It's important to give each student individual attention, right? To correct technique, to give positive feedback, and to offer the student the opportunity to celebrate their own growth..........But some students do not like being in the spotlight and they shy away when asked to perform a skill individually.
As a teacher, it can be like being stuck between a rock and a hard place -- how can you assess each student on their own, without making them feel singled out? How can you make every student comfortable with this process?
The NUMBER ONE thing that works for me?
It's a little game I call Pass It On -- here's how it works:
The dancers stand in a straight line, or in a circle, with the teacher as the starting point. Everyone practices the specific skill, demonstrated first by the teacher, and then each dancer gets to Pass It On to the person next to them, with any type of flair that they want! For example, after doing a clean shuffle hop step the dancer could do some jazz hands to pass it on, or a cross turn, or anything else that they want!
Thinking about the fun way they can pass it on helps my students to feel more at ease when it is their turn to do the step by themselves. If I need to make a correction, I'll first point out what I liked about how they executed the step ("your rhythm was right on!") and then offer what they need to fix ("can you try it one more time for me, making sure to use only your toe taps?"). Bonus - they get to pass it on again!
Pass It On makes individual assessments into a game and immediately takes the performance pressure off! I use this game most often in my tap classes for elementary age dancers, but it could be used in any style class.
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