Teaching Philosophy

 

The heart of my dance teaching philosophy lies in empowerment and motivation.  It is important for me to create a climate where learners feel safe enough to take part in the discovery of new technical dance concepts; learn resilience; and appreciate themselves and others’ abilities.  I understand that not all my dance students will have professional performing careers.  Therefore, my aim along with teaching dance technique is to encourage the development of thoughtful citizens who feel confident and empowered to contribute in healthy and positive ways to the dance community.

I choose challenging, specific, and fun dance concepts to focus on dance lessons to promote creativity, solving problems, and humour so that learners feel intrinsically motivated.  I communicate dance theories and technical aspects to learners using imagery, scaffolding tasks, differentiation, and models of inclusivity to eliminate potential barriers to learning.  I subtly adapt and vary the tasks and teaching techniques to encourage their cooperative contribution, communication, self-reflection, evaluation, and appreciation based on learner feedback cues.  I also build in teamwork practices and guided discussions into creative lessons so learners feel empowered and responsible for their learning.

As a dance researcher, I continue to expand my understanding of the importance of emotional learning in dance training, whereby learners make sense of challenges in the dance classroom.  Learners will often equate their sense of self-worth to the execution of movement tasks, because of a natural tendency to psychologically define the self as the body thereby influencing their perception of self.  Thus, my teaching practice addresses the affective domain in addition to the cognitive and psychomotor domains in dance learning by incorporating the teaching of ideas such as perseverance, conscientiousness (growth-mindset), self-discipline, optimism, and grit so learners become capable of self-generating positive emotions and self-managing negative ones to bolster their ability for resilience.  This helps to develop attitudes in learners that equip them to self-improve and self-enrich their dance training experience by turning perceived challenges to experiences of lasting value.  In this way, they learn to replace fear with courage and determination and commit to tasks. 

I use drama as a tool for learning in dance to explore narrative, emotion, expression, and the human condition.  I believe that the process of performing, making (composition), and responding (appreciation) are beneficial for helping to develop creative dancers, so I teach creativity through dance concepts in a way that encourages learners to problem solve, self-reflect, and create.  I focus on developing the attitudes and feelings of my learners to have an optimistic explanatory style in responding to adversity.  Learners learn to value challenge and use perseverance and determination to develop strength and fortitude in their dance training.  By promoting optimism and resilience in the dance classroom through technical dance training and teaching creativity; learners feel capable of responding to challenges in the microcosm of the dance classroom and in the macrocosm of the global world.

Current and past teaching includes

 

The Urdang Academy

Guildford School of Acting

Newcastle College

Emil Dale School of Performing Arts

Italia Conti Plymouth

AJ's Academy of Dance

Children's Center for Dance Education (Ballet Master)

Signature School

Evansville Dance Theatre

Milwaukee Ballet School

As a professional teacher and trainer, I hold a Master of Arts Degree in Professional Practice, Dance Technique Pedagogy from Middlesex University. I demonstrate my commitment to maintaining and updating my knowledge of educational research to develop evidence-based practice, and I critically evaluate my theoretical understanding of effective practice in teaching, learning and assessment by drawing on research and other evidence.