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What makes a good/bad teacher?

posted in: ethics, Teaching | 1

Abby Lee Millerhttp://danceadvantage.net/2010/08/11/define-dolly-dinkle/

I had never heard of a Dolly Dinkle before, but it sounds all so familiar when compared to complaints and opinions voiced in the bellydance community. All artists have the same concerns…

One commenter wrote:

“Dolly Dinkle schools offer no technique or curriculum. Their schedule often reflects whatever is hot at the moment- lyrical, contemporary instead of ballet; all hip-hop; etc. 

Dolly doesn’t teach vocabulary or history of the dance forms. Ballet is not the only genre with this! So many students don’t realize hip-hop and breakin’ have a vocab and history! 

A well-rounded education: technique, history and vocab PLUS improv, choreographic, and performance opportunities makes a great studio.”

Another poster commented:

We have a responsibility as teachers to keep advancing the field and ourselves through continuing education.  Since there is no standard in dance education, teachers have such varying levels of training, education, and certification. But as we all know, there are fantastic teachers with no performance experience, no degree, and no certification, and there are others who danced with ABT, have college degrees and five page resumes and are horrible teachers. It’s the teachers who continually seek knowledge and collaboration in the greater dance community who avoid pigeon holing themselves into a “Dolly Dinkle” atmosphere. 
For me personally, I think it comes down to motivation. When you sink into a routine and just “teach what you were taught”, that’s a tell-tale sign of my definition of a Dolly Dinkle. You have to continually analyze and assess: What are the needs of my students? What can I do to meet those needs? Is this a safe environment for my students? Is this a supportive environment for my families? Would I sign up my kids for my classes? It’s one thing to open up a studio with a concrete floor. Everyone has to start somewhere. But to ignore it for 10 years is quite another thing.This is fantastic! I think Maria made an interesting point about “teaching what they were taught.” We have a responsibility as teachers to keep advancing the field and ourselves through continuing education. The conference Nichelle is attending this week is a perfect example! Since there is no standard in dance education, teachers have such varying levels of training, education, and certification. But as we all know, there are fantastic teachers with no performance experience, no degree, and no certification, and there are others who danced with ABT, have college degrees and five page resumes and are horrible teachers. It’s the teachers who continually seek knowledge and collaboration in the greater dance community who avoid pigeon holing themselves into a “Dolly Dinkle” atmosphere.

And there are a couple other great comments in there as well.

What would you say is the mark of a good teacher? What were some traits of bad teachers you have encountered? And do you think there should be some kind of regulation? Why or why not?

Shay
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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

Shay
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One Response

  1. Heather Teachout
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    I think that a good teacher needs to not only know the information that they are trying to teach very well but they have to be able to take what is in their head and voice it. Take me for example, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of how to dance myself but the very few times that someone has asked me to teach them a move I can not seem to be able to vocalize my knowledge in a way that can be understood, even if they were well versed dancers. Sooo, I have concluded that even if my dance skills and training were at a point were I felt I could teach (which I don’t) I would still make a very bad teacher.

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