dance done different revolutionising dance classes for inner west preschoolers, kids and adults.
WELCOME TO DANCE DOMAIN
One of my favourite things about being a teacher is that I’m always learning. Every day I’m finding out more about how to effectively build knowledge and engage students in a dance class. More often than not, it means doing things a little differently.
This last week I’ve been learning signs to help me communicate with one of my awesome little dancers. You will not find a bigger smile or a more enthusiastic dancer out there. She brightens up my Saturday each and every week but I knew there was more I could do to give her the best dance class ever.
So I asked her parents if they could help me learn a few signs so I could communicate with her more effectively and do so in a way that works for her. They sent through this awesome PDF with a few key signs that could be helpful in a dance class. Words like ‘hello’, ‘thank you’, ‘please’, ‘jump’, ‘look’, ‘listen’, ‘slow’ and ‘fast’. Simple words, simple signs, but the chance to make a big difference.
I set myself and my assistant, Aislynn, the goal of learning and using a minimum of two new signs into the class each week.
This last Saturday I got to use ‘look’, ‘thank you’ and ‘jump’… I also botched up ‘please’ and signed ‘thank you’ instead. Whoops! But I guess it is kinda like dance. It’s going to take quite a few tries and flops before I’m used to it and it flows easily.
I tell you what though, I’m kicking myself for not asking for these signs earlier. Just seeing her immediately respond when I signed “look”, or watching her engage and succeed at our little hopscotch activity when I signed “jump”… I felt so much more connected… and that was me! I’m hoping she felt the same too.
Aislynn and I are now keeping track of any other common words or phrases we use in class so we can learn those too. Currently “pack away”, “wait” and “your turn” are on the list. As we learn and use them, we hope that some of our other Pocket Rockets get to learn and use them too. And how cool would that be?!? A studio of kids who are able to communicate and engage with others in a way that works for them.
For any teachers out there, or even any students reading this, I encourage you to think about what little changes you can make to welcome others. It’s often the littlest things that can make the biggest difference.
Whether it’s using signs in class to communicate or using someone’s preferred pronouns, these little changes go a long way. They say “we see you, we want you to dance with us, you belong”. Little changes can make a big change for the better in our community.