If you’ve ever tried to teach, no matter what subject it is, you’ll know that teaching isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. Especially when you’re teaching in a group (as per usual dance lessons), each student is so different that it isn’t really possible to cater to each and every single one of the students’ learning styles and abilities without wasting a lot of time. So what can you do if you’re a teacher looking for ways to improve the class and keep the students engaged? You’ve come to right place, for by checking out our simple tips below, student engagement in your class will soon rocket to an all-time high!
1. Pay Attention Equally
First things first, nobody likes to feel like they’re being left out, so make sure you do pay equal attention to all your students. Your eyes may get drawn to a talented student who looks very promising with great potential, but that doesn’t mean you behave as if your other students are invisible. Once your students know that you are paying attention to them, it will give them a burst of encouragement, and help spur them on to do better and pay attention to you and the class in return!
2. Be Flexible
In this case, we’re not really talking about physical flexibility, but flexibility about how you run your class. Students can get bored of the same routine quickly, and you may find their minds starting to wander. Especially with younger kids, if they’re drawn to something else, pause and ask them about it. Find ways to incorporate their object of interest into class at that moment. That way, students will be able to form a connection and be more willing to participate in class. For older students, it could be just boredom from repeating routines, so shake it up a little by using a different piece of music for usual exercises, or modify the exercises slightly just to keep their minds going.
3. Be Creative & Imaginative
This may seem like a method used only for kids’ class, but it can work with older students as well. Kids love stories, so spin a story that will captivate them, put on the right music, and they’ll lap it all up right away. Bonus points if you can change your story every once in a while so they don’t get bored again! And also, we know you probably a tried-and-true go-to combination when giving your students a sequence, but try to break out of it, and surprise your students with an unusual combo that will threaten to tangle their feet!
4. Give Praise – Sparingly
Come on, be generous! When you see your students doing well or are trying their best, give them a word of praise and encouragement! They will feel like their hard work is validated, their teacher is noticing them, and in turn they will work harder in class! Also, don’t give your praise out too often; your students can tell if you’re being genuine or not, and also if you praise too much, it becomes less valued too.
5. Be Open
You may be the teacher, but there’s in fact lots to learn from your students as well. You may find new techniques that help certain students, or discover answers to questions you didn’t even know you had till your students asked them to you! Also, with students being students, they’re bound to ask a lot of “why”‘s, so do be prepared for the onslaught as well! This is good thing though, for it will encourage critical thinking in both you and your students, probing the mysteries of dance!
Students, do you agree that if your teachers follow these simple tips, you’d be more excited for class, and you’d definitely work harder? And teachers, after you follow these tips, do you see engagement improving? What are the other tips you have to share with us for student engagement? Let us know in the comments below!
Embarking on the journey of self-discovery through dance.