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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Default Student motivation

    How can a teacher motivate students to do more than just come in for a fun social class once a week? How can students be encouraged to be serious about learning this dance? Is this the teacher's job or the student's?

    Is it a "lead a horse to water" thing?

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    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    In the class I'm currently taking, I notice that attendance is most populous and consistent when we are working on a choreography. I also notice that attendance drops off when we consistently go over the same moves, with nothing new brought to the table.

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    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Is it because you are afraid you will miss something and fall behind, or is it because you are motivated to learn something new?

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    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    I think either the student truly is dedicated or she/he is only there for fun, and most who come for fun won't really change. I think it is the student who has to feel the pull to understand and seek further knowlege, It won't hurt to try to add more understanding and maybe one or 2 will feel the urge to become more involved.

    In one of my classes 4 of us a dedicated and never miss unless ill or some other extenuating circumstances and it has to be something that makes it absolutely impossible to attend that class. 3 others come and go, they never dance at performances, always there is an excuse, we don't worry about them anymore. Then there are those who come for 2 or 3 classes then just disappear.

    I am the only one in this class who seeks to understand the dance inside out and to get a real grip on the music, but the other girls are very dedicated but sadly ( I think) don't feel any need to understand historically the dance or music.

    The same goes for my other class, 2 of us are totally dedicated the several others don't attend regularly, so much so the class this year is about the 2 of us, and our teacher continues to run it because we have been with her for several years and she has a beginners class where everyone else is directed too. If someone came along and proved to be dedicated and has similar experience to us she would see if they wanted to join our class otherwise we kind of have a private class This teachers studio is in her own home and she just loves to teach us so we are very lucky. This teacher, my class colleague and self all went to Egypt together so we have that extra tie as well.
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  5. #5
    Member Jujube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane View Post
    Is it because you are afraid you will miss something and fall behind, or is it because you are motivated to learn something new?
    I think the better attendance is due to both. (Though I am one that very rarely misses class and also takes private lessons.) After we do our hafla performance, attendance will bottom out for a two or three weeks, and when we start the next choreo, it will go back up. Maybe it motivates people to have a goal or end-product in mind.

  6. #6
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    I think our attendance has gone up since our teacher went over to short courses paid in advance rather than drop in. Things used to drop off through the year and the intermediates class was always on the verge of not having enough people to run. Now people are motivated to turn up because they've paid, and there's less repetition because a) people turn up, and b) there's the focus to finish the course in however many weeks. It has really helped keep things moving, IMO.

    The short courses keep things fresh, the levels have had a mix up because these were open to improvers and intermediates, so everything feels more sociable, if that makes sense.

    But I think there is a fair amount of "lead a horse to water"... - I think you just have to keep feeding your student base with beginners to gradually build up numbers of dedicated and more advanced students.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gia al Qamar's Avatar
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    In my case, I find that my own enthusiasm for my work is what keeps students engaged. Going over 'core elements' can feel tedious to a student who may think that she (he) can do it all in her (his) sleep.
    When I demonstrate a hip circle, for example, to a group of new students in an established class, I will challenge the more intermediate students to add new arm movements to the circle, to try it layered with another movement, or to balance something on their heads...in other words, keep it fresh and interesting for each student!
    On the other hand...you come to realize that some students are having an affair with Middle Eastern Dance and others have truly fallen in love. Those who are in love wouldn't miss a class if their lives depended on it...the others are a bit more casual and can be expected to be less devoted...

  8. #8
    Member Chani's Avatar
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    As a student I would say encouragement to progress and take the dance seroiusly for beginner students is good but if you push some who aren't confident you might loose them as students altogether. If I had been required to perform early on I probably would have dropped out. I think you can expect more though from the higher level students than beginners but even at that level sometimes there are other factors such as family commitments that prevent a dancer being as devoted as they might otherwise be. I like a school that has a separate performance class for dedicated dancers and technique class for those wanting to drop in and not have to perform.

  9. #9
    Member Nebetmiw's Avatar
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    My first lesons I remeber well. Our teacher during each class gave us new moves but also talked history with us. One thing I thought was truley great she showed a short video of top egyptian dances. This was so inspiring and motivating. I think some students actually that were there just to exersices changed their mnd about the dance and became more serious. Maybe something other teachers should do more of in beginner classes/

  10. #10
    Member Pleasant dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    I think our attendance has gone up since our teacher went over to short courses paid in advance rather than drop in. Things used to drop off through the year and the intermediates class was always on the verge of not having enough people to run. Now people are motivated to turn up because they've paid, and there's less repetition because a) people turn up, and b) there's the focus to finish the course in however many weeks. It has really helped keep things moving, IMO.

    The short courses keep things fresh, the levels have had a mix up because these were open to improvers and intermediates, so everything feels more sociable, if that makes sense.

    But I think there is a fair amount of "lead a horse to water"... - I think you just have to keep feeding your student base with beginners to gradually build up numbers of dedicated and more advanced students.
    I tend to agree about the paying up front, although it can be very difficult for some in these hard times. Does help motivation, though.

    But I think your last point about feeding the student base with beginners is very true. The ones who stay over 1 year are usually those who are hooked and tend to stay, even if they have to leave class for personal reasons for a while - they come back eventually.

    I think if a teacher really loves the job of teaching and is passionate about the dance itself - that is the real inspiration for many.

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