Social and cultural concepts are often problematic to teach to students academically. These concepts often seem abstract, dry, detached, and counter-intuitive to students' experiences. This is particularly the case in teaching concepts related to Diversity (DEIB), including issues related to Colonialism, Slavery, Ethnicity, Social Class, Gender, Marginalization, etc.). Teaching these difficult social concepts through the embodied, cultural practices, such as Music and Hispanic Dance, makes these concepts more approachable, less threatening, non-confrontational, more relevant, and more tangible to students. Theory and research continues to point to the richness of embodied learning (English, Johnson, Mead, Minton, Sloat & Faber). Evidence indicates that embodied learning makes academic content more "absorbable", as well as making information more resilient, more memorable, and more meaningful to students. Embodied activities (such as Dance) stimulate the entire brain, create new neurons, and make connections between previously learned material and new material (Hannah, Minton). Relating content to the human body makes information more meaningful and relevant (English, Johnson). Additionally, approaching difficult social concepts through the lens/focus of Dance and Music, makes them more neutral and more enjoyable to learn about, increasing students' enjoyment, interest, focus, concentration, and understanding. Similarly, Dance can be used to teach language and cultural concepts. We are currently in the process of doing preliminary survey research to give us more feedback about what students remember learning in the Hispanic Dance Sessions. This poster is a preview of that survey data. All surveys indicated that some learning occurred.
Copyright the Author(s)
English, D. Nicole and Espino-Bravo, Chita
"Teaching Social & Cultural Concepts Through Embodied Practices (Dance) & Specific Language Purpose (Hispanic Dance Vocabulary & Metaphors): A Preview of Early Survey Data,"
SACAD: John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activity Days: Vol. 2023, Article 19.
Available at: https://scholars.fhsu.edu/sacad/vol2023/iss2023/19