|Shelby County Schools Arts Infusion Project||
Scott Hamilton, Olympic Gold Medalist in figure skating and skating commentator, commenting on skater Sasha Cohen's attempted comeback in the 2010 US Figure Skating Championship:
"It was all there, and she has the performance ability, but IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PROCESS!"
Even though Cohen had been skating professionally for years leading up to the championship, and even though the performance ability was there, the PROCESS of preparing was the determining factor in the performance. Cohen left competitive figure skating to focus on a professional career., and the 2010 US Figure Skating Championship was her first major competition since her silver medal finish in the 2006 Winter Olympics. The process she took to prepare for the performance did not give her the opportunity to practice her skills under the pressure a major US Championship competition provides. Professional skaters, while they perform multiple times in a given year, are not faced with being assessed in such a strict manner or being forced to measure up to rigid standards.
Are our students like the professional skater, performing multiple times but not really facing pressure? Is the end product (performance) more important than the process? The rigorous process is what produces the exemplary performance, whether it be in an arts integrated unit or on a standardized test. Skills must be practiced in real life situations so that when they are needed, they will be available. It's not enough for them to just "be there..." they must be accessible in high-pressure situations. It's all about the process!