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Thread: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...




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    Established BHUZzer Anthea Kawakib Poole's Avatar
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    teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Discuss...

    Do you teach beginners at beginner level, and if not, why not?

    Seems like a weird question but if you teach long enough you get students from other teachers ...and I think you know where I'm going with this. Students who learned a bunch of (very cool) moves but don't seem to have real training in basic Dancing 101 (like how to pose nicely, put moves together, how to dance on the beat or, the list goes on & on).
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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by anthea View Post
    ...and I think you know where I'm going with this. Students who learned a bunch of (very cool) moves but don't seem to have real training in basic Dancing 101
    If you set up your classes so that you are teaching the choreography that students are going to perform at the end of the beginners' session, when will you have time to cover fundamentals? You've already got your hands full teaching both the moves and the choreo. And when your population is made up of people who aren't interested in learning anything but choreographies they can perform as quickly as possible, they don't want this information anyway. Fundamentals are boring.

    (like how to pose nicely,
    Teaching someone how to pose nicely, whether it's a dancer or a photographer's model, usually requires someone else offering personalized, corrective advice. Hey, we're here to have fun. Don't put us on the spot. We just want to dress up and dance!

    put moves together,
    I'm still waiting to be formally taught this myself! There are two issues here: how to put the moves together sensibly in the larger context (If you're doing Egyptian style, is this the way an Egyptian might actually dance?), and how to put the moves together in a way that reflects the dancer as an artist with a unique personality (How do you learn to express yourself under this set of constraints?). We barely teach the first part. The second requires mentoring, and what percentage of students have the opportunity to have a real mentor?

    how to dance on the beat
    I think a lot of teachers assume most students know this. At least, they assume students can FIND the beat. The most instruction I've personally received on this is "Step on the One." The problem with teaching how to dance like this is that you have to understand where One is to do it properly, unless you have good intuition and can just "feel" it. This is why students get so lost on those odd Turkish time signatures. They don't understand how measures and phrases of this music fit together from an intellectual standpoint, and they don't have an overwhelming sense that they could have lived in Istanbul in a past life, either. What happens when you have a teacher who can't cover basic music theory (and this is not an insanely uncommon situation)? When does a student who didn't show up at Class One understanding the structure of a song learn it?


  3. #3
    Advanced BHUZzer Elibelinde's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Tourbeau as usual states problems/issues brilliantly.

    Clearly, Anthea asks an important question and Tourbeau presents several specific instances where teachers can go wrong.

    I think it's vital to work on basics, and this goes for everybody, however advanced, and it isn't boring at all. In ballet class you will go over and over the most basic elements of the dance for your entire career. So why not belly dancers?

    As far as transitions, that's a next-step issue but can be integrated into a beginner level class, or a class where there are many level students which I personally run into all the time.

    The thing is, the teacher has to understand it herself, and many people are good dancers but maybe haven't really thought this through.

    In fact, just teaching the most basic stuff isn't that straightforward, I just had a huge breakthrough after how many years? how to teach a hip circle because one of my regulars just hasn't gotten it, so finally this big lightbulb went off and I managed to understand it for myself; therefore I could teach it.

    Sometimes, people can learn by show and tell but often, the most basic things need to be broken down into tiny component elements, and it's a real challenge to a teacher to slow down and really understand a move so she can pass it along.

    Music theory: whole 'nother ball of wax. That's a lifetime study, but it's vital to learn/teach it as best as one possibly can and also realize that we never reach the point of knowing everything. The more one studies, the more one doesn't know if that makes sense. So teachers need to keep learning and keep learning how to teach.

    Heh. I'm thinking we are all beginners.

    PS class goals - teaching choreography before people learn basics? OY. There oughta be a law. When I started ballet, age 5, I didn't get to work with the other students until I'd had weeks and weeks of private lessons, how to do the basics well enough to fit into the beginner class.

    SO, if I get a beginner, we ALL go back to square one. PS I don't think this is boring. I think it brings us back to earth, re-connects us with our technique and with the music, and it all seems new again.
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  4. #4
    Advanced BHUZzer Elibelinde's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    The Beat. This is major.

