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Do You Think There’s A Difference Between Teaching Boys or Girls

One of the luxuries I have of teaching the way that I do is that I teach a lot more boys than traditional dance studios do. In some of my schools the boys outnumber the girls in the class. I never would have guessed this almost 20 years ago.

When I first started teaching there was this stereotype that girls were to study dance and boys were to study karate. The students used to even tell me this when I would talk to them about classes. I would explain to them that anyone with arms, legs and a body and brain can and should study dance.

Of course I am biased but I have not seen any activity that both boys and girls can both do  that provide growth and development in as many areas as dance. Because we dance in a group children learn socialization skills and learn to cooperate and work with others. I love it when they cheer one another on and encourage one another when we do activities that require balance, focus and concentration.

When I used to talk to the parents mainly fathers , about their boys taking dance, I would ask them a series of questions. Do you want you child to develop excellent memory skills? How about learning to work with others ; do well on standardized tests. Learn to express themselves, think creatively,develop problem solving skills and feel good and confident about themselves. They would like at me and say of course I want those things for my child. I would tell them I teach these things to every student in my class boys and girls.

I have noticed a difference between boys and girls though. Boys love to climb and run. They love to jump, crawl on the floor and yell and sing. They need the pace of activities to be fast and change frequently and they don’t particularly care for sitting or standing in one place for too long. Even after a few minutes they can get antsy if not engaged. Although this is true for both, I find it’s particularly true of boys.

Since children are intermittent movers, meaning they move in spurts or have spurts of energy and then need small breaks in between, I design my program to move to fine or small motor skills like working with our fingers while sitting on the floor. This seems to work really well for both the boys and girls and gives the heart rate a chance to return to normal.

With the girls I notice they love to sing, turn and sway. They easily sing all the words to the songs while dancing to them and don’t mind partnering with another child. They can tolerate sitting for longer a longer time than boys. They love all of the typical girly songs and will plead their case to have these songs played throughout the entire class. I explain to them that we have boys in the class too so we have to do  boy songs too.

I feel very fortunate and blessed to teach both boys and girls. I feel that designing the classes so that it capitalizes on both the strengths and things that need more development in both genders insures that everyone’s needs are served. I also feel that by addressing both genders needs I help to develop skills that would not ordinarily be addressed in classes that are mainly girls.

For all you teachers or parents out there I would love to hear what you think. Please feel free to share your comments and experiences with us.

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