Friday, 4 October 2013


So I was trying to organising my documents just now with two main aims: (1) to be able to find things more easily and (2) to group useful articles together; some of the articles are recent discoveries, some filed way back in February/ March (as I was working through possible inquiry topics).
Those articles found back in the Spring have required a little memory jog as to what category they might best fit, and, in some cases, why on earth I had wanted to save them in the first place!

The reason for this blog then? Well, you might be relieved to hear that it's not just a tale about my laptop spring cleaning efforts!

This is the reason:
I perceive that most of the students who enroll in our program have chosen dance as a major avenue of expression because of a spiritual quest. By the time I have the opportunity to work with them, however, the spiritual aspect of their dancing has often receded. I perceive that they have mostly been trained from a quantitative point of view, that they have been asked to meet externally measurable, idealized standards—rather than having been encouraged to voyage inside their bodies and minds to discover what goals might be realistic and might help them function more effectively within themselves and in the world. (Evans, 1997, p.1)

The highlighted section, in particular, is my inspiration for this blog. After all, isn't this the question that is at the heart of my inquiry?

Examinations, end of term shows, competition dances - all these things make up a high-proportion of a lot of dancing school's agendas; the achievement of a good standard in order to gain a good grade, good performance, gold medal, etc.
Don't get me wrong, these are all good methods of improving skills, developing competence and extrinsically motivating students. However, that's not all there is to dance is it?
Isn't the journey both an outward and an inward one? Or rather, shouldn't it be?

I am suddenly aware of the concept drawing task given by Paula at the campus session (02/10/2013), where, when asked to draw a reperesentation of growth I drew something like this:

Where, in the lower shape, there is growth outward but also inwards.
 Light bulb!
My passion, interest, or, if you'll pardon my French, raison d'etre, as dance teacher, is clearly, therefore, to find a balance between the external factors placed upon me by the dance schools I work for, for example, assessment, achievement and status, and the personal desire to provide students with as much personal development/ growth as is possible.
My inquiry? Well, that is my opportunity to develop my understanding of how this might be achieved.
Phew! Fingers are almost steaming from the need to get that all out!
Evans, B. 1997. Teaching What I Want to Learn. [pdf] National Dance Association. Available through: [Accessed: 4 Oct 2013].

1 comment:

  1. Interesting read Sarah, thank you. I feel the idea of keeping up to standards and requirements as a teacher are essential, yes you must stay with the rules and allow students to learn all that they need to during training years. However, there must be the time and allowance for the dancers to 'be themselves' be aware of and become comfortable with their bodies and their own personal learning styles.
    As a teacher, do you feel you are able to differentiate each individuals learning technique? I would assume you do? And are therefore able to help each with their own ability, working with them as to how they want it to train.
    I like your inward/outward thoughts it is perhaps a parallel to the input/output idea. The more you put in the more is given out?