    Teach students how to listen. Telling them how the music is constructed, the tension between the melody line and the drums, and how that varies regionally and by type - ie folkloric vs classical can present different challenges - is very important. If people can't hear the drums how can they understand where the downbeats are?

    Also, if people have rhythm issues, there are metronomes, and there's nothing wrong with using them. The best musicians in the world use them; why shouldn't belly dance students?

    This is also one of the great things about teaching/playing zills: they connect us with the music.

    As far as specific cultural interpretations: I am not sure anybody from outside a given culture can be 100% accurate, example, "hearing" music exactly like an Egyptian -

    but ps - which Egyptian? To some degree this is cultural, national, maybe even a religious phenomenon; or even a matter of class.

    But beyond that, how we hear and interpret music is a unique, very personal thing, part of who we are. That's why no two classical musicians will interpret Beethoven, say, the same exact way.

    So, I'm wary of saying, this is exactly how "a Turk" would hear/interpret this music because no two Turks are the same are they? and we aren't either, and past being about to actually hear the music/find the beat and the phrasing, so forth, we have to interpret the music for ourselves.

    Otherwise, at best we are just copying and there's no art in that, no originality and no individuality.

    So part of the teacher's challenge, beginning from step one, is to open the door to the music but also stress the need for a dancer to make her own dance, to hear where to work on the melody line, the serpentine, undulating line, and where to sizzle, and where to emphasize the drums, and where to do nothing - to express silence.
    Last edited by Elibelinde; 06-17-2011 at 06:23 PM.
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    Master BHUZzer wigglewhiz's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Actually, I teach choreo to beginners. It's an incredibly useful tool for making the Fundamentals meaningful, and goes a huge way towards that whole How To Put The Moves Together thing.

    You need strong repetition, a reasonably simple choreo (but be sure to make sure it's MUSICALLY meaningful, not just 4 of this and 4 of that), and a methodical breakdown into building blocks to allow class time to be divided into half technique and half choreo. It's a challenge to fulfil everything, but when it works, it works very well.

    To be fair, I don't teach the type of funsters who're just after Shakira moves or MOAR MOVES, LESS OF THIS MUSICALITY THING, and they get weeded out of my classes (by self-selecting themselves to leave, not by request) pretty quickly. So perhaps I'm fairly quickly getting myself into teaching some pretty dedicated improvers and am biased.


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    Official BHUZzer lplmuk's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    I teach students to "listen" to the music first and foremost and that means playing only ME music. Stuffy old me but listening to Pussycat dolls does not lend its' self to getting a grip on technique.A teacher who had a great impact on my beginning to pick apart the music was Sara Farouk and if I can't inspire students to firstly appreciate the music and understand that dance is about expressing it, I'm failing.

    I once attended a tribal workshop with a very well known teacher where not one note of music was played .Now although there isn't the cultural background to tune into, can you imagine how uninspired I was to actually execute the moves!

    I know students of some years of classes who because their posture has never been addressed appear to have poorer technique than is so. Foundation stones are essential

    I don't consider teaching beginning belly dancers to be "dumbing down" anyway as there is nothing more important than those first few steps. Nothing is harder nor more vital than teaching beginners. If I hear "Well, I am only teaching beginners" one more time, I might just slap the perp!


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    Established BHUZzer Anthea Kawakib Poole's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Elibelinde View Post
    The thing is, the teacher has to understand it herself, and many people are good dancers but maybe haven't really thought this through.

    In fact, just teaching the most basic stuff isn't that straightforward, I just had a huge breakthrough after how many years? how to teach a hip circle because one of my regulars just hasn't gotten it, so finally this big lightbulb went off and I managed to understand it for myself; therefore I could teach it.
    They haven't thought things through, boy isn't that the truth!

    I also just learned a new focus on teaching hip circles! and it's helping a lot after twenty some years of teaching I can still learn a new thing or two
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    I could get used to this! Zabelly's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    In my classes I'm always reviewing "the basics". I too think that if you cant go back and do a technically correct shimmy then any layering you learn no matter how impressive it looks will never be the best it can be. I also find that teaching the basics over and over again really helps me as a dancer. I'm a firm believer that if you can teach it to someone else then you in tern learn it better.

