Chloe’s Brown – Education Manager
For the past 7 years, I have engaged with Exim Dance Company, transitioning from Intern to Lead Dance Practitioner and finally to my current role as Education Manager. Throughout my time with Exim Dance Company, I have been fortunate to be involved in a vast range of projects across Plymouth, delivering accessible dance and wellbeing sessions for ages 1 up to 75 years! Although, I especially enjoy teaching within SEN settings. It is during this time that I really crafted and shaped my practice to understand where my passion and drive lie; to use dance as a tool for social and pedagogical change.
Within my role as Education Manager, I am involved in the development and implementation of extensive dance-based educational programmes across Plymouth and Cornwall including Early Years, Primary, Secondary and SEN settings. These programmes provide students with an understanding of physical and mental wellbeing, whilst building confidence, resilience, and independence. Through the delivery of after-school sessions, in-curriculum sessions and one-off workshops we offer young people the opportunity to flourish and feel valued; co-creating performance work to share with the wider community. Across these programmes, we reach over 315 young people on a weekly basis!
At Exim Dance and within my role, our aim is to create a safe and therapeutic environment whilst learning about how to stay healthy and about emotional/mental health, positive relationships and applying these mechanisms to their future lives.
Alongside mainstream education programmes, within my role, I am passionate about the enhancement of creativity of young people not engaged in educational settings, particularly through the delivery of Alternative Provision and Home Education. These weekly programmes offer alternative ways to learn, enhancing metacognition in young people. The facilitation of dance-based educational programmes enables students to take theoretical knowledge and translate it to their bodies, developing their creative thinking as well as promoting good physical and mental health; linking to the socio-emotional learning framework within Ofsted regulations.
My aim for the further development of educational programmes is to continue to evolve relationships and partnerships with educational institutions as I thoroughly enjoy building a network of creative educators, some of these partnerships have existed for over 5 years! By growing our educational programmes, I hope to be able to implement a kinaesthetic curriculum wider afield to enhance cognitive skills, offer collaboration, provide autonomy as well as build cultural engagement for all young people.
To further develop my professional development and feed back into the facilitation of dance-based educational programmes, I have recently completed an MSc in Psychology with Manchester Metropolitan University achieving a Merit. It was within this qualification that I conducted my own research into dance engagement, empathy and prosocial behaviour in adulthood.
I found in my research that there was a positive correlation between dance engagement and prosocial behaviour. The community significance of this study has indicated that dance fosters cohesiveness in a community as well as enhances interpersonal relationships among adults. The use of dance initiatives and programmes that encourage empathy and prosocial behaviour can allow adults of varying ages to come together in a healthy and meaningful way.
However, it provides a couple of limitations to be addressed including a mixed-method longitudinal research into how dance interventions can effectively foster prosocial behaviours, enhance social skills, improve emotional well-being, and create a positive school environment for at-risk adolescents; providing further support for early intervention.
This research as part of my MSc is currently in the process of being published in scientific journals, and I have since begun embarking on the next step of my professional development journey by applying for a PhD programme to further develop this research.
I am immensely grateful for the experience and opportunities that Exim Dance has provided throughout my journey including attending educational events such as Unlocked Careers at Plympton Academy, delivering talks at Plymouth Cultural Educational Partnership forums, hosting stands at the Plymouth Parents Carers Voice conferences. I have also been given the opportunity to attend The British Psychological Society ‘Educational Psychology’ conference in Liverpool and the ‘Supporting Educational Outcomes for Boys’ conference in Manchester, to which I am very much looking forward to!
Working alongside a wonderful and committed team of practitioners and freelancers, who also share the same passion is such an inspiring environment to be within! Just having this time to pause and reflect, has allowed me to grow both as a person and a creative dance facilitator. I am very excited to see what the future holds and the growth of our educational programmes!