Teaching cultural African dance techniques effectively involves building an engaging, strategic relationship – building conversations with students/clients, verbally as well as through body movements. Teachers usually increase the likelihood of participants engaging, persisting and enjoying dance through establishing positive individual relationships with them. As dance teachers, sometimes we get frustrated when a participant doesn’t live up to what we believe to be their potential. We spend time working on each individual student even when we are at home, figuring out the best way to help them achieve this potential – taking from our own family time – fully invested in the future of children in our classes. Continue reading because - Somewhere A Dance Teacher is Thinking & Doing What You Don’t Know.
‘A man without a history is like a tree without roots’ Bob Marley. My past experiences have shaped the person and teacher that I am today. As a student, I know some of the things my former teachers said were wonderful but passed from my mind quickly. Unfortunately, the negative things they used to say to me, most of the time off (without thinking it through), were devastating and they have haunted me throughout my life (affecting my confidence – e.g. my height is a sensitive topic to this day). Because of such experiences, I am careful of what I say to my students and how I say/communicate with them. It’s a constant battle in my mind to bite my lip so as not to replicate the negativity from my past teachers: Somewhere A Dance Teacher is Thinking & Doing What You Don’t Know.
Comparing one student to another in a negative way ‘Dunga why can’t you jump as high as Ian?’ In a previous blog post, I talked about using communication as an effective teaching technique. I have heard so many teachers say things like the above and all I want is to scream ‘Dunga is not Ian, go hang 40 times teacher!!!’ It is sad that some people in our profession do not get that all they are doing is feed negative energy into the class, which generates negative competition that typically results in very low self-esteem and low performance from a section of the class. Competition is an important part of life, and African dance is no exception nonetheless, it has to be the healthy kind of competition – this is not the jungle, where only the fittest survive. My colleagues and I at AfroFeet study our students to make sure our teaching methods suit each individual student, we compare notes and learn from each other as well. We spend hours on end, learning, be it great technique, or memorising a combination quickly, we are constantly learning: Somewhere A Dance Teacher is Thinking & Doing What You Don’t Know.
Below are 8 things you may not have known a cultural African dance teacher thinks about and does away from the dance studio…
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