    One trick I have learned with the musicality, is to have sections of class where we all sit down, close our eyes, and practice picking out the different tracks in the music, such as thee base beat, the melody and the accents. This has helped my students greatly. Then we do some practice drills to each layer of the music. I think that learning how to pick out the different sections of music is a basic skill as a dancer. And you can't think that everyone in your class is just there to get a workout. As a teacher of the art form you need to treat everyone in your class like they are there to learn the craft. If not, in my opinion, the instructor is doing a disservice to her students and the art form.
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    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    It is common for people to come to my beginner class who have previously studied with another teacher or done self-study at home via DVD. I always tell such students that I'd like them to learn the moves "my way".

    I say this is NOT because I think their previous teacher was somehow "wrong", but rather that 1) There can be more than one correct way to do things and by learning mine in addition to what they already know they'll have more options to choose from; and 2) If I organize a recital for the students to perform as a group I'll expect everyone to do the moves "my" way for a more uniform look.

    Of course, there are additional reasons why I might correct students. Maybe their incoming technique places them at risk of injury or doesn't look attractive. But I try not to say these negative reasons out loud in class because that could be seen as criticizing a teacher they enjoyed studying with. And although they may have previously studied with a teacher who failed to provide proper correction, it's also possible the previous teacher was very good, and the problem lay in the student's ability to properly absorb what was being taught.

    I start every beginner class with warm-ups to a simple drum rhythm, usually ayyoub. I do this to train students to listen for the beat. I explain the doom and the tek sounds, and (in ayyoub) I ask them to simply walk in time to the rhythm, placing a foot on the ground in time to each DOOM. It's very interesting to see how many people actually can't do that. I quote George Ballanchine, saying "Dance is the music made visible," and explain that's the purpose of this paricular warm-up - to help them start thinking of what they're hearing in the music as they move their bodies.


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    Master BHUZzer emma-bessa's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    I work with several other teachers in the same studio,and we take each others classes in every level,not only because we like it but because we need to be in harmony about what beginner/intermediate/advanced means to us.

    All students are taught like this:warmup,getting to know the rythm(walking or just making the rythm)then doing combinations(and freestyle like using 3-4 in for example "soft" or "rythmic" or "travelling"moves in whatever order they see fit,or level change of same move,or same move in different tempos)posture&technique feedback from teacher,and then choreo.All classes have choreo each term,and the technique classes combos can of course be "puzzled" together.Cooldown.
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    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    I take my beginners through 8 weeks of basics before considering choreography (although in those first 8 weeks we do improvisation and combinations). I try and do some basic review in every class - even if only for 5 minutes.

    For a while I let that slip (mustn't let the students get bored) but was pulled back by two student comments. One was a long term student who attended a workshop and commented positievly on the tutor who reviewed posture. The other was a capable student who I let skip the beginner course as (I thought) I knew her previous school's curriculum. A year down the track she comes raving in about generating figure eights from the abs (not the "skeleton"). Excuse me, we covered that in Intro - except she hadn't done it with me and I hadn't reinforced what I thought was basic technique.
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  12. #12
    Advanced BHUZzer caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    I have always said that teaching begginers is actually the hardest thing a teacher can do.

    In a short space of time, a teacher must provide the student with an achievable and enjoyable experience... without totally selling out on the music and dance form. It is a clever balance.

    Many students realise quite quickly that belly dance is perhaps not what they thought it was, but a good teacher will engage them make them love it anyway.

    Instead of full performance style choreographies, soundbite choreography linking moves and exploring ideas can work just as well.
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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by caroline_afifi View Post
    I have always said that teaching begginers is actually the hardest thing a teacher can do.

