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make your day dance

“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…”

January 10th, 2011 · 5 Comments · Tags: ··

Have you ever been giving instructions in class & suddenly had a flash of what the kids are actually hearing?  Maybe it’s more so for me because 60% of my kids speak English as a second language, so for them it really is “blah, blah, blah…”  I remember that experience from my years in Japan.  Nonetheless, it’s good to redouble the effort to let them do, play & create rather than listen.

Thanks to colleague Ashley Sirls for this:…   Another reminder of what’s important: playfulness, kid energy, going with the flow of what they need!

5 Comments so far ↓

  • Malke

    Yeah, the less words the better. It’s still challenging after all these years, but it’s worth the effort to turn off my mouth and just let the kids get started.

    How do you handle it, though, when you’re trying to make a connection to an essential curricular connection? There has to be *some* verbalizing, doesn’t there? Maybe the point is to get to the point and leave the details in the doing.

    In my residency, when the going gets tough I often have a ‘silent day’ where I don’t say anything for the first third of class and we do warm-ups and a clogging lesson (including introduction of new steps/technique) without me speaking. It freaks them out, but they focus *s0* much better. They’re always relieved when I start talking again! ;)

  • megrm

    It’s a constant process, isn’t it, trimming down? Of course, there have to be words, but I’m forever trying to reduce them …and as you say, it’s really effective when the lesson starts & continues with LOTS of movement! By the time the talking happens, they’re ready to listen.

  • Malke

    That’s exactly what it is…’trimming down’! Perfect.

    It’s so funny that even us, the dance teachers, who work in a non-verbal medium, have to think about talking less!

    Which makes me think that my favorite moments with kids (especially five and younger) are when a kid is dancing to some music and, if they seem open to it, I join in and repeat their movements. I have no agenda, don’t want to ‘teach’ them anything, I just mirror and respond to them in my own way, and all of a sudden we’re having this wonderful, real, deep conversation! We never speak a word.

  • Kerry Bevens


    I will be teaching a dance class for children with Autism starting next week. There will be 6 kids ages 6-10. Honestly, I have been attempting to plan the first class, but unsure where to start. Some children are fairly high functioning and other face more challenges (one also is bi-polar).

    I really am unsure how to stucture the class that will be 60 minutes long. Any advice would be most appreciated.



  • megrm

    Kerry, your question is so important, I decided to reply in a post — check out today’s post “Getting acquainted: students with Autism.” It’s for you! Check back with questions or concerns — I’m NO expert, but I’ve been there!