‘Getting started’ is taking more time than I’ve imagined. Getting started with the MAPP and, at the same time, getting started as an independent dance teacher in different projects is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I’m new to this programme, new to the professional world, new to some specific modes of thinking/ learning… Right now, ‘new’ seems to be my guideline, my companion. How do I introduce myself as a new teacher in my country to the community? What new work placements are there for me? How do I introduce a dance class to a community to which contemporary dance is new to? How do I make young students in secondary school engage in a creative process that is new to them? How do I teach dance in the context of informal education, a new thought? Every time I seem to have an answer to one of these many questions, a new one arises.
Last week’s Skype session intensified this feeling of not being able to cope with everything that is new to me, not being able to keep up. There were mostly module 2 or 3 people. The discussions focussed mainly on reflection, and surprisingly, reflection was new to me (even though after conscientiously reading through the handbooks, I noticed it isn’t as new to me as I thought, anyway). I felt disconnected and it was hard to follow the discussions. Everything seemed to be so abstract. Sometimes, someone referred to a project which concretised the subject a bit, for a few seconds, at least. I could not yet deliver a specific subject I wanted to be discussed during the chat session, so I just said what I was struggling with at that moment, which was mainly ‘how do I introduce something new to a community’. I was advised engaging in reflection (e.g.: ask myself what would make me go to a community dance class), which certainly was obvious to everyone else but me, and even so, it was very helpful. Helpful not necessary for this very issue but helpful to make me understand how we work in this programme. It made me suddenly understand what we were talking about for the last hour. It was an awkward introduction to a new way of thinking, working, creating, proceeding … but successful at the end.
Before questioning the process of reflection, thinking about different methods for reflection or how to reflect, tout court, I noticed that I first need to purposely experience the process of reflection in order to get started. Reading again the Introduction Handbook to Module One, it suddenly all makes sense. Using Reflection as a key tool for ‘Learning from experience’, but also as a starting point in order to approach new upcoming project.