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Dare to Dada: an argument for visual and verbal avant-garde poetry in the nursery

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This article reports on our ongoing exploration of children's responses to working with contemporary and avant-garde art and ideas. Our research began with the development of two CD-ROMs in collaboration with artists, pupils and teachers. Building on this collaborative research material, this article focuses on our use of one small element of each CD-ROM, featuring Takehiko Iimura's performance video art and Dada poetry as a teaching and learning trigger. We worked with a culturally diverse group of predominantly English and Bengali early years children in the nursery unit of an East London school, exploring relationships between sound, feeling and meaning in young children's playful uses of language in the interdisciplinary modus operandi of the Dada movement. A positive finding was that working in a multilingual context and avoiding treating the letter as a phonic imperative gave some EAL children a sense of freedom and confidence to some EAL children, but a lack of confidence and scepticism about what counts as poetry seems to exist among the adults.
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Keywords: Dada; nursery; play; poetry; sound

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Middlesex University.

Publication date: 2006-11-27

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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