Ballroom Dance > Tips for New Instructor?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by EllaKins, Nov 12, 2017 at 7:02 PM.

  1. EllaKins

    EllaKins New Member

    Hi guys. I am starting a new position as an instructor soon, and was looking for some tips. I've never taught before, so this is my first teaching job.

    Any kinds of tips are appreciated!!
  2. ballroomdancertoo

    ballroomdancertoo Well-Known Member

    I assisted my instructor with her students. the first thing she did with a new student is watch them dance, if they have danced before....if not she begins with the very basic steps. always collect payment before, a lot of times the students forget and leave and then she has to remind them to pay the next time. anyway, my two bits! good luck!
  3. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Did not the person who trained you give you a list of things to cover ?
    Bailamosdance and IndyLady like this.
  4. IndyLady

    IndyLady Well-Known Member

    I'm hoping the answer is yes, and OP is crowd-sourcing for more insight from a wider audience.

    My tip: figure out, or even better, ASK, how your students learn best. i.e. auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner. I can't tell you how many times I've had to tell instructors that watching them do something is completely pointless for me if you haven't first told me what to do (auditory), then either danced it with me or manipulated my body (kinesthetic). You may feel awesome during your demo, but for some of us that wasn't instructive, it was just a chance for the teacher to use part of my lesson doing a performance.
  5. EllaKins

    EllaKins New Member

    More the second one! Just crowd sourcing for info because I'm new and excited, and looking for more.
  6. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    IndyLady's suggestion is excellent. I am quite up front about my inability to get much from watching bodies move through space, particularly if there is rotation involved, but not all students are going to speak up when they cannot follow something. If you are teaching a class, you need to present things in multiple ways. I also find that more experienced teachers break things into smaller chunks and repeat more.

    I have had newer teachers on occasion say, "I'll get back to you about this on the next lesson" when they couldn't figure out how to explain or correct something. To me, that is infinitely better than torturing both of us with something that isn't working. It's going to happen, so think about how you are going to handle it ahead of time.
  7. AirColor

    AirColor Member

    Here's my advice from teaching social dances (swing, wcs, latin, etc.). Can't say much about ballroom but I can't imagine it being too different..

    - Smile, be excited, make students feel comfortable to be in the room with you
    - Loud voice/amplifier
    - Allowing flexibility in lesson plans depending on the level of students/learning speed
    - Don't talk too much. After necessary instructions analyze the students for common mistakes.
    - Beginners generally want clarity on what you're supposed to do. More advanced dancers want options on what you can do.
    - Rotate partners often
    - Have some of your advanced dancer friends in your lesson to help ease the load of teaching (when you first begin teaching). They don't need to teach but they can give your students, and you, some critical feedbacks and help you grow.

    And most importantly...

    SIMPLIFY!! I can't count how many lessons I've been to where the instructor confuses his/her students by adding their own extra flair, teaching multiple components at once and never breaking them down, teaching a more complicated variation before teaching the simpler one first. Simplifying things will actually allow your students to understand the dance better and will make it easier for you as you progress.
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    This is the key to "teaching " . I have preached this for many moons .
    One other detail; a little humour goes a long way to relax a class lesson .
    Dean, Caroline Skipper and IndyLady like this.
  9. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

  10. Lai Lai

    Lai Lai Member

    Don't want to sound rude, but... formal education in dance pedagogy would be the best thing to start with.
  11. EllaKins

    EllaKins New Member

    Lol of course, but I mean outside of that. That part is obvious, looking for more real world things.
  12. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    I hope this would be covered, but just in case...

    Our brains process information given in the positive better, and it's not just a "feel good" thing. For example, if you tell a child to stay on the sidewalk, it works better than saying, "don't go in the street". So, even if you need to something along the order of "don't do xyz", be sure to also fill in what the student SHOULD be doing. And if you can avoid the "don't" part, even better. ;)
  13. ballroomdancertoo

    ballroomdancertoo Well-Known Member

    I think Peter Maxwell instruction video was like "do the figure you always do. then now try this way. okay, now try the old way and compare. I learned a lot about the difference in feeling."
    RiseNFall likes this.

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