Saturday, 5 April 2014

Almost there!

Oh dear!!!! All though I am always looking on other peoples Blog's and most of the time commenting in my head on what they have written ( even though I should physically be commenting) I just took a look at my very own blog and I thought OH DEAR! I havn't blogged since OCTOBER!

I guess I should have found the time to blog more but now we don't have much time left. I have almost completed a draft of my critical inquiry to send to Paula. Ahhhhhhh!

Anyway that's all for now as I need to get back to work but just thought I should write SOMETHING!!

Chelsie x

Monday, 21 October 2013

Literature Review- Blog Post, Sheri Leblanc -Creative Dance for Young Children Means Creative Teaching Too

Creative Dance for Young Children Means Creative Teaching Too. 
Publisher: Blog post by Sheri Leblanc Tuesday 8th October 2013

I found this piece of Literature from one of my SIG groups on Facebook. Clare Elizabeth posted this blog and I found it relevant to my Inquiry and very interesting. 

Sheri shares the information on her Blog from 4 early childhood dance specialists who gave advice on working with primary aged children and introducing dance to them.

Sheri starts by stating that although teaching young children to dance may sound like fun,there is also a serious side to early childhood dance development. And i couldn't agree more. This is exactly the point i am trying to look at in my Inquiry. The lessons are supposed to be fun but also must be educational as a child's development at this stage is crucial, and you as a teacher will have a massive input on the outcome. 

" It is important to know how children think " , says Rama Faber who developed the primary movers, a curriculum  for early movers. 
(Rima Faber - National Dance Education Organization Emerita, Joy of Motion Dance Center, Washington, DC) 

This is a fantastic point. As a new teacher i think the first thing you need to look at is how to understand who you are working with. I naturally understand adults better as that is who most of my time is spent with, and has been for the past few years of my life. Training with them, working, socializing, living etc so it is now essential for me to to study how children's brains work because of course, it is very different. 
Faber goes on to explain that children don't understand if you tell them to feel something and so you have to use images with them that they have experienced. 

Rachael Carnes says that the biggest mistake NEW teachers make with this age group is talking too much. 
(Candy Beers - Village Dance Studios, Richmond, Virginia)

"Over explaining, being unclear or muddled are great moments for kids to tune out, and you've lost them" 

This links well to my Inquiry as maybe this is one of the factors that motivates a child to misbehave in the first place. So if as a teacher you learn to say what you want, short and sweetly you can avoid a child getting bored/ loosing focus and then you wont have to deal with their misbehaving at all as the situation was resolved before it could even begin! 

"When I was first starting out, I really had to learn to teach to the positive, engaging and rewarding the behaviors you want to see. It’s hard for new teachers to see that by paying attention to the child who’s not participating, you throw everyone else off balance"

What Rachael says here is something i had never really thought about but makes so much sense.
People say in life how important it is to be positive. Be positive and positive things will happen. Well it looks like the same applies for in a classroom. Focusing on a disruptive child is simply just  bringing more negativity to class and just wasting your time and all the other children's time in the class. I admit that i often keep telling a child of in class which now from reading Rachael's comment has made me realize that this did not have any effect. 

I am really glad i have found this Blog. I feel like it has influenced be to come across to my students with a more positive approach when i am disciplining a child and not to focus too much of my time on them or this will effect the whole class. Also that understanding how children's brains work will make your life easier when teaching them and could avoid disruption in the classroom if you have a better understanding of the children. 

Link to Blog Post: 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Phone call with Paula- Review of Inquiry Propsal and changes.

Before speaking to Paula I felt very lost. I was re-reading over my Inquiry Proposal and almost felt a little confused by what I was trying to achieve. I felt like I wasn't quite getting to a point with what I was asking.

Like Paula said, how can you ask people questions and try and get an answer when you don't really know what it is you want to be answered yourself. It is important for me when carrying out my Inquiry that I am clear with what I want to achieve by the end of it.

So firstly we looked at what my Inquiry Title was from module 2...

What makes a new dance teacher good? How can you develop the right balance of fun and discipline?

