The Development of Leadership in Pedagogy Students through Embodiment and Movement

In Danish

Mette Skovhus & Helle Winther
University of Copenhagen

This article focuses on the connection between body, movement, professionality and leadership in pedagogical education. All children read and speak the language of the body, and they are constantly in movement. Therefore it is crucial that an educator is both familiar with their own body, and can sense the children’s bodily communication. At the same time, leadership of development and learning has recently been added to the curriculum of pedagogical education in Denmark.

This brings new challenges to both teachers and students in the course of study in this profession.

The project examines a teaching sequence with young pedagogy students. The article illustrates how, by establishing a basis in teaching movement, a wholeness-oriented view of the body, and theory about embodied professional competence, this may bring renewed focus to the importance of the body in the development of leadership and relational competence.

The project and course of study are inspired by practitioner research and phenomenological and narrative methods. The empirical data in the article consists therefore of the students’ experiential descriptions. Here they describe both emotional processes, touching moments, and conflicts which they experienced while studying. The students are followed through both theoretical and movement teaching in their studies, and through the practical courses at the school.

The project thus also shows how one may introduce Bachelor students in this profession to practitioner research, and create a framework for them to become explorers in their own practice. The article shows that there is a developmental potential in working with courses of study that focus on the connection between the body, movement, leadership and practical research in professional education.

It also shows that such courses of education may give the students tools to master some of the challenges and tasks that schools and society require of them today. The project may be developed further on a larger scale, and thus other professional courses of education may be invited to dance.

Get the full-text article in Danish!

METTE SKOVHUSis a lecturer and Cand.ped. in sports science. Since 2007 she has taught sudents in the subjects of body, sports and movement in the Pedagogy Education in Randers and Århus. Mette also teaches after-school group specialization, and for the last few years has worked with students’ leadership competence during their second practice period. Mette is especially interested in the significance of embodiment and movement for individuals’ personal and professional development. Concurrently while teaching embodied professional competence, Mette has received supervision in these subjects from Helle.

HELLE WINTHER is Associate Professor, Ph.D. in dance and movement psychology at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen. She is also a trained dance and body psychotherapist. Helle is the coordinator for the research cluster: “Embodiment, Learning and Social Change”. She is furthermore leader of the studies of dance, movement teaching and movement psychology. Her research and teaching is focused on dance- and movement pedagogy, dance therapy and movement psychology. Her work with “The language of the body in professional practice”has become popular in many professional areas. Helle is the author, co-author or editor of seven books and anthologies and numerous research articles in Danish and in international professional journals.

Read more on about