This week, I have been working with an animator with whom I collaborated many years ago. He is a top-flight CG artist but I need to remind myself ‘don’t follow the leader’.
You see, there is one thing about this working relationship that is a little challenging. We both tend to have strong ideas and opinions, which can lead to a stemming of the creative flow. Differences of opinion are a necessary and often exciting part of the process. However, should either party attempt to dominate, then this can actually become stifling.
Working creatively with children, it is important to be aware of this possibility. Whereas the intention may be to encourage and motivate, it is easy for a teacher or facilitator to inadvertently adopt a position of dominance. Whilst the urge to ‘teach’ maybe hard to resist, it is invariably preferable that children be allowed to explore for themselves.
Expand & Grow
As with my collaborative experience as a composer, should too much ‘leading’ take place, there may be a narrowing of options before possibilities have been fully explored. As teachers, we can easily feel under pressure to ‘provide ‘. However, by resisting this urge, we are actually giving more, by way of license to expand and grow.
One of the many positive attributes of movement work with young children is that there is no right or wrong – only different. Having said that, it is possible for both pupils and teacher to identify outcomes that are pleasing or satisfying. working within a freely expressive framework, patterns, narratives and imagery will present themselves. It is these that we hope to find, recognize and nurture.
Don’t Lead – Don’t Follow
We want, of course, this to be the children’s’ own achievement. For them to have ownership of the outcomes is key to them taking pride in their work. So, we need to ask them: ‘what would you do next ‘, ‘how does that make you feel ‘, ‘what other shapes or moves can you think of ‘… etc. What this might produce is, of course, anyone’s guess. And therein lies the true reward.
So, be aware of your own desire to lead. Try to divert this into facilitating pupils leading themselves. Then marvel at how creative they really can be.