We’ve all been there. In the studio, at convention, or in our living rooms. Where you just feel like you cannot make your body perform the step that is in your brain. And if we as teachers have been there, then we know our students share the same frustrations. So this week we asked our panel how they deal with “stuck students.”
What do you do when your students aren’t “getting it?”
When it’s just not clicking?
I will sometimes take a video of them so I can show them where the problem is. If it still isn’t clicking after weeks of attempts I will make the necessary changes to choreography and put whatever it was on the list for next time.
Move on for now or move those students to back to pose for that piece of the choreography.
I try to remember that ultimately it falls on me as their teacher to help guide them to “getting it”. Every student is different and each of their journeys is unique, so it’s important to keep that in mind when faced with the frustration of them not getting something. I am always reminded of something one of my teachers/mentors told me when I started teaching: “The best teachers are the ones who find the same thing to say a million different ways.”
Try a different approach or explanation. Or slow it down.
I sometimes teach entire hours with no music. We’ll slow down and try different things like really focusing into the mirror on what we’re doing, using partners to critique one another, or I often pull out a student who is “getting it” to show off for the class. It’s like magic, all of the sudden a lot of kids will step up to make sure they’re even with their classmate.
This usually means some sort of communication error or boundary on my behalf. I rework the approach in as many ways possible. Some people are visual learners, some need counts, some need rhythm, and some need the physics behind the step. Finding a way to break down a step from a different angle will almost always work.
I believe in order to be a successful teacher, you must have at least 3 different approaches to teaching something. I have to constantly remind myself that each dancer is different, and paying attention to how each dancer learns the best is key.
Surprised? Not surprised? Do you have a different pet peeve? Time for you to sound off, in the comments!
** Each week our panel of teachers will answer a different question. Got a question? Get in touch. Know someone who should be featured on our panel? Nominate them. **