A dance lesson is a safe place for children to make mistakes and build self-esteem. It is important to set a positive tone and establish expectations at the very beginning of the class, so students feel comfortable participating. Students should also know that it’s okay to ask for help and that they won’t be judged by their peers.
When learning a new skill, students will often make mistakes and may become discouraged when they don’t perform correctly. However, a teacher can help students see that these mistakes are an important part of the learning process by encouraging them to try different things and making it clear that it’s OK to be wrong.
In addition, teachers can encourage students to view dance from a broader conceptual perspective by exploring how they can use the same movement concepts in different ways. This includes comparing and contrasting different styles of dance such as ballet, jazz, and contemporary.
This approach to dance teaching can help students understand the interconnectedness of dance and other subject areas, such as science. For example, a dance activity about the spiraling structure of DNA could be used as a way to connect with classroom learning around genetics and evolution.
A good practice is to balance activities involving fast movements with those that require slower paces or stillness. This helps students maintain control and avoid burnout. It is also important to close class with a physical activity that cools down the body and helps it recover from the exertion of moving. These types of activities can include review of the lesson concept, structured improvisations, or sharing choreography.