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Dance Instruction Tips

Below we have supplied some general guidance on teaching dance. These include: issues to anticipate, how you can encourage students to contribute, e.g. through self-evaluation check-lists, which require both yourself and the student to assess your respective progress.

Encouraging Students to Contribute

Your student may be confident of their own abilities, and therefore initially cautious or defensive because they are unaware of the purpose or value of private dance instruction.

Issues to Anticipate

When working with younger students in particular, you should be aware of the following possible issues:

  1. Difficulties with articulation. Your student may lack the appropriate vocabulary to express how they wish to benefit from private lessons, and doubt whether they have anything of value to contribute their lesson. If a student finds it difficult to articulate a problem avoid the kind of why questions that can make someone feel on the spot. Perhaps instead try to ascertain what they aspire to in the long term and explain how you can help them achieve their goals .
  2. Your student may try to procrastinate. Bear in mind they may feel a little nervous so try to encourage their efforts to build up their confidence.
  3. The student may perceive you as testing them, and thus feel intimidated. This is more likely with the younger age-group and something to be aware of.
  4. Your student may be also be unsure of how to work with an instructor during a private lesson, having never had one-to-one supervision before.

Encouraging Students to Contribute: Basic Principles

Bear in mind that student are most likely to engage when:

  • They feel comfortable with you
  • Respect is shown and support is given
  • Learning is seen as a co-operative activity
  • There is a clear understanding of what has to be achieved
  • He/she understands the importance of their own participation
  • The student is set realistic and achievable objectives
  • Methods are used which encourage student participation

Introducing Private Lessons

When you begin a lesson and are seeking to engage the student you may wish to give a brief introduction to your lesson plan, which outlines what you intend to cover and what you expect them to accomplish by the end of the class.You may invite discussion of what the student expected from their lesson/future lessons ("What do you think of..."), and if they consider your plans ascertainable.

During Dance Lessons - Directing Discussion

Think about:

  • Giving supportive feedback
  • Encouraging broader or deeper engagement
  • Correcting any misunderstandings

Supplying feedback to the student on their skills/abilities:

  • Comment on use of particular skills
  • Encourage practice in neglected areas
  • Give constructive feedback and try to be specific
  • Always provide encouragement and be friendly when commenting your student's progress

Balancing teacher/student contributions:

  • Review your levels of intervention
  • Think about trigger material, and how what you say may affect your student
  • Balance feedback with space for your student to develop
  • Invite interaction from more withdrawn students

Ending Lessons

If you are setting practice exercises/dance steps as homework, make sure the student understands the sequence in full and spend time discussing how to tackle it safely and answering any questions. To get an idea of how the student feels lessons are progressing ask "light touch" questions, e.g.:

  • What questions are on your mind at the end of this session?
  • What has been the most significant thing you've learned?
  • Are there any questions on your mind following this session?

Not Contributing/Cries For Help

Avoid making classes too simple, or the point of the exercise is removed. Perhaps focus on one key objective if it is more challenging, or several smaller points that allows the student to feel as if they have made definitive progress in at least one area per lesson.

  • Provide encouragement! Students will lose their motivation if they feel they are falling behind. Make sure the tasks are manageable.
  • Give constructive advice on how to catch up, or ask the student to self evaluate to understand what they feel may be a more successful method of instruction.

Self-Evaluation Check-list

As the number of students you work with grows, you may wish to start self-evaluating yourself to remember what worked/what didn't, alongside any feedback First Tutors: Dance receives from parents. Below are some suggestions for what you may consider during this exercise. :

How well did I .....? Very Well Satisfactory Could Be Better
Prepare for the lesson   
Initiating lessons (establish aims, etc)   
Ask questions and prompt the student   
Handle the student's comments and questions   
Respond to the student as an individual   
Maintain focus on the main points of lesson   
Help sustain student interest/engagement   
Provide help when students encountered difficulties   
Ensure key points were drawn out   
Bring things to a close / set out practice exercises   

New to Dance Instruction?

Both those new to private dance instruction and seasoned teachers are welcome to register with First Tutors: Dance and attract potential clients.

During the online registration process you can choose what styles of dance you wish to teach, how much you will charge per hour, and explain to prospective clients about your experience and approach to dance instruction.

Choosing what you will Teach

Our advice to new instructors is to carefully consider what dance styles you will be comfortable teaching, and to what ability level. We cater to all, from beginner to advanced, so it is not necessary to embellish experience in order to attract more clients.You may be just as lucrative aiming your instruction to beginner and intermediate levels. To increase business for dance instructors we ask clients to give feedback on their instructor, so that the teacher in question can benefit from the positive feedback. However, if you are teaching a style or level you are not particularly confident in, this feedback may be less then generous, another reason to think circumspectly about what your expertise is in, and build a reputation around that.

Your Dance Lessons

The first dance lesson you teach is essential in giving the right impression to your client. But even getting this far is a success. When you are matched with your first client, do not hesitate to contact them as quickly as possible to arrange that all-important first session. Clients are often anxious when seeking a private teacher, and will wish to begin as soon as possible. Missing an appointment, arriving late or ill-prepared and without the requested CRB certificate or references will all contribute to a negative first impression, and even repel future business.

Public Liability & Professional Indemnity Insurance

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01953 455 600

01603 218 000

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