Looking back my question I knew something wasn't completely  correct . Firstly things have change slightly regarding my inquiry. Originally I was going to visit a dance school and observe an ex-teacher of mine teach her classes. Over the summer her job changed which meant she was now working with older children and in my proposal I had stated that I wanted to look closely and children aged 4-12. So then I had to think about were I was now going to collect my data from. I started to stress myself out a little and then I realised ( and even more so after talking to Paula) that the answer was right in front of me, and in fact it was a blessing that my ex-teacher had a new job because the more I thought about it, the more I realised she was never the right source for me anyway.
At the moment I teach for a company who teach dance, drama and singing to 4-12 year olds. Helllooooooooooooooooo, what more could I want. They employ a lot of people so there are a lot of teachers who I could interview and classes that I cold observe. And then I realised in fact it is not dance teaching I want to look at because I teach more than just dance. So my question needs to relate to teaching performing arts not dance.

Paula told me how important it was to have the correct Inquiry question as this relates massively to what you are going to ask people in interviews and what you are going to be watching for when observing etc.

I also decided when looking at my question from my Inquiry proposal that it doesn't actually state what age group I would be looking at. As Paula said, 'Teaching' could be talking about nursery age up to university level. So it is imperative that I include that in my question. I have decided that my age group is not going to be so broad. The children I mainly teach and want to teach for my future are 4-8 so this will be who I base my inquiry on.

I will need to now get a new employer consent form as this has changed. It is all organised who this will be and I understand the ethics I need to consider and who I will need to get to sign consent forms.


This is something Paula made a huge point about. It is vital to have a good structure and plan for my Inquiry. We only have a certain time to collect the data and to analyse it so although in my Inquiry proposal I talked about my structure this is now happening for real so I need an actual plan.  I am going make myself a timetable and stick with it. This work-based learning course requires  a lot of self motivation and personally, if I say to myself that I am going to get up the next day and do some work, I know It actually wont happen so that is why I am going to make myself a time table and stick to it!!! I also am off to panto in November so I discussed with Paula that I will need to have collected all my data before I go, so this gives me a good starting point  to structuring my time.

Now along side planning when I am going to be collecting my data etc., the main thing I need to be focusing on now is looking at Literature. I asked Paula to explain to me in more detail what exactly this meant of me and why we had to do it. She said to look at between 10-20 different pieces of literature that relates to your Inquiry question. The whole point is to look at the ideas that other people have already researched to help you think more about what you want to gain from your inquiry.

Speaking to Paula has set me up to head in the right direction with my Inquiry. I now don't feel confused as to what I want my outcome to be at the end of the module and have a clear path in my mind as to what steps I need to take in order to get there!!

And were BACKK!!

So Finally I am sitting down with my laptop and blogging. HOOORAYY!! A little later than I should have made my first post but better late than never! I must say, I thought I was going to use that big long summer we had of to prepare myself for this final module a lot more but am sure most of you agree its so easy to get caught up in other things and then all of a sudden were back to uni!

But anyway am ON IT now!!!!! I am ready and raring to go. By the end of this module we will have a degree, wheyyyyyy... So all the work will be worth it :)

Unfortunately I couldn't make the first campus session but I have been reading people's Blogs and also spoke to my friend who was able to attend the session and have been able to see and hear about what was involved.  Then I arranged a Phone call with Paula who is my new advisor this term. It was what I would like to call an ' Epic ' call. Hahah. I can't tell you how much speaking to Paula has made me feel so much better about this final module.

So my next blog is going to be all about my phone call with Paula !!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Literature Review 2.

Online Blog Post- What makes a good teacher, Sheri Leblanc (2010)

I came across a Blog post on the internet about what makes a good dance teacher. The blog is of a former dancer called Sheri Leblanc. She is a retired ballet/ballroom dancer who choreographs and also teachers and owns her own studio. She lists in her blog that being a dancer teacher can enable you to work in many types of jobs, from teaching in schools, becoming a choreographer to eventually opening up you're own business. Sheri says that ' A well-rounded dance instructor will know how to teach several different styles of dance' I think this is a very good statement as if you can incorporate a variety of dance styles into you're class, the children will benefit from this. Also if there are parents sending their children of to a new dance class they will feel comfortable and confident leaving them with someone who is very experienced.

