Does favoritism have a place in the dance studio? NO. In fact, owners, directors, managers, and instructors should take every measure possible to make sure they are building an inclusive culture that supports the development, growth, and success of each and every one of their students.
The research concerning the toxicity of favoritism in the educational classroom is overwhelming, and it cross-applies to the every day practices of dance studios. Take a moment and think- is there anything happening in your studio that could be interpreted as favoritism? Gift giving, extreme attention to some/ lack of attention to others, and exclusive, selective invitations to special events are just a few examples of damaging behaviors that could negatively impact the overall success and experience of your student body.
- It creates a class system. Grouping students in a class system can lead to hurt, confusion, unfairness; it can also discourage teamwork and create friction and jealousy among students.
- It causes resentment. Students are real people; they know or sense when they are being left out or excluded.
- It weakens self-confidence, making students feel less trusting, less inclined to participate, and less willing to take healthy social chances.
- It further alienates difficult students.
- It creates an unhappy classroom.
- It undermines instructor influence. Teachers must work to create a trusting and influential relationship with ALL students.
The following articles offer additional perspectives on the issue of classroom favoritism:
Are You Being Fair? Tips for avoiding teacher’s pets and favoritism in the classroom. (by Greg Saitz, National Education Association)
Playing Favorites? Even occasional favoritism can hurt your students. Here’s how to spot it and stop it. (by Eric Butterman, Scholastic.com)
In your dance studio, encourage equal attention via the following methods:
- Know every student’s name.
- Offer constructive corrections and be attentive to every student.
- Try to find a positive praise or compliment to give to every child.
- Encourage all students to participate in leadership roles: line leaders, teacher’s helpers, and demonstrators.
In our industry, the opportunity we have to inspire individuals is a gift. You never know when the child in the back corner of the room may be inspired because of YOU. Take the time to spread and share your love, knowledge, nurturing, and teaching. By being conscious of our behaviors, we will make our studios and our industry a better place for everyone!
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