"Who can tell me something about ________?"
This simple phrase is one of my favorite ways to help my students be a part of their own learning process.
When they're a part of the process, they're more engaged with their minds and bodies. When they're more engaged, they're more likely to remember what they've learned. When they remember what they've learned, that leads to progress!
In short, being part of the process in dance class leads to progress in the student's dance education. Bonus? Excited and engaged students make teaching so enjoyable for the teacher too!
In a 30-minute class, I usually spend only a couple of minutes with a "Who Can Tell Me" type question. Too much talking can lead to a loss of focus (as I'm sure you have experienced too), but I've found that just the right amount of conversation and student involvement can have the opposite effect - an increase in focus!
Valentine's Day is coming up soon, and over the next two weeks, I like to do a Love & Friendship theme in my classes. I wanted to share some examples of Love & Friendship themed ways I use "Who can tell me" to ignite the imaginations in class, in case you wanted to give them a try too!
The Who Can Tell Me Conversations often look something like this:
In a tap class: Who can tell me how many sounds are in the words "I Love You!"? Yes, 3! Now, can you think of a tap step that has 3 sounds? Right, shuffle step has 3 sounds! Great, let's all do 8 shuffle steps changing feet, and our toe taps will say "I Love You!" each time. Here we go!
In a ballet or creative movement class: Who can tell me something about a heart shape? (Hold up an image for them to see). Yes, this one is red - I love red too! Ah, yes it is round on each side of the top and pointy at the bottom! Hmmmmm...I wonder if we have a dance position that is pointy.......what about first position? Yes!! Now, keeping your heels together and toes apart, can you draw the rest of the heart shape with your finger on the floor?
In a jazz or modern class: Who can think of a motion or gesture that would show that you care for someone? Giving a hug? Blowing a kiss? Cool! Great ideas! Now, do you think you could take that gesture and add it to a step we know? What would a turn with a hug look like?
If you have ever purchased one of my games or lesson resources before, then you may have seen that they're all designed with making students part of the process - elements of this are already built in! Use a game in the last 5 minutes of your class to get their creativity rolling, and as a way to connect even more deeply with them!
What's your favorite way to connect with your dancers? Reply in the comments and share!