It is important to keep up to date with the choreography that you teach the students.

'The dance teacher is responsible for creating and teaching choreography to the dancers, staying current on the newest moves and styles being taught and will advise and guide the dancers in putting the steps they’ve learned together into proper dance formation'

This shows how important it is to be prepared for you're classes. You must keep up to date with the new styles that are around and current music.

Sheri has a number of bullet points that she regards as be important if you are a dance teacher,

As a dance teacher, you should:

* have good practical ability in dance and music
* have an understanding of health and safety to prevent injury
* have an interest in teaching children and adults of all abilities
* have patience and good communication skills
* be able to support and encourage others to succeed
* be observant and pay attention to detail
* feel able to control a group of pupils and have confidence to maintain order within the class
* have the ability to run a business, if self-employed.

I think these points are very useful. Having an interest to teach children and adults of all abilities is essential. For me,training at such a prestigious college were everybody in my school were at an excellent standard means that I may expect that when teaching my own students. This will not always be the case. Depending on the type of school, some children may only be taking classes as a hobby and therefore will not have the potential to becoming a professional dancer so their standard and understanding to picking things up and learning routines will not be high. As a teacher it is your duty to work with different levels of children and understand how they will progress at different stages.

Having an understanding to prevent injury and health and safety is imperative. Every venue that you teach in should be checked each time before any class to ensure that no risk can be harmed and it is your job as a teacher to stop the children from doing things that may cause them harm. This leads to how important it is to have patience and the ability to control a group of pupils. You need to be firm and confident with the students and if at any point the class gets out of hand you should be able to control the situation immediately.

Sheri Leblanc's blog was a helpful and interesting read that was short and to the point.



Saturday, 4 May 2013

Literature Review 1.

' Dance teaching methods and curriculum design- Gayle Kassing, Danielle.M.Jay'

I have been reading this very helpful book online about dance teaching. There was an extract in there talking specifically about new dance teachers and how important it is for them to set there rules from day one.

In just the first paragraph a strong statement is made,

' Effective teaching depends on a teachers ability to organise and manage the dance class'

I feel this is an important point as being a teacher involves a lot of preparation before the class has even began. To have an effect on the children/ students, the way the class is planned out and handled during the time of the lesson will result in it being successful or not.

The extract explains that a positive atmosphere should be given in the class and that appropriate feedback is given to students. I agree with this, as if the teacher is being very negative or bringing his/her problems they might be having outside of the class into the room, then this will have a massive effect on the children. Also giving the correct type of feedback is imperative as you don't want to discourage a child with constant negative comments but if you praise them all the time they are never going to have any room for improvement.

The author states that as the teacher of a dance class it is you that 'sets the freedom for the class. '
I think this is a fantastic statement as from the moment you first take a class you have made an impression and the children have made a judgment on what they can do in the class.

 ' It is easier to set boundaries in advance than trying to in-corporate or adjust them later. '

As a new teacher it is essential to be strong and firm with the class from the beginning rather than trying to be their best friends and then wonder why they wont listen to you and having no control over them at all.

Another extract from the book explains how your the way you speak to you're students can have an effect on their reactions.

' Does your volume and tone encourage or frighten students? Think before you speak. What you say and how you say it set the tone of your class. '

I feel that this is a really important point that author has made. Generally, I am a very loud person. People often tell me to stop shouting. (even though I think I am not) In some situations in a class this would be a positive point that I was loud and energetic, it would be encouraging for the students and would keep them alert but sometimes I have to remember to tone my loud voice down. At times it can be very intimidating to a child if you are screaming around the room, especially if the child was new to the class or a shy person. I believe as a teacher it is your duty to asses the atmosphere in the class and choose carefully the tone of your voice.

I find many extracts from the book very helpful to read as I am starting out as dance teacher. At times in the book I find that the author repeats her self about the same topics which I don't think is needed if the subject has already been touched upon, but generally there is a lot of great information.

I look forward to developing my knowledge further using the help of other pieces of literature and research from my Inquiry.



Pages 72 and 75.

Monday, 29 April 2013