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Teaching Children Dance- The One Regret

There are not many regrets that I can think of that I have with regards to teaching children dance but there is one big one. This big regret is that there is not enough of me to go around and sometimes because of time and money restraints I have to teach larger than usual classes. These classes can be anywhere from 30 children and up.

You see my ideal class is between 8-12 students, 15 at maximum but not less than 8. In a class of this size I can give more individualized attention and corrections and have a lot more flexibility and spontaneity in the class. My favorite thing is that I can incorporate a lot of problem solving  and creative thinking games in the class.  In smaller classes I utilize visualization techniques as well as auditory memory games. These techniques are used during rest periods between exercises and dances.

One such visualization game is to have the students close their eyes, no peaking. Sometimes I have them turn their backs to me to make sure there’s no peaking. I place 5 different objects from their classroom in front of them.

I then ask the children to open their eyes and tell me what they see.  I ask them questions to focus their attention and really pay attention and notice the objects in front of them. I ask the children about shape, size color and and lastly the position that each object is in.

I then ask the children to close their eyes and see the same objects in their minds in exactly the same way they saw them when their eyes were open. Some children guess and remember all 5 objects correctly and some don’t. To encourage everyone and give them all a sense of success and accomplishment, I have the students with the best memory to go first and tell the rest to listen and pay attention. Closing their eyes helps them to focus and concentrate better and blocks out distractions.

This is an excellent exercise to help with reading comprehension, spelling, math and an overall excellent way to help children ‘s memory. This also helps children who are more auditory and kinesthetic to remember things visually.  Lastly it helps all children in using their imaginations, learning to focus and pay attention and notice patterns. All essential skills for future learning.

Try this exercise  or something similar in class when you have the opportunity. It is nice  to use during a rest break during the class and will help with learning choreography and help them to focus in and out of your dance class. Let me know how it works for you. Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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