Dance Education Mission Statement
It is my mission to help young people achieve a sense of empowerment through offering academic and artistic growth, and fostering a firm belief in their own capacity. Through emboldening self-confidence, discipline, integrity, and respectful communication, students engage in a process that promotes their social capital. True learning only happens when students invest in the process, so I aim to utilize modern-day technology as a springboard for learning. Offering the opportunity to discover things autonomously and engaging in dialogic conversation with their peers helps deepen the cultural and social context of the choreographic exploration within my curriculum.
- (Self-)empowerment: Students need to feel supported by their teachers, mentors, and caretakers in order to empower themselves through academic and overall growth. If they don't believe in their own capacity, they will not advance and remain stagnant in all aspects of their life.
- Discipline: without continuous rigor students cannot achieve the desired goal. Therefore, it’s an elementary aspect of the learning process. In which ways can discipline be taught? In my lessons, structure and routine, appropriate consequences, praise, being an exemplary role model, and focusing on problem-solving rather than being problem-oriented are all learned skills. Furthermore, the discipline that resides within the actual learning of dance techniques and styles, as well as creating choreography, is also a key aspect of becoming disciplined human beings.
- Social Change: As an urban assembly school teacher I have a deep understanding of the importance of social change. To alter a culture for the better, you need to start with the individuals in it. School youth is the best place to start. After all, they are the future. Providing them with the tools and knowledge that their education has a tremendous impact on their own lives, as well as their direct environment, will hopefully empower them to take action. My school counselor said it best when he – after asking students what they would do with a million dollars – indicated that they would earn one million dollars more in their lifetime if they would have a college degree. Hopefully this idea will boost them into bringing about social change on a personal level, and in the long run on a bigger scale.
- Respect: respect is an impossible word to define since everybody has a different definition of it. Creating a climate of respect in the classroom is imperative for the learning process. Respect for other students, teachers, and self. This is something that educators need to model for the students. If you show respect for others, you will receive it. Respect is something that will be taught and fostered in my students.
- Communication: in modern-day society dialogue is not practiced due to mobile technology equipment (e.g., iPhones, iPads, Androids). Dialogic Conversation needs to be taught because these tasks are not practiced from a young age. Sentence starters provide a safe platform to share thoughts in a respectful way, and hopefully facilitate self-empowerment and social change.
- Student-centered learning: true learning can only happen if students discover things autonomously. If teachers give the “answer to the test,” deep inquiry that utilizes DOK 3 and 4 level questions become improbable.
- Embodied learning: dance education is the perfect platform for embodied learning processes. Movement can aid in facilitating cerebral concepts like mathematics, and be strengthened through applying musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and kinesthetic intelligences. My curriculum incorporates a "see, say, do"-cycle, which creates an interactive form of instruction.
- Equality: equality strongly correlates with the notion of respect. Unfortunately, many students still battle the power struggle with one another. Think “compare and despair.” LGBTQ students don't feel safe being themselves, and bullying is still an increasing problem within the school system. The same is prevalent between cultural and social groups.
- Using technology to connect with students: from young age children depend on technology to communicate, but also use this technology for entertainment purposes. Why not use this familiar platform as a springboard for exploration and human connection?
- Integrity: integrity completes the circle back to #1 - self-empowerment. If you live in honesty, you will naturally feel self-empowered. Integrity is not taught. Are there more ways to foster integrity besides modeling behavior? How do I teach moral courage?