Guided reciprocal peer questioning

Guided reciprocal peer questioning sees students use open-ended question stems to scaffold discussions. When used to support analyses of a viewed performance, guided reciprocal peer questioning supports students' development of observational skills, use of Dance specific vocabulary, and oral language while generating material for evaluative responses.

In the example below, the viewed performance is 'Kinship,' a section of the dance piece 'ID', choreographed by Stephen Page and performed by Bangarra Dance Theatre. It is intended that students could view the performance more than once.

Before viewing the performance

  1. The teacher provides students with a list of question stems that encourage students to engage in analysis of a performance, such as:
    • How is intention conveyed through…?
    • What movements represent …?
    • How does the use of … convey…?
    • What production elements indicate…?
    • How does …  and how might this affect …?
    • What conclusions may be drawn about…?
    • What is the difference between … and …?
    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of …?
    • What is the best … and why?
    • How are cultural elements conveyed through…?
  2. The teacher explains that these sentence stems will be used to generate questions about the performance the class is about to view.
  3. Before viewing the performance, the teacher presents two focus questions to the students:
    • "Who are we and where do we belong?"
    • "What and who decides our identity?"
  4. The teacher leads a class discussion to deconstruct the terms of the focus questions that may include:
    • the different elements that make up an individual's identity (for example, gender, sexuality, age, class, race, ethnicity, beliefs, ability, interests)
    • definitions of 'belonging'
    • groups and structures (family, community, cultural, religious, sport, school, etc) to which students feel they belong.
  5. The teacher explains that the performance the students are about to view engages with the two questions about identity and belonging. Students are encouraged to show how these themes are depicted through dance and production elements.
  6. Initial viewing

  7. The teacher reminds students about the themes and issues with which the performance engages: identity and belonging.
  8. The students are asked to take notes about the various dance elements that students notice during the performance. Teachers may provide students with a table or graphic organiser to support their note taking (see 'Joint deconstruction of a performance')

a table to support students analyse the different modes of communication in a multimodal text. The table consists of three columns: mode of communication, description (of mode of communication) and intended effect.Alternatively, students may use the mnemonics GEFTTS and SSSPVC to take notes about body actions and dynamics. For example, when viewing the performance, students may observe and note:

Body Actions – 'GEFTTS'

Gesture—point up and away from the body
Elevation—stand on tiptoes
Falling—crouch down
Turning—spin around
Travelling—walk on the spot
Stillness—stand still

Dynamics – 'SSSPVC'

Swinging—swing arms side to side
Sustained—pretend to hold a heavy object
Suspended—raise hands above head
Percussive—clap hands or beat chest
Collapsing—fall to the ground

Additional viewings

  1. After the first viewings, students are asked to briefly write their impressions of the Dance guided by the teacher's prompts:
    • What did you notice when viewing the performance?
    • What is the intention of the performance, do you think?
    • List any elements of the performance that support your response.
  2. The teacher explains that students will re-watch the performance. As they watch the performance again, students are directed to consider:
    • the intention of the work
    • the movement categories (GEFTTS)
    • dynamics (SSSPVC)
    • production aspects.
  3. While viewing the performance again, the students are asked to build on their first responses, either by:
    • adding more dance features
    • describing in more detail the dance features they have listed
    • proposing an intended effect of the dance features they have listed.

    After additional viewings

  4. After the additional viewings, the teacher directs the students to form pairs.
  5. The teacher explains that each pair will design questions about the performance, drawing on their observations and the question stems introduced at the start of the lesson.
  6. The teacher provides modelling to support the students to generate questions. To do this, the teacher asks a student to share some of their observations and then selects a suitable question stem to generate a question.
  7. For example, if a student made observations that the performances often danced as a group, generated questions might be:

    • How is intention conveyed through grouping?
    • How does the use of grouping convey belonging?
    • How do the dancers move into and out of groups? How might this affect our viewing of dancers that perform alone?
  8. The teacher asks each pair of students to join with another pair to form a group of four. Each pair poses their questions to their peers. Students note down the collective responses to the questions.
  9. The teacher leads a group discussion to bring together the students' understanding of the performance and elements of dance that have been used.

Curriculum links for the above example: VCADAR038, VCADAR039, VCADAR045, VCADAR046.