Classroom Management: Effective classroom management is the key to delivering a powerful lesson. Building a positive rapport and setting boundaries with the students is a top priority of mine. Once the classroom culture has been established the possibilities for movement exploration are endless. Techniques to call students attention such as call and response are very useful. My strategies range from clapping rhythms, stepping and singing.
Rules and Routines: I establish rules to ensure the physical and emotional safety of my students. Routines lead to student accountability and responsibility.
Dance Learning Environment: My dance classroom is a non competitive setting where all dancers support and encourage one another. They understand the value of each persons role in the class and remain focused on progressing at their own pace. Comparing their personal skills to another is discouraged. Students are taught to appreciate themselves. They understand that each day is an opportunity to grow. Students have open and free communication with me. They are encouraged to share their feelings and life experiences.
Assessment Strategies: Assessments are purposeful when they provide the students with deep meaning and self realization. In order for a student to gain awareness they need to learn how to be reflective. I am mindful of setting clear expectations/criteria for an assessment. This provides a reference point and intention for students to reach within a given task. It is important to track student progress through the use of data. Often we grow without realizing where we have come from and take our progress for granted. Good teaching allows for both the teacher and students to take part in the assessment process.
Reflective Practice: Reflective practice stimulates growth. In order for a teacher to become stronger they must reflect on their work and create next steps for their teaching. A teacher can develop a set of questions they ask themselves after a lesson to better understand the impact of that lesson in different perspectives. These reflective questions should be based on the personal teaching philosophy and goals for instruction. One way I reflect is by recording myself teaching my classes. I am often surprised about how much more information I receive about my students and myself when watching the class from a different perspective.
Revisions to the Dance Education Practice: After I reflect on my work I see what areas of my teaching need to be attended to. I apply my next steps and notice whether my prediction for improvement was effective. It can also be beneficial to take into consideration the perspectives of others. I often look to books related to educational dance for insight.
Dance Across the Curriculum: The goal of expanding creativity in mind it is important to understand that all people feel and view life differently. Various entry points into the creative process are necessary for an educator to include in their pedagogic “tool box” and to share with their students. If multiple approaches are not incorporated into dance movement exploration there is a chance that a student may feel disconnected, and become further unaware of their kinesthetic artistic capabilities. Providing range in units of study allows for a student to have a greater chance to be in tune with their imaginative selves and understand how to spark their personal creativity. Interdisciplinary units such as dance in conjunction with ELA, Theater, Math, Science and History have been effective cross-curricular modalities for learning.
Positive Attitude and Joy in your Dance Practice: A teacher who is interested in the work they bring to their students will enjoy success. Students can automatically sense a teachers energy. If a teacher believes in and demonstrates joy for a particular lesson, chances are their students will have a more positive experience in class. A teachers attitude can determine whether they will go the extra mile to ensure each student receives the support they need to meet and exceed class goals.