At the end of Term 3 I had one of the most wonderful experiences ever, as Principal at the RSA Academy. Our Y13 IB Performing Arts group held an assembly of 330 students and staff transfixed for 20 minutes with a performance around stereotyping. Often such performances can feel a little patronizing as the message is over- simplified but this was not and as a result the audience felt valued and were transfixed. The acting was ‘real’ and the uncomfortable moments, where the message was so stark it was funny, led to uncomfortable laughter and the subsequent reflection that accompanies this.
Following the performance I sought out Miss Kinley who had supported the students. She was teaching a Y7 group and so I took the opportunity to ask them for a critique. Critique is one of the major learning tools in our OM curriculum, training students to understand the value of learning from mistakes. The feedback was stunning; they focused on setting, pitch and register, theme and plot. When they were asked for ‘cool feedback’ (what could have been improved) the suggestions were around the need for elevated staging to improve the view for those at the back!
Why is this important? There are two main reasons I suppose: failing forward (learning and getter better by making mistakes) and ‘the power to create’. Creativity is sadly undervalued in school performance measures but essential for the holistic development of our young people and for the economy. To be creative involves taking risks, redrafting, accepting constructive feedback and gumption. These are all things that have to be practiced.