Artists created a rich narrative environment

The artists’ activities were generally very rich in language and story.

In presenting themselves and their practice, artists made extensive use of analogy, anecdote and personal history. They were equally interested in students’ stories and those from the locality and its various communities. They often encouraged the students to play with words and to invent stories.

Artists always used the correct disciplinary language for particular activities, regardless of students’ age or designated ability levels. This encouraged students to think as well as talk like artists and fostered a sense of mastery that was both cognitive and skills based.

Skilful artists did not ‘talk down’ to students and expected them to converse in more adult ways than are common in classrooms. Even if performance was not their primary artist practice, most artists showed a readiness to improvise and use drama tools. This encouraged students to use language imaginatively and in ways that enhanced the activities in which they were engaged.

Video materials

A selection of videos from our Vimeo channel on the creation of a rich narrative environment can be viewed below.