From Nov. 1 through November 8, 2013 Hughes Academy of Irish Dance, CIVS staff, and Purdue Calumet researchers Dr. Meg Rincker and Dr. Sue Misner, partnered with Hawthorn Elementary North school to teach 400 grade schoolers an Irish Jig!
The collaboration involved testing the effectiveness of various teaching methods of a traditional irish dance known as “the Reel.” CIVS Director Chenn Zhou, Senior Researcher Jack Moreland, and CIVS programmers Lucas Phillips and Jerry Dekker worked with Katie Hughes, certified irish dance teacher, to create a CIVS visualization tool for “the Reel.”
Katie Hughes, T.C.R.G, and Hughes Academy of Irish Dance, kicked off the experiment week with an all-school assembly, featuring her irish dancers in their costumes performing to exciting Irish music.
Throughout the week of Physical Education instruction, one third of the students had entirely face to face dance instruction with Katie Hughes, one third had purely the CIVS visualization tool, and one third had a hybrid of the two models. Pre and Post experiment student surveys showed students had slightly better scores from the hybrid method, but that all students increased their performance scores significantly. Also, students expressed high levels of enthusiasm for learning Irish Dance, and students raised their heart rates significantly when using the visualization tool.
The week concluded with a dance off or feis (pronounced fesh in Irish) where the school’s excellent P.E. teachers Matt Polnow, Christi Blasinski and Kristen Wilson competed against the Hughes Academy dancers and students performed for each other to see who was the best dancer! The best dancer awards went to Hawthorne Elementary North Principal Katie Waggoner and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Lisa Cerauli.