My enquiry aims to improve my dance teaching for boys.

I’m watching the boys in my classes….what is it in my lessons that motivates their learning?

I ‘think’ boys need:

1. To focus on flexibility

  • Reason they are less flexible in general than the girls.
  • I am watching Jack (aged 12) seated in second on the floor…He wants to touch his head on the floor and is frustrating himself by pulsing his body forward but getting no further (Do not worry I did not leave him in distress).
  • I am listening to my friend (aged 25 years) who is studying as a dancer and he is trying everything to touch his toes and raise his leg over 90o.

2. Using sport to get boys into dance

  • I’m teaching the boys class in school. They have reached 13-15. They will attend with enthusiasm at the mention of building a ‘Summer six-pac’
  • They are more competitive than the girls and in class are trying to be the most powerful (rather than more of an equal effort as found in the girls classes).
  • We are working on basic dance movements and relating the imagery to football fighting and computer games. The boys have taken the move and are embodying the ‘Street fighter’ leaping-suspend action.
  • The boys work best when they have a technical goal rather than lets do a routine which will be fun.

3. To work using problem-solving, enquiry and experimentation

  • I’m teaching science (I know not related to dance) but the boys are always the first to start the experiment but unlike the girls who listen to instructions and read the method have no idea what they are doing but are enjoying experimenting, changing the variables and working out why the effects happened.
  • I’m teaching dance, the boys like contact improvisation. ‘How can you get to the other side of the room doing X.Y.Z….GO!’ The girls want to be shown the ‘right way’
  • The boys have got across the room….And they ask ‘Soooooo, who was best?’ ‘PROVE IT!!’ This one is difficult to answer…a combination of technique and performance quality ish…..
  • I think the answer might be that we could video it and measure quality of the movements using an app. I spoke to Yvonne (Head of Y-Dance). They have a similar use of an App in primary and some resources are available in PE…..I need to get to PE to see what there is…….
  • Journal references in support of my observations: 
  • I’m at school and this reference is stored on my computer at home…..I will put this in later…..

4. I observe that males are under-performing in class compared to girls and students who sit National 4 do not have a progression route as they lack the academic (Literacy and Numeracy) skills to succeed at National 5.  This is confirmed in dialogue with other teachers who are in search of a National Progression Award to suit this style of student who would previously have progressed from Access to intermediate 1 then Standard grade then Intermediate 2.

The SQA have not yet acted on this but I feel the flexibility in course delivery and presentation format may hold the key. Students could learn measurement and enquiry skills in a kinaesthetic format……. A revised approach could meet the learning style of students currently under-performing in the curriculum.

Ok,….so I need a dance-fitness-enquiry approach….what type of fitness?

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