Monday, September 26, 2011

Before Class "To Do's"

I often write about what goes on in a movement class.  Activities you can do, themes you can explore.  Today I am going to focus on what should take place before a movement experience.

The To Do's before class   

Before teaching class let your students know:
  1. That you are happy to be there.  Show enthusiasm - it is catchy!
  2. What themes or ideas you will be exploring.
  3. One or two things you are looking for in terms of behavior.  (Raising a quiet hand, eye contact, standing up nice and tall, etc.
  4. That they should do their best.
Before sending your children off to dance class let your child know:
  1. That you are happy they are going.  Show enthusiasm  - it is catchy!
  2. They should think about what they will be doing or exploring in class. 
  3. What you expect of them in terms of behavior (Listen to the directions, raise your hand when you want to ask a question, etc.)
  4. Do your best.
Pretty much the same.

It does not matter if you are teaching a class or getting your child ready to take a class.  Preparing them is an essential component to their success.

A simple but yet important part of helping you child or student succeed is to let them know their schedule and/ or setting up a very predictable routine. My daughter knows that her 3rd grade class goes to art on Monday and library on Thursday.  She dresses appropriately for art and puts her library books in her backpack every Thursday morning.  Knowing her school schedule helps her emotionally prepare for her day.

Unfortunately I did not follow this rule today. 

I told my daughter that she had Tae Kwon Do as she jumped off the bus after school.  She had a hard time transitioning from playing with the kids in the neighborhood to getting ready for her martial arts class. It became stressful for both of us. Instead of following my list of "before class to do's" I focused on the before class "what not to do's." ( It wasn't as much fun and definitely not rewarding.)

Transitions are essential.  If your child or student has a smooth transition from one activity to the next she/he is more likely to be physically as well as mentally prepared.   And it is way more fun and much more rewarding for everyone. 

Have fun preparing for class with (and for) the children in your life.



  1. One point that stuck out to me was to be enthusiastic about teaching a class. I feel there are so many teachers that do not show excitement and enthusiasm when teaching, especially teenagers. Teachers who have more advanced dancers don't feel they need to be overly excited like they would with a class of little girls. This makes the dancers less excited about what they are doing as well! I also think behavioral rules need to be enforced as discussed in point three especially with the overly chatty teenagers.

  2. HI Alyssa,
    You make a good point - teenagers need guidance, support and enthuiasm too. If your teenage students know you are happy to be there and are looking forward to teaching the class they will be invested in the class as well. It is very important to create guidelines with teenagers and goals as well.
    Thanks for your comment!