    In a short space of time, a teacher must provide the student with an achievable and enjoyable experience... without totally selling out on the music and dance form. It is a clever balance.
    Then why do we excuse dancers who are barely intermediates themselves from hanging out the shingle to teach beginners? I'm not talking about a supervised situation where a teacher promotes a competent student to teaching assistant, but the case of someone who has a few years of elementary classes (or maybe even less) and strikes out on her own. Progressing from "beginner" to "intermediate" to "advanced" is not simply a matter of years since your first class or how many workshops you've flailed through or how much stuff you've bought. It's how much progress you've actually made relative to wider expectations of the dance community. If you have learned two months of technique and four years of choreographies rehashing those eight lessons, that doesn't mean you're not still a beginner.

    Unless you are fortunate enough to live in the same neighborhood as a master dancer, your likelihood of getting a mediocre or worse dancer as your first teacher is quite high. I don't say this to be insulting to everyone who teaches beginners. It's simply a fact that a lot of beginner's classes are taught by students who became teachers when they exhausted the limited opportunities of their small markets, dancers who weren't able to make it as working pros, and free-range crackpots. Sometimes the first two work out. If you're training very hard on your own, you could still be an excellent teacher without a local mentor, and lots of great dancers don't have the look or the BS-deflection capabilities to do bellygrams, and that's fine. The crackpots are more problematic, and they're the ones who make us wish we had a credential system to limit them.

    How many times have you heard another dancer say, "It's okay that I don't ____________, because I only teach beginners"? If you're filling in that blank with "play the qanun," then by all means, carry on, but if it's "shimmy my hips without my hands clenching" or "know the difference between 'Saidi' and 'Saudi'" or "like listening to Middle Eastern music," then we've got a problem, especially if you think you're teaching anything that resembles raqs sharqi. If you're not enthusiastic enough to want to master proper technique or learn about the cultural background yourself, how do you expect to instill those interests in a student? When it comes to choosing a first teacher, we are putting the burden of being a discriminating consumer on the segment of our population who is the least qualified to do so.


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    I'm not sure you can assume that just because students come in without certain information -- and even if they claim it wasn't taught to them (the easiest dodge in the world for a student who may not have been paying attention) -- that it isn't being taught by another teacher.

    My experience is that unless you say to students "Now we are going to learn about the beat" (or posing, or whatever) and repeat that statement every week, they will tell their later teacher that you never taught them that.

    I have my beginners move to the beat. I count the beat out loud, I have them move to the beat in half time and double time. I drill them to pure rhythm tracks and identify both the beat and the rhythm in almost every piece of music we hear. Sometimes I even have them count out loud. I also teach choreography to beginners, in part because they are forced to count and move to musical phrases in choreography.

    Some of my beginners have no trouble with this. Other students come in with no real musical background and can't find the beat with a cane and a seeing eye dog for the first couple of years. (I was one of those students myself, in spite of having been in high school orchestra.)

    If one of my students went to another teacher, they would say "Lauren never taught us about the beat."

    Ditto for all the things above. I do teach my beginners about posing attractively, starting with their very first lesson. But I don't say 'Now we will learn how to pose attractively'


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    Master BHUZzer casbahdance's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Yea, verily, Lauren!

    I've had students come up to me bubbling over about this new thing they learned in a workshop that very morning.

    Then they tell me what it is.

    And I've been teaching that very thing to them, perhaps for several years, using almost the exact wording/coaching used in the workshop.

    Go figure.

