Dance teaching qualifications come in many different shapes and sizes. Well at least, in many different genres, levels and types of qualifications. Here in the UK there are two key sectors, the public sector which includes state schools, colleges and Universities and then there is the private sector which includes local dance schools, larger private dance studios and other independent dance teaching.
In recent years the gap between the private and public dance sector has begun to narrow due to some in the private sector wanting their qualifications to be recognised on the national qualifications framework. Students want to be able to accrue points which they can use to their benefit when applying for higher education. To satisfy this a number of dance teaching societies and awarding bodies have gone through enormous changes to their examination syllabi and teaching qualifications in order to jump through the hoops required by the public sector. There is room for debate as to whether this is the desirable way to go and raising questions such as, is the private dance teaching sector simply there to provide a route into higher education, or does it have another function altogether? Whatever the debates and questions, decisions have been made so we now have a private dance teaching that is heading towards the public sector and it is not clear, at least to me, what the end goal is.
Supervised teaching practice
When I started my training to become a dance teacher I had endless opportunities to do supervised teaching practice because my mother ran a full-time dance school. It was the norm back then for dance teachers in training to do regular, supervised, teaching practice. And as there was a lively teacher training programme at the school for all the various dance genres, there were often student dance teachers gaining experience of teaching in the classes. Today, it seems that this has changed for many dance teaching students. Access to regular, supervised, dance teaching practice appears to be more difficult to today. So up and coming dance teachers may not get the amount of teaching practice that they need or want. This is a shame because I learned a huge amount through the supervised teaching practice that I experienced.
Furthering your dance teaching qualifications
Another thing that I notice today about qualifications is that the motivation to go on and take higher, dance teaching qualifications is not always there. For example, in organisations where there is an Associate, Membership/Licentiate and Fellowship and possibly a Student Teacher qualification prior to Associate level, it was the norm in my day, to take the Associate (no student teacher level then) and then work for the next two or more years towards gaining the Membership qualification. Some then went on to study for and take the Fellowship qualification after gaining further teaching knowledge, skills, understanding and experience, over a period of maybe three of more years. Today it appears that many take an Associate qualification but do not go on to take higher qualifications. What a shame that many dance teachers are not continuing with their teaching education and development. So much can be learned when studying for the next qualification/s. Some of the awarding bodies actively encourage existing dance teachers to take new or further qualifications. Having taught on some of the new dance teaching qualification courses in London, that emerged as part of this move towards the public sector, I found that many of these teachers thoroughly enjoyed developing their teaching and adding to their knowledge, skills and understanding. It was great to work with new teachers right at the beginning of their dance teaching career and also teachers who had many years of dance teaching experience to draw on.
If you could further your qualifications would you not want to do so? Letting your students and their families know that you are continuing your dance teaching education is a good thing. Whether you are firmly in the private dance teaching sector or straddling the private and the public sector there are lots of options and opportunities for you to add to your qualifications. Why not look at the qualifications available to you? You might find that adding to your qualifications turns out to be a great way to progress your teaching.
Short Online CPD Courses for Dance Teachers
If you are not ready to study for additional qualifications at the moment, don’t forget that you can also do short online CPD for dance teachers in a number of topics. You can find information about the April 2016 courses here.