When do you feel the most satisfaction after teaching a class? When just few of the students have been able to master the material presented at that lesson? Or, when the entire class has succeeded in learning to do the items you have presented? Would you like to feel that you could take the credit for what your students learn, and be able to honestly say, “they learned this because I did ______”? There are decisions you can make that will make learning easier for your students and make a difference beyond the mere demonstration of the dance skills!
A New Learning CurveEducation specialist Madeline Hunter defines instruction as “a process of deliberate decision making and action that makes learning more probable and more successful than it would be without teaching.” Remember being graded “on the curve”? Did you feel offended by this process? Rightly so! The so-called “learning curve” is a normal result of random activity! Skillful teaching should change this curve:
— to a curve more closely resembling this one, which indicates that a higher percentage of students will be above the “average” middle of the curve:
A. Selecting The Objective
- The level of difficulty must fit the students.
- The teacher must know her objective, reason, or goal.
B. Teaching To An Objective
- Decide on the student behaviors that will lead logically to the objective. (How do you expect them to respond to what you are teaching?)
- Use your creativity to present in ways that will make the learning easy. (What can you do to get their attention, to reach their understanding, to motivate them?)
C. Check For Learning, and Adjust Presentations
- Draw out a behavior from the students that shows whether or not learning is happening. (How do you know they learned it?)
- Try to see ballet skills “in embryo” so as to not misjudge a student’s efforts to learn a skill. (Is the basic movement pattern there? Or partly so?)
D. Using the Principles of Learning
- You can make effective use of known skills to make the learning of new ones easier. (“You can do this, now try it this way,” or “add this to it”, etc.)
- Give them reasons for learning, reasons that mean something to them, whenever possible.
A Self Help GuideDecide on a goal for one of the exercises: Exercise: _____________________
- Expectation: _______________(What do you expect the class to do?)
- Objective: ________________(Why are you teaching this item?)
- Future ballet exercises or steps that will be built upon this exercise: __________________________
- The Power of Teaching Progressions
- Planning from a Bird’s Eye View
- The Order of Learning Ballet
- Using Ballet Terminology and Musicality in Class
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