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  16. #16
    Advanced BHUZzer caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    Then why do we excuse dancers who are barely intermediates themselves from hanging out the shingle to teach beginners? I'm not talking about a supervised situation where a teacher promotes a competent student to teaching assistant, but the case of someone who has a few years of elementary classes (or maybe even less) and strikes out on her own.
    This has happened for as long as I can remember. How many students have what they might call a 'false start'? I certainly did. My first 'teacher', in terms of going to a class to learn formally, was exactly one of those people who went to a class for one term and decided that she was younger, more supple and sexy than the estblished teacher and went off on her own. In all her years of teaching she has not produced one dancer who is teaching or a successful performer in her own right.
    Progressing from "beginner" to "intermediate" to "advanced" is not simply a matter of years since your first class or how many workshops you've flailed through or how much stuff you've bought. It's how much progress you've actually made relative to wider expectations of the dance community. If you have learned two months of technique and four years of choreographies rehashing those eight lessons, that doesn't mean you're not still a beginner.
    yes.
    Unless you are fortunate enough to live in the same neighborhood as a master dancer, your likelihood of getting a mediocre or worse dancer as your first teacher is quite high. I don't say this to be insulting to everyone who teaches beginners. It's simply a fact that a lot of beginner's classes are taught by students who became teachers when they exhausted the limited opportunities of their small markets, dancers who weren't able to make it as working pros, and free-range crackpots. Sometimes the first two work out. If you're training very hard on your own, you could still be an excellent teacher without a local mentor, and lots of great dancers don't have the look or the BS-deflection capabilities to do bellygrams, and that's fine. The crackpots are more problematic, and they're the ones who make us wish we had a credential system to limit them.
    It sounds harsh but it is also true everywhere I guess.
    How many times have you heard another dancer say, "It's okay that I don't ____________, because I only teach beginners"? If you're filling in that blank with "play the qanun," then by all means, carry on, but if it's "shimmy my hips without my hands clenching" or "know the difference between 'Saidi' and 'Saudi'" or "like listening to Middle Eastern music," then we've got a problem, especially if you think you're teaching anything that resembles raqs sharqi.
    Even that is a luxury in some classes I have witnessed!


  17. #17
    Advanced BHUZzer caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    If you're not enthusiastic enough to want to master proper technique or learn about the cultural background yourself, how do you expect to instill those interests in a student? When it comes to choosing a first teacher, we are putting the burden of being a discriminating consumer on the segment of our population who is the least qualified to do so.
    Yes again. Teachers set trends in learning and development. As much as people may criticise Suraya Hilal and Wendy B, they did actually teach. There have been steps made in the UK, again with wide criticism with regards to teaching certificates. These things are about business, but there is something genuine in there about trying to establish some quality teaching practice. We know in many ways a certificate may mean nothing (a bit like a drivers license), but it does show that a teacher has attended certain courses and has looked at and studied various necessary aspects of the dance. For some people it is simply a case of who the teacher of that particular village or town is. Quite often, people may also choose classes based on who seems the nicest, who is the most flamboyant, who compliments them the most, the most marketed in the area etc. Some of my best teachers have been hard work as people, lacked social skills and didnt always look too hot. There is a big issue with who looks the part and who doesnt etc. The best teachers are not always the ones who are in your face.
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    Official BHUZzer lplmuk's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    I believe also that students stay with teacher who suits them. They may not actually want much of a challenge. They may not even be too concerned to have their technique corrected because outside Bhuzland are many ladies(mostly)who have fun working towards performances and don't consider there is any milage or point in "homing their skills".After all it's "just a hafla ",
    They have a safe teacher who suits them,doesn't expect too much from them and very importantly..they have gelled as a group who get on with each other. When new people come along, they have to fit into that scenario. And so you get people who make very little progress.Sometimes what a teacher does is dictated by the nature of the class that has built up over the years. Teachers have to be very determined sometimes to keep a class on track if their students are hell bent on FUN and worse "Having a giggle".
    But the worst "teacher attitude" I have heard was a teacher tell me that "What can I expect with this lot!" Low expectations This part of the problem with belly dance teaching. There is too little emphasis on the skill of teaching- it seems to be forgotten that you need not only to be able to belly dance but to teach .


  19. #19
    Master BHUZzer emma-bessa's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by caroline_afifi View Post
    I have always said that teaching begginers is actually the hardest thing a teacher can do.

    In a short space of time, a teacher must provide the student with an achievable and enjoyable experience... without totally selling out on the music and dance form. It is a clever balance.

    Many students realise quite quickly that belly dance is perhaps not what they thought it was, but a good teacher will engage them make them love it anyway.

    Instead of full performance style choreographies, soundbite choreography linking moves and exploring ideas can work just as well.
    WORD.


