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  1. #1
    Member Ahimsa's Avatar
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    Default What qualifies you to teach...?

    I often wondered this and was faced with this when I chose to begin teaching myself... what qualifies a dancer to teach? It's not like ballet where there is a recognised system on teacher training, and I feel enables many to just 'start teaching' with no regulation!

    I chose to take a YMCA Level 2 dance to music teacher training course to ensure I taught safely however, I had no recognised qualification for the actual dance, often because each teacher has their own style.

    I'm interested to know what qualifications our teachers on here have, what one would expect a teacher to have, and current views on the quality of our teaching (particularly here in the UK). I for one, know of certain people who have trained for 2 years (from a complete beginner) and then 'chose' to go into teaching... this I find is appalling and think students deserve more than just learning a few steps. It should be a full and rounded education in the history and culture of belly dance alongside excellent technical skill.

    I look forward to your opinions,
    Sahara x

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Sahara- View Post

    I'm interested to know what qualifications our teachers on here have, what one would expect a teacher to have, and current views on the quality of our teaching (particularly here in the UK). I for one, know of certain people who have trained for 2 years (from a complete beginner) and then 'chose' to go into teaching... this I find is appalling and think students deserve more than just learning a few steps. It should be a full and rounded education in the history and culture of belly dance alongside excellent technical skill.

    I look forward to your opinions,
    Sahara x
    I'm ballet trained... so I had an idea of safety in warm ups, a good grounding in posture etc, and also I had a first aid certificate and knowledge of A & P. I started teaching after only a year of training... and at that time there were very few teachers around. I was at the same time working professionally as a dancer. My classes and workshops have been running for a long time and I've never had a student injured. I've turned out pro dancers and teachers from my classes. So, what does a person have to do to become a successful teacher?

    You cannot say a dancer must have xx amount of years in training before she teaches, because each of us learn differently. I learned very quickly, and I have a good eye for being able to learn from film footage and by studying a dancer's body. I also have a good ear for music and rhythm. In all this, I'm lucky. So is it so appalling if a dancer turns teacher after so little time? That depends...doesn't it?

    I know dancers who danced for over 7 years, and still cannot teach. And other's who did so, like me, in under a year and are competent teachers. For me, it was important to know everything, and I'm still learning. This is how it should be. If you are not learning any more,or think you've learned enough after 5 or more years, then this is not the qualifier for then becoming a teacher.

    A good percentage of good teaching consists of common sense, the ability to communicate well and have a giving and caring spirit.
    Last edited by Kharis; 01-03-2010 at 05:01 PM.

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Personally I had just a Teachers College Diploma when I started - I had done some dance teaching training in that but nothing significant. I also had 6 years MED and 8 years jazz and modern.

    After I started I did a lot of training in Safe Dance Practice and also completed a Certificate in Dance Teaching from the Queensland University of Technology. The Certificate in Dance Teaching actually required you to have already had some teaching experience before you could enrol.

    I would expect a teacher to have a reasonable amount of MED or BD training - say 5 years from a reasonable instructor - not Community Ed classes or entirely self taught from the internet or videos. I'd also expect them to have some teacher training - not necessarily in dance as it isn't always available - but basic teaching methology, learning styles etc. In NZ there are a good range of classes on teaching adults. Ideally they should also know some basic anatomy and kinesology.

  4. #4
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Hey, now, don't knock Comunity Ed classes into the same category as videos and self taught. I teach through the community rec center and am a "reasonable instructor" with thirty years of dance and teaching experience. Judging a teacher by where she teaches is pretty shortsighted.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    When I started teaching, I had 16 years of belly dance training which consisted of weekly classes over the course of that time with 9 different teachers in three entirely different U.S. states. I also had taken countless workshops over the course of that period, including about 6 or so Rakkasah weeklongs.

    Now, I'm not saying everyone must do all that before starting to teach. The main reason I didn't teach sooner is because prior to that I was in a day job that required a lot of travel, and there was no way I could commit to a predictable schedule of showing up every week to teach. After my job situation changed, I started teaching.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Hey, now, don't knock Comunity Ed classes into the same category as videos and self taught. I teach through the community rec center and am a "reasonable instructor" with thirty years of dance and teaching experience. Judging a teacher by where she teaches is pretty shortsighted.
    i'd like to weigh in on this as a long-time student...i've had 4 different instructors over a 3 year period. i think the best instruction came from teachers who considered their students' abilities first. some students over a certain age (me) are able to do certain moves quite well. some moves may result in injuries. new instructors should be required to take to take safety in movement classes. alas, some do not consider this....my 2 cents...

  7. #7
    Member Ahimsa's Avatar
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    I knew this would be an interesting topic for debate!

    I agree with you Kharis, that you cannot judge a teacher by number of years. This does not qualify anyone. Some learn faster than others. Some are great dancers but will never be good teachers. However, I do believe that there is a certain level of experience and knowledge one acquires through time and study that can be judged by x number of years. One would assume that someone studying for a degree would have studied for a minimum of 3 years, for example.

    The example I was using was that the person in particular had only had BD training for 2 years before embarking on her teaching path. There was nothing stopping her by way of regulation or qualification. As it happens, she had some nice moves but not nearly enough knowledge in my eyes to consider her a recognised teacher. But she was free to start up a little lucrative teaching business to unsuspecting students who were trusting what she was teaching was bellydance and that she could teach them safely. Was she insured? Did she have first aid? Did she have another teaching qualification? Did she have a PPL license? The truth is we don't know.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    I'm a trained "teacher" teacher, I danced for 4-5 years before teaching (on request from my High school pupils). A couple of years after that, I was asked to teach FE evening classes. I decided to do the Foundation course in the JWAAD scheme and also update First Response courses. Over the last few years, I found that colleges expect some sort of training in your expertise as well as teacher training.
    But IMO the most important to carry on learning yourself. So I go to festivals to workshops,attend any relevent visiting specialist Egyptian and Tribal workshops and and attend monthly Egyptian dance deveopment workshops. That is more important , I believe than formal training for any teacher.
    The teacher who stops learning, stops developing and shouldn't be teaching.

  9. #9
    Member Ahimsa's Avatar
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    The teacher who stops learning, stops developing and shouldn't be teaching
    .

    Very wise words lizaj

  10. #10
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Just as a matter of information (since I am still miffed about the community ed class remark), I am insured through the city, rec center staff have classes in first aid and cpr, my non-dance teaching experience includes exercise classes, creative writing at junior college and grade school level, plant breeding and agronomy classes at university level, and I am a nationally known teacher of needlework in my other life. The benefits of teaching through parks and rec are no overhead, no need to worry about insurance, very good facilities, a locker room and showers for the use of my students, someone else does the cleaning and upkeep and takes care of the money.

    I've had excellent teachers through community college programs and lousy teachers with big names and expensive workshops. My experience is not as broad as many of the OD members, but within my sphere of expertise, I teach what I teach well- and I do it down the hall from the basketball courts.

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