My dance teaching has taken a back seat this year while I focus on training to become a qualified secondary teacher. I've discovered teaching in a school classroom is far more challenging. However my driving philosophy remains the same...
Children are born with curiosity and kaleidoscopic ways of looking at the world. My philosophy as a teacher is to nurture this curiosity and sense of adventure in discovering the world, not to inhibit it. Similarly, I don't believe that only some children are born with creativity. I think that creativity is an event that manifests in the right conditions, and as a teacher we can create those inspiring conditions, and reward risk-taking.
To impart the craft of being a writer or dancer also means being explicit and detailed in the way one teaches. My dance students can attest to my attention to detail, fine-tuning at times imperceptible differences in technique, to create that sublime aesthetic. As dancers, we partly learn that aesthetic from watching other dancers, from absorbing the perfection of music, literature, other art forms. To learn this vocabulary and ways of putting it together with fluency and flair, we need to see its components. The invisible needs to become visible.
The challenges of the school classroom are partly created by the system requirements, the demands of assessment, the sheer numbers of students and dramatic variations in achievement levels. But what i know from dance teaching is that it is possible to have a class with varied abilities that is still supportive, positively energised and safe for all. And while some students might be great with technique, others might just have that way of being present. That way of standing, of breathing, of looking into the audience. We all have something to learn from those around us.
The road to becoming a teacher teacher feels enormously uphill... luckily, i love it with all my heart.
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