March it seemed like something of a novelty. But as time progressed and the global epidemiological situation worsened, reality kicked in, the novelty wore off and every day seemed like one before. With students in different countries and timezones, our asynchronous timetable allocated three one-hour slots per week for students to continue studying their elected arts subject. I would upload work through instructional videos and respond to questions and feedback through email.

There were some benefits to this: I could plan a unit by giving breakdowns each week, then I could set deadlines and let the students go off and work independently. It would be very easy to assess them individually. But asynchronous teaching also had its downsides: it was difficult to monitor the progress of the students and they needed to be quite proactive if they wanted to check-in or clarify something.

Once it was confirmed that online learning would remain for the rest of the academic year, I realised that my final units would need a rethink. I contemplated how we could study a new theory that could be performed with minimal technical and scenic requirements whilst still retaining its authenticity as a pre-Diploma programme mode of inquiry.

I created a new unit for M5 (grade 10) which was loosely based on the assessment criteria that you might encounter on the DP Higher Level Solo Task. The unit was divided into four sections where students would complete the following:
• carry out research and create a lecture-presentation where they had to attribute their sources;
• explore the theory through practical exploration and exercises;
• plan, create and perform their own solo performance;
• reflect on their piece, the process of undertaking the task and discuss their ‘takeaways’.

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