I attended 4 dance classes over the holidays. These related to my enquiry as they had contrasting warm up exercises and teaching styles.
The teachers had different styles and strategies. All but one lead class in a traditional style of show and do (command and practice).
The first teacher was a contemporary artist. She placed the learners at the centre of her teaching and made them feel welcome and relaxed. She explained the technique and provided correction on the exercises without singling out individuals. She guided the correct movement as students rehearsed and the progress was clear during and between lessons. The teaching style was guided discovery convergent. She demonstrated movements and participated in the class. She changed activities from warm up, barre, floor, centre, travelling. There was a relaxed energy in the room. The teacher clearly enjoyed the class and her passion was infectious.
The warm up in the first class involved dynamic movement, extensions and pulse raisers. Students were invited to stretch statically half way through the class before an exercise requiring greater range of movement.
The second teacher had a contrasting energy. This made the lesson purposeful and students reacted to this approach as the teacher had a positive and concentrated teaching interspersed with encouraging manner. He taught the class and was clear on counts and dynamics. He taught with command and practice techniques but gave little correction. He was popular with the students and his fast choreography modern in its approach. Unlike the first class which focussed on technique, this class taught only a routine. The students therefore did not improve technically but recalled the choreography.
The warm up in the second class was a series of static stretches. The movements were likely to reduce power in the limbs. The stretches did not match the hip hop choreography.
The third teacher was the most technically correct and trained. She also began with a static stretch warm up. Students tried to copy her flexibility, which was dangerous.
The choreography was too complex for most of the students in the class. The teacher did not break movements down or provide a link or imagery to facilitate a less able client base. Command and practice was used again as teaching styles. There was no interaction between peers and little discussion between the teacher and student which relaxed the atmosphere in the other classes. Many of the students looked lost and did not stay for the second class.
The last teacher had a relaxed manner. Her style was guided discovery divergent. There was less focus on technique and more on the students role in interpreting broad instructions. The students felt at the end that the teacher had not challenged their technique but the content of the lesson was challenging as students worked to problem solve.
The warm up consisted of walking in the room and contrasting large, small dynamic and changes in levels. This approach used movements similar to the first teacher but the teaching style and product was divergent.
There was considerable variation on the warm ups. Dynamic and building to fast paced movement seemed most effective and set the tone for the rest of the class. The first teacher who used guided discovery convergent had the most improved and dedicated students by end of the class. The warm up was representiative of the lesson content in all classes except the second lesson.