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Wednesday, June 22 • 13:30 - 14:20
CON02.04 - Welcome to My Classroom: Establishing Relevance via Embodied Engagement

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Semiotic choreology is an approach I developed for exploration and analysis of cultural phenomena through the expressive body. Using Laban’s movement existentials of body, space, quality and relation, in combination with a phenomenological analysis, I and my students can describe and (sometimes) physically enact thematized and spontaneous movement sequences. I invite participants to engage with questions I pose by doing a simple movement experience that involves typical everyday body movement, and connecting the movement experience with the questions and with the overarching subject matter context that launched the questions. There is a balance of small group, large group and individual reflective experiences. What semiotic choreology makes possible, depending on how I am able to involve learners and other participants, is the implication of the body of the person attempting to formulate meaning, and the tethering of that meaning making to the body’s expressive and reflexive potentialities. The body remembers.

Dissonance plays a primary role in my teaching and learning. The sooner I can move learners to dissonance, the sooner they can engage with unfamiliar, unsettling ideas and propositions. Thus unhinged from their habitual ways of thinking and knowing, they can consider approaches that they previously would resist or avoid. Yet, dissonance used like a bludgeon loses its effectiveness, hence, I must choreograph a more nuanced, progressive unfolding. I use strategically constructed questions which appear innocent and accompany these with movement engagement that allows the participants to unhinge from their habitual forms of engaging learning ‘from the neck up’. Using three progressive questions and simple movement activities within a small group format, I will provide several embedded layers that we can then unpack as a group in a larger facilitated discussion. Together we can explore how embodied engagement might allow students to connect with any subject matter in meaningful ways.


Maureen Connolly

Dr. Maureen Connolly is a Professor of Physical Education and Kinesiology in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University. Maureen’s teaching and research interests include curriculum, stressed embodiment, dance & movement education, and Freirian approaches to teaching... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 13:30 - 14:20 EDT
UCC 56