Home' Link : Learn Issue No. 1 Contents While learning musical theory and rehearsing with
peers in the confines of a studio has its merits;
there's nothing more engaging, motivating and
exciting then performing in front of a real audience. The
lessons learnt on this stage are far more meaningful and
challenging for any student studying music or performing
arts, that's according to CQUniversity's Senior Lecturer in
Creative and Performing Arts Judith Brown.
It's for this reason Judith initiated a series of free evening
lecture-recitals back in 2001 to enable students of the
Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Mackay
to experience live music performance as an integral part
of their learning. Nine years later, these recitals continue
as an essential part of the curriculum and have become an
important institution in Mackay's social and cultural life.
Judith's teaching philosophy is to inspire and motivate
students to go beyond the attainment of purely technical
ability, to develop their skills as professional performers and
independent learners. She believes the performances equip
students to become successful performers, educators and
lifelong learners in their chosen profession.
"The professional interaction I have with students who
perform with me in these public lecture recitals creates
further opportunities to mentor them as performers
and challenges them to reflect critically on their own
development as creative practitioners."
Judith was awarded the Vice-Chancellor's Award for
Teaching Excellence and also received an Australian
Learning & Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding
Contributions to Student Learning in 2010.
"Ialways had dreams but never thought I could
actually achieve them, but here I am on my way
there." These words written by a STEPS student
as part of a reflective writing assignment shows how the
University's bridging program has made a huge impact on its
students, due in no small part to its enthusiastic teachers.
Language and learning Course Coordinator, Helen Holden,
believes the STEPS program enables her to work with a
unique cohort of adult learners who have very specific
educational needs. "Most of the adult learners I work with
have been out of the classroom for some years, and many
have had past negative education experiences that have
convinced them that they are not likely to be successful as
learners." However, Helen believes success for this cohort
is possible because of the diversity of the group and the
amazing life experience each learner brings to the classroom.
The curriculum Helen provides honours each individual's
existing knowledge and skills and their significant role
in helping students come to terms with new ideas and
information. For example, each new intake of students
begins by doing a biography exercise that not only gets them
writing, but also encourages them to share their interests,
passions and concerns. She then draws on these interests
in assigning readings and developing activities that enable
students to take a more academic approach to writing.
"As well as learning the specific academic skills required
to succeed at university these students also need to learn
how to learn. More specifically, they must find the courage
to face their fears, the confidence to challenge their
belief systems, and the faith in themselves as learners to
persevere despite setbacks."
Helen uses a number of different strategies to engage and
motivate these learners including drawing on the myths
and legends associated with the narrative of the Hero's
Journey. She uses a range of innovative learning activities
to enable students to re-conceptionalize themselves as
learners. "By challenging students to use the image of the
hero and the stories associated with those who are heroes, I
help students see their own struggle as worthwhile."
It is Helen's creativity and support that she displays to
students in this process that won her a 2010 Citation for
Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning by the
Australian Learning and teaching Council.
14 | Learn
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