This week’s Summer Series topic focuses on Teaching Tools. First, we asked our contributors to share one great teaching tool, strategy, or mechanism successfully used in their (1) younger classes and (2) older classes.
Younger Students: Allow them to have a voice.
Older Students: Same, we vote to do the exercise again.
Younger Students: Making things visual and real. We use a lot of props. For instance, to teach gallops we may actually use a stick horse. Or, in tap class to teach rhythm we use rhythm sticks. We use all kinds of teaching aids in our PS classes like bean bags, scarves, teddy bears, hula hoops, etc. Then as the child progresses, we may remove the prop and ask them to imagine that it’s there and perform the same movement. Suddenly their bodies have been trained to move properly.
Older Students: Understanding the movement, instead of just executing the movement. If a student really understands the muscles involved and how to properly perform the movement, how it should feel…he/she will become a much more mature/educated/thoughtful dancer.
Younger Students: I have started to implement ideas from The Children’s Hour of Power this year, and the kids love it! I even had one of my 5 year old students demonstrate “sharp pencils” for my older dancers! The terminology has helped the little ones really grasp concepts, such as straight knees and pointed feet, while having fun doing it!
Older Students: I think written goals are really important. This year, we will have goal/inspiration boards in each studio, and students will write their goals down to post on the board. It will be a great reminder that they can see during class, of what they are working towards. I also love using notebooks, so the students can track their progress from week to week, write down corrections and notes they were given, and choreography.
Younger Students: For our younger company members we use a lot of repetition. And we also use imagery for them as well. Anything that they can envision helps them understand the technique and body more
Older Students: For our younger company members we use a lot of repetition. And we also use imagery for them as well. Anything that they can envision helps them understand the technique and body more.