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    Established BHUZzer Anthea Kawakib Poole's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    Then why do we excuse dancers who are barely intermediates themselves from hanging out the shingle to teach beginners?
    I know, Tourbeau, I don't think we (in general) are "excusing them" but I know what you mean. But, we can't rant about other teachers (or even speak the mildest criticism of someone specifically) without it making a huge negative impression on a student, don't you think? If we want to make points about "good teaching" we have to do it generically so to speak, not in reference to anyone in particular. I've seen students "antennas" go up when a "where did you study before" conversation gets started... Gots to be REAL careful there IMO
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    Established BHUZzer Anthea Kawakib Poole's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    I'm not sure you can assume that just because students come in without certain information -- and even if they claim it wasn't taught to them (the easiest dodge in the world for a student who may not have been paying attention) -- that it isn't being taught by another teacher.

    My experience is that unless you say to students "Now we are going to learn about the beat" (or posing, or whatever) and repeat that statement every week, they will tell their later teacher that you never taught them that.

    I have my beginners move to the beat. I count the beat out loud, I have them move to the beat in half time and double time. I drill them to pure rhythm tracks and identify both the beat and the rhythm in almost every piece of music we hear. Sometimes I even have them count out loud. I also teach choreography to beginners, in part because they are forced to count and move to musical phrases in choreography.

    Some of my beginners have no trouble with this. Other students come in with no real musical background and can't find the beat with a cane and a seeing eye dog for the first couple of years. (I was one of those students myself, in spite of having been in high school orchestra.)

    If one of my students went to another teacher, they would say "Lauren never taught us about the beat."

    Ditto for all the things above. I do teach my beginners about posing attractively, starting with their very first lesson. But I don't say 'Now we will learn how to pose attractively'
    Yes, I've had that happen too, someone comes back from a workshop with something "new", and I'm like, Really?

    But I think you should see SOME grasp of foundation skills after studying with someone for several months? unless (as I suspect) class was just "whatever, follow me" type material...
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    Ultimate BHUZzer Suzana's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Since you obviously have someone specific in mind, Anthea, and you're concerned about it, why don't you just ask her what she's teaching?
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  23. #23
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by anthea View Post
    I know, Tourbeau, I don't think we (in general) are "excusing them" but I know what you mean. But, we can't rant about other teachers (or even speak the mildest criticism of someone specifically) without it making a huge negative impression on a student, don't you think? If we want to make points about "good teaching" we have to do it generically so to speak, not in reference to anyone in particular. I've seen students "antennas" go up when a "where did you study before" conversation gets started... Gots to be REAL careful there IMO
    By "excuse," what most of us are doing is a sin of omission, not commission. It's not "active endorsement" as much as "trying to pretend it isn't happening." The average dancer is really quite powerless to stop other dancers who are teaching potentially harmful technique and bogus information, who are presenting themselves as professionals when they're nowhere near that level of competence, and who are undercutting or otherwise behaving in ways that reflect a lack of good judgment or maturity. But what can we do? If we criticize them in public, we get a lot of "haters gonna hate" blowback. There's no licensing board to lodge complaints of incompetence or unethical behavior. And most of us would never have the nerve to confront the person directly, because no matter how constructively the points were phrased or how unimpeachable the credentials of the person saying them, the dance community hasn't done a good job of cultivating an educational climate where students expect and know how to react to feedback that isn't totally supportive and complimentary.

    This is the question that keeps coming up over and over. What do we do? Could you ever see yourself telling students and telling them in public, on the record, "I don't mean to speak ill of Dancer X, but in good conscience, I don't feel she is a competent teacher"? Could you ever see yourself telling Dancer X, "I would like you to improve your presentation before I'll let you and your students dance at my event"? Why or why not?


  24. #24
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Inexperienced teachers

    People often say things like "the market will deal with the incompetent teachers". But the GP have no idea. Often they just want a taste - which is what many of us live off - all those 6 week tastees. If the teacher is young and bouncy she'll often get those tastees. They try it, pick up some bad technique (or none at all) and misinformation and quite possibly bad mouth belly dance as easy, wiggling about. They, and their friends, are unlikely to ever find out their teacher was only a 6-week wonder herself.

