Every day, Lucy Sedlacek of Melrose High School provides meaningful learning for her students using the language of dance, the ultimate expression—and fusion—of mind, body, and spirit.
Discover how Lucy’s dance students applied their craft to Fluency-focused projects that combine dance in some creative advertising for products of their own design.
Kurt Vonnegut famously said that in teaching, “The medium is the human mind and spirit.” If that’s true, then hats off to Lucy Sedlacek, a Year 10 advisor and dance teacher at Melrose High School. Every day she creates inspiring and meaningful projects for her learners that are the ultimate expression of mind and spirit, using the remarkable language of dance.
Letting students take the lead means they learn by way of discovery and creation—what real learning is all about.
Ever since Wabisabi introduced the Essential Fluencies to Melrose School, Lucy has used them in her teaching practices. One of her recent Fluency projects involves dance in advertising.
“Lately, dance has been increasingly popular in advertising for several different products,” Lucy says. The project, called Dance in Advertising, challenged her learners to create original advertisements incorporating dance movement to sell their product.
Students began by exploring different types of TV ads for different products, and what the specific qualities are that make some ads more memorable than others.
“Ads surround us every day everywhere in a variety of sources,” Lucy reminded them. “Some are interesting and thought-provoking, while others are easily forgotten.” Learners were then faced with the challenge of using dance to develop a unique and memorable piece of advertising. But that wasn’t all.
Images of the Melrose HS dance students in action
Besides designing original choreography for their projects, they also had to come up with a whole new product, and an ad designed for its promotion. “I received many awesome adverts from the students promoting a range of things from lipstick to chocolate which was a lot of fun,” recalls Lucy.
“As a teacher, I have been able to focus more on the students and their abilities,” she adds. “I can encourage them to explore what they choose, and in the process, they are often able to teach me about what matters to them.”
The Essential Fluencies were introduced at Melrose a few years ago. Lucy believes they were an ideal method for engaging students in the classroom in a different way. So what has the process of working with the Fluencies brought to the students and staff of Melrose School?
Using the Fluencies in the classroom allowed students to receive tasks through a fresh approach with a flexibility that ensured they were responsible for what they produced.
- Students are thinking more for themselves and assuming responsibility.
- Lessons are engaging and related to real-life learning.
- Students are developing a sense of ownership for learning.
- They are working on projects that solve challenging problems that are relevant to their interests.
The Fluencies ultimately make a teacher's job much easier by reducing workload and shifting responsibility for learning. Additionally, the Wabisabi team has provided Melrose teachers like Lucy with much-needed support and encouragement.
- Letting students take the lead has shown that it is possible to learn when they are doing entirely different things.
- Teachers have assumed the roles of facilitators and “guides on the side” as students take the lead in learning.
- The Fluencies processes allow teachers to connect content topics to their students’ interests and increase student engagement.
Ultimately any shift of pedagogy and philosophy will have a lasting effect on the whole-school culture. After working with Wabisabi, this is what's happening at Melrose School.
- Embracing the Fluencies is gradually fostering a more creative and dynamic school culture.
- There is a more profound sense of collaboration between students and teachers as well as between the teachers themselves.
- Integrity and curiosity are developing for everyone in unexpected ways.
- Educators are being inspired to both learn and instruct in many different ways to connect to learners.