Dance helps students become more connected and supportive to others. It’s the perfect way to work on building community, and can be used in a variety of ways in a classroom. It has the potential to be a powerful social and emotional learning tool for all learners, but is still underutilized in the classroom.
Whether students are exploring their personal identities, or identifying ways they could make the world a better place, dancing and movement can be an incredible vehicle for understanding the bigger concepts that are being addressed. Dance provides the opportunity to explore ideas like empathy, leadership, problem-solving and how to work together.
The best dance lesson starts with a clear idea of the stimulus, theme or topic that will be explored by students. This can be something you are already working on with the students, or it can be a topic you want them to explore.
It is also important to consider what the dance is going to achieve in terms of HASS or curriculum goals. This can be as simple as discovering what students know or understand, through asking questions or allowing them to communicate their learning through different contexts.
For example, a student may feel uncomfortable with close embrace in partner dancing or sustained direct eye contact. In this case you may need to meet the student where they are, and allow them to work at a pace that feels comfortable for them. You might also need to be more generous with your appraisal of students who are demonstrating a stronger understanding of the dance.