Performing Art Experiences and Development Processes

One of the overarching goals of performing art visits is that they will contribute to children and young people's education and formation. Here you can read a little about how you as a teacher can utilize performing art experiences in the education assignment.

Article Authors: Tone Cronblad Krosshus and Elisabeth Hovde Johannesen are leaders of the Research Group for Aesthetic Learning Processes at the University of South-Eastern Norway.

  • Performing art is important because it's about life. When encountering performing art, students are given unlimited opportunities to experience and learn.
  • Performing art invites to explore existential themes such as shame, friendship and exclusion because it shows different aspects of such phenomena.
  • Performing art can make the unknown known, or the known unknown. Performing art can challenge established truths, agreed attitudes, and contribute to understanding and reflection on inherited values.

In this way, encounters with performing art can make us rethink something we thought we understood, or make us question something we thought we knew.

What is a performing art experience? 

Anyone who has been engrossed in a book, gripped by a movie or moved by music has had a performing art experience. These experiences are difficult to describe in words. They are bodily, personal, emotional, and cognitive all at once. Performing art experiences are therefore referred to as composite and complex. 

Performing art visits allows students to encounter artistic expressions such as music and performing arts, often also combinations of these. A performing art visit provide opportunities for both individual and collective performing art experiences. Therefore, such visits have a great educational potential.

What does performing art have to do with formation? 

The overall part of the curriculum emphasizes the school's responsibility for the formation of students. The goal is to equip students to live in freedom, independence, accountability and humanity. School shall form pupils to understand themselves, others and the world, and to make good choices.

Art experiences are of particular importance to formation, where two aspects can be emphasized. 

  • The first is self-transcendence, which is about students' ability to face what is alien. Encouraging curiosity and taking someone else's perspective can train one such skill.
  • The second is critical thinking, which is about the ability to think freely. Training critical thinking is the opposite of training knowledge that is goal-driven and predetermined. A thought that is free adapts not to learned conventions, does not take for granted, but explores and blows up limits. 

How can teachers facilitate performing art experiences? 

All children have the right to performing art. When adults read a book, watch movies or  
listen to music, they do this voluntary. Students, on the other hand, are forced into performing art. 

Unlike performing art meetings, the performing art experience cannot be forced. This is a pedagogical paradox that makes didactic questions relevant: How to motivate, inspire and arouse curiosity? And how to make performing art visits meaningful for students? A pedagogical approach to performing art  experience is about training students' ability to:

  1. To experience (skill) 
  2. To communicate about experiences (knowledge) 
  3. To reflect on experiences (competence) 

Article Authors

Krosshus and Johannesen are leaders of the Research Group for Aesthetic Learning Processes at the University of South-Eastern Norway.

  • Tone Cronblad Krosshus is an associate professor in drama and theater at the University of South-Eastern Norway. There, she teaches drama, theater, and aesthetic learning processes in teacher education programs. Her research and development areas include applied theater, art as knowledge, aesthetic learning processes, aesthetic practice as democratic formation, and art dissemination. Krosshus is the project leader for the pilot project “The Cultural Schoolbag+ teacher education = true?!”

  • Elisabeth Hovde Johannesen is an associate professor in Norwegian at the University of South-Eastern Norway. She teaches Norwegian subjects in teacher education programs, with a particular focus on literature didactics and aesthetics. Her research areas include picture books, film, art, ethics, emotions, and aesthetic learning processes. Johannesen is the leader of the annual picture book conference at USN's Notodden campus and is a member of the project group “The Cultural Schoolbag + teacher education = true?!”

  • Kulturtanken – Arts for Young Audiences Norway

    • The Cultural Schoolbag(TCS) Norway is a national government agency responsible for providing art and culture to children and youth. Kulturtanken holds the national responsibility for the Cultural Schoolbag and operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, collaborating with the Ministry of Education in their work on the Cultural Schoolbag program.


Publisert: 20.12.2023 Oppdatert: 25.06.2024 kl.10:14