What teacher does in class


When planning a dance class you might identify the following:

  • the teaching material or content that you plan to teach
  • the teaching material or content that you plan to teach
  • key teaching points to address
  • delivery of teaching content
  • student activity in the class – what they will do as they learn and progress
  • learning outcomes
  • time allowance for each part of the class

All of these are important aspects of planning and delivering a class but I want to ask you to consider something else that is often overlooked – what the dance teacher does in class. I find considering and identifying what we do as teachers in the dance class is often a revealing and extremely valuable exercise to go through as we see below.

The following phrases are just some of the activities that students might do in dance class:

  • Listening
  • Watching
  • Copying
  • Trying out new dance material
  • Asking questions
  • Taking time to process the step, movement or sequence
  • Marking steps and movements
  • Discussing aspects of the dance material
  • Working in small groups or pairs
  • Performing

It is equally important to identify what we do as dance teachers in the dance class. All too often what dance teachers actually do in the dance class is all grouped together under one word ‘teaching’. But what happens when you teach? How do you move around the studio? Do you move around the class or do you tend to remain in one area only? How do you interact with students and dancers? Consider the following list of possible activities that you might as the dance teacher, do in a dance class:

  • Watching
  • Listening
  • Demonstrating
  • Explaining
  • Moving around the class
  • Interacting with individual students
  • Identifying what is working well
  • Giving feedback to an individual student
  • Giving feedback to the group
  • Identifying points for improvement
  • Discussing
  • Guiding and encouraging students
  • Observing
  • Using various teaching methods and approaches
  • Recognising and rewarding student effort
  • Recognising and rewarding student progress
  • Giving instruction

The list above is in no particular order and is certainly not a complete list. It is intended to give you an idea of the sorts of activities that you can consider and identify in your own teaching. You can reflect on your teaching, perhaps using the list above as a starting point and then add to it as you identify different teaching activities or behaviours that are part of your teaching.

Reflecting on and listing our teaching activities in the dance class helps us to find out more about ourselves as teachers. This exercise can help us to identify aspects of our teaching that we can change, improve and do more of.


2 thoughts on “What teacher does in class

  1. I certainly use a lot of Psychology when I teach and I can see from the above list that thinking about the students as one teaches must be an ongoing thing throughout the whole teaching session. I would enjoy doing this short course on -line teaching experience with you. Kind regards Barbara Spencer Dip.U.K.A dance.

  2. Good to her from you Barbara. It would be lovely to have you join an online course and work together. The September courses will be announced shortly.

Comments are closed.