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Dance in Education Affirming its position and place

Personally, I believe it is all down to students’ aspirations to achieve and possess the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding of the dance practice engaged in.

 

Dance in Education Affirming its position and place

So, who am I in the first instance? I am John and I teach the students on the BA Physical Education and Physical Education with Outdoor Education Degree. If you wish to see where I come from, my home and my schools, please have a look at the link - https://youtu.be/TlonNsAyJM8.

At Leeds Beckett University, I teach dance and strive to include and motivate as many students as possible in their dance experiences. In the short time I have with my students they encounter as  much dance practice as possible. Throughout the delivery of this dance content I prefer to teach theory through practice. For example, first year students receive four different themes of dance as part of a core module. Adopting this approach means we can focus on moving and at the same time begin to explore the theory underpinning this. In the second and third year, students elect to participate in dance. The two modules are available, one in each year and these support progressive and developmentally appropriate Dance in Education practices. As part of these modules students work with a variety of age groups, depending on their career choices. As a consequence, all students are engaged in as much cross-curricular, collaborative and creative practice as possible. The culmination of students’ participation is their teaching of delegates from across the country and young people attending the Bi-annual Dance Professional Development Day at Leeds Beckett University.  Do have a look at the most recent advertisement for the students’ teaching, “Shakespeare with a Twisthttps://youtu.be/4b11mKfJfkY. The students are especially proud of the way in which the theory and practice from the dance modules support each other on these days, particularly with our students enabling delegates to learn more about the nuances of dance practice. Through these modules our students are developing their confidence and then using this to make others feel more comfortable about dance. 

Probably, one of the best ways to reflect upon the two modules is to consider what the students feel about their experience in dance. One of the elements of dance, which is particularly important, is the stereotypical approach that sometimes stigmatises male participation. The link below offers an insight about the inspiring accounts from some male physical education students https://youtu.be/xiCVjZZgs4w. Similarly the written reflections below provide a sense of the students’ personal attainment and achievement:

The dance education module has provided me with experiences I will never forget. I have been able to improve my knowledge in regards to using the correct teaching style, being able to cater to the needs of all young people and to appreciate the importance of health and safety. I have been able to increase my confidence levels whilst teaching various age groups and from that, I believe that I personally, as well as academically, benefited a great deal from this module.

The whole experience of this module has taught me a lot, such as the importance of Health and Safety, Feedback, in multiple ways, to aid progressions of the children and myself. Knowing the characteristics of the children to influence the best teaching styles to create high quality, inclusive lessons. I have grown personally and professionally, with many key aspects taken forward into my future career. Key aspects will not only be used for dance education, but also transferred into other areas and activities. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed the module and feel more knowledgeable and confident.

Dance is an integral subject within Physical Education and contributes positively to schools and as part of undergraduate and post-graduate courses. It is reassuring to know that students from Leeds Beckett University, who engage in the dance, can think outside the box, embrace the subject and understand its value.

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Dr John Connell

Dr John Connell is a Senior Lecturer in Sport.

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