    Yet, as you say, point out their deficiencies and you become a "jealous hater". I don't really have the answer.
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  25. #25
    I could get used to this! Zabelly's Avatar
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    Re: Inexperienced teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by kashmir View Post
    People often say things like "the market will deal with the incompetent teachers". But the GP have no idea. Often they just want a taste - which is what many of us live off - all those 6 week tastees. If the teacher is young and bouncy she'll often get those tastees. They try it, pick up some bad technique (or none at all) and misinformation and quite possibly bad mouth belly dance as easy, wiggling about. They, and their friends, are unlikely to ever find out their teacher was only a 6-week wonder herself.

    Yet, as you say, point out their deficiencies and you become a "jealous hater". I don't really have the answer.
    I've had students tell me they learned the basics in Zumba. This drives me crazy because for the most part when I go over the basics with them they are doing very huge Latin hip circles not the nice flat hip circles we consider basic in belly dance. I know that you can get certified to teach a fusion of belly dance and Zumba, but for the most part what goes on in Zumba is not the same as an authentic belly dance class.

    One thing to keep in mind, is that all teachers start as beginner teachers at some point. All teachers get better the more they can practice teaching. However, that does not mean anyone how doesn't have a good knowledge of belly dance should be teaching.
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  26. #26
    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Re: Inexperienced teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by Zabelly View Post
    I know that you can get certified to teach a fusion of belly dance and Zumba, but for the most part what goes on in Zumba is not the same as an authentic belly dance class.
    Here you can become an official Zumba teacher with a one day workshop!

    Personally, I cannot see the appeal of Zumba at all (although I've only done two classes); lots of sweat, no finnese or expression, some potentially dangerous moves - and the result is ugly.


  27. #27
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    This is the question that keeps coming up over and over. What do we do? Could you ever see yourself telling students and telling them in public, on the record, "I don't mean to speak ill of Dancer X, but in good conscience, I don't feel she is a competent teacher"?
    The minute we do this, we risk becoming the subject of a Bhuz post by Student that says "My teacher doesn't want me to study with other people."

    We've all seen those posts and flocked together to defend the student's right to study with whomever she chooses -- but what we don't often take into account is that the "other teachers" might completely suck, and her teacher is trying to warn her away from them.

    I've had two students ask me about a particular local instructor, and I've had to be careful when I explain that why I recommend other instructors over that one. I can't just say "Oh that one is an idiot." I have to explain about actual experience, musicality, cultural awareness and appreciation -- and how some instructors work very hard to be the best fountain of knowledge around.

    Will that still come across as jealous h8ter? To some students, maybe. But I cannot and will not recommend an instructor that I wouldn't personally have subbing for my classes.


    Could you ever see yourself telling Dancer X, "I would like you to improve your presentation before I'll let you and your students dance at my event"? Why or why not?
    I have actually heard some wonderfully polite versions of this, and I'm pleased as heck to know that yes, some event organizers do this. I only host small local haflas, and I will usually try to include everyone who wants to perform. If I were actually selling tickets to an event, I think I would have no problem informing certain people that "I'm sorry the show lineup is full." But I'm not sure I'd have the nerve to say "Practice for a couple of years and then ask."


  28. #28
    Established BHUZzer Anthea Kawakib Poole's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzana View Post
    Since you obviously have someone specific in mind, Anthea, and you're concerned about it, why don't you just ask her what she's teaching?
    My original post is asking why teachers don't teach down for beginners - ?
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  29. #29
    Advanced BHUZzer Karnak's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by anthea View Post
    My original post is asking why teachers don't teach down for beginners - ?
    I have witnessed my teacher neglect to teach down to beginners... when they decide to skip the beginner class and start in the intermediate course. Sometimes they realize they over estimated their natural talent and enroll in the beginner session instead.


  30. #30
    Master BHUZzer beafarhana's Avatar
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    Re: teachers who don't "teach down" for beginners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnak View Post
    I have witnessed my teacher neglect to teach down to beginners... when they decide to skip the beginner class and start in the intermediate course. Sometimes they realize they over estimated their natural talent and enroll in the beginner session instead.
    Sadly, they often don't realise it, though.


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