Dorothy argued that a teaching philosophy, formulated as a “mission statement,” must always be incorporated in the work of every commission. Her own “mission statement” (for the Hexham Garden commission) was:
"All work undertaken shall be in the spirit of stewardship not exploitation". This statement encapsulates economy, service, respect, detachment of scrutiny and observation, care for quality and fitness for purpose. That would be my base line for all the work of all the people for all their commission days. [Source: Contexts]
Stewardship, for Dorothy, was based in a shared sense of responsibility for the planet’s future.
The work will always be brought to a form of publication or presentation of the results. This will vary according to the nature of the commission. This builds in standards and quality because the work will be submitted to the commissioning organisation.
Dorothy insisted that an important event must be created to mark this moment of "publication." She said: “The European Parliament works a bit like this, and all countries send their authorized people, their representatives.” (Source: Özen / Adıgüzel)
Rigour, responsibility and realisation
Three core teaching values will be built in from the very start: rigour, responsibility and realisation. “The latter is very significant because it embodies a factor often missed out of schooling. Realising now what we have learned, can understand, and put to use in our lives, that previously we had not recognised. Publishing careful organised results provides the necessary casting off point of realisation.” [Source: Contexts]
Principles of the work
Throughout the work we carry our ‘client’ in our heads
This is the future audience to whom we must communicate and demonstrate clearly, and face their questions.
There will be no pupil talk or teacher talk
Power must be shared so that “colleague-ness” takes the place of the usual teacher/pupil relationship, and power and responsibility are shared.
Time scales matter
There is no curriculum map
The “map” emerges as we contemplate what we need to know, to research. This map will reveal the obvious areas we have to study.
The tasks are formulated by the needs of the commission
This requires flexibility from all as tasks have to be designed to fit the need, the terms and the time available.
Personal whims regarding ordering of study must be set aside so that the commission drives the learning
All work resulting from every task will be placed ‘in the bank,’ to be re-used and developed
This means classifying and storing for accessibility.
Nothing in the room will be static
The environment will be constantly re-built to serve individual tasks.
Above all, the commission model demands openness to each other’s contributions
We must recognise ourselves as people, co-workers with different contributions (and faults!) to bring to the work. We have to be watchers of our own attitudes and behaviour - and discover “voices” we have never used before.
Based on: “A Vision Possible: The Commission Model of Teaching” by Dorothy Heathcote. In: Drama: One Forum, Many Voices, Winter 2003 (Vol. 11 No.1)
Photos are from the article, “Mantle of the Expert Work in Ankara: Workshop with Secondary School Students, November 26-28, 2009” (“Uzman Mantosu Yaklaşımı: 26-28 Kasım 2009 Liseli Gençlerle Atölye Çalışması”) by Dorothy Heathcote (Creative Drama Journal 2010, Volume 5, Issue 9-10). You can find a copy of the article here (in Turkish and English).