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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Default Student Attrition

    Hi Everyone, I have a question for the experienced teachers on the forum,but certainly students are free to answer as well. What do you think is the major reason students quit dance lessons?
    My teacher and I often have this discussion, to help us guage the effectiveness of our teaching often we realize it has a lot to do with the students themselves. We teach a 12 week curriculum and about the 4th or 5th week students begin to drop off.
    Here are some of our observations:
    1)It's time to pay again for the next session of classes. Many of our students can't afford to pay for 12 weeks up front.
    2)It's a lot harder than they thought. Many of our students are non-dancers, and it's about this time they are incorporating arm movements in addition to hip moves.
    3)Low self-esteem/confidence. The student is constantly disparaging themselves even when they are doing well.
    4) Real life interrupts dance classes.
    For our brand new beginners, we focus more on posture(really hard for them), basic moves and "listening" to the music than on the performance aspect.
    Do you guys have anything else to add?
    Yasmine

  2. #2
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    you are getting it from a students point of view. I'm approaching it from changing teachers rather than actually quitting my dancing.
    1. I got tired of class being of only learning a routine for the student show. You didn't move up until after the student show if you learned the routine well enough.
    2. An intermediate class went from the teacher sharing things she'd learned at workshops to a hi, we'll only do choreographies and we'll perform them. If you were unable to perform, you sort of got put off to the side and did it but not as part of the group.
    3. I finally got a teacher who had studied in Egypt and knew the style i wanted and I moved out of state.
    For right now, the only reason i am unable to take regular lessons is my remote location and I try to take lessons in the summer when i am near a teacher.
    My daughters quit because their interest in dance changed focus to something else, and for one, her work schedule interfered. I think transportation also became an issue.

  3. #3
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    I've seen this in every class I started *and finished I might add * - the people I've seen quite have been divided into reasonable pauses i.e., changes in schedule, moving and having health or pressing stuff come up unexpected.

    Then there are the ones who join class to be "sexy" they find out quickly that everyone else is there to sweat and learn in a decidedly unglamorous manner and is NOT into it to be sexy except for an added perk. Those students will find another way to fit their needs and aren't usually interested in dance.

    The next and unfortunate group are those that really want to learn but feel they are in so far above their head they will never get it. These could probably really benefit from a lot of feedback from other students and the teacher in terms of how you have to be able to go through feeling like a klutz or worse, especially if you don't already have a basic dance or movement background.

    A lot of times it takes months of taking class with the same group before anyone actually has a real conversation with each other; mostly because we are all into squeezing as much as possible into that hour and then in many cases the next class is already piling in.

    I've tried passing my own e-mail around to students and making sign up lists for contact left around so there is no pressure.

  4. #4
    Moderator Yshka's Avatar
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    Student's point of view again.

    I think I've seen most people quit because of financial reasons. At some point people can't afford to take classes anymore and leave.

    Then there's also health problems, and in only a case or two it's self-esteem issues.
    So far we've never had anyone in our school who came there to be 'sexy'. People get along really nicely, the atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed.

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    Hi Yasmine -- Just when I thought the top had been gotten to, another incredibly interesting thread!!!
    And may I give a few comments to add to really good comments from others, above, about why student attrition occurs in classes.

    Gabi and maybe Teela said it right in that some new beginners just find that dance while looking glamorous on stage and on TV etc consists of coordination, thought, physical demands and learning (like learning a language - just takes practice and real dedication) that they had not bargained for in the instant age of wanting to be a pro in the first lesson....

    I'd like to speak as a sorta intermediate student, from this perspective, and this is just what our city has (different places are different -- in the Bay area or areas where there are probably tons of classes to choose from , things would surely be different than in a small or mid size city).
    1. THe teacher takes any and all comers to the class and anyone can jump in at any time during the session and then the teacher often goes back to the very beginning for the benefit of the new person(s) and the others who have practiced hard to get beyond the basics get bored and frustrated, (other side of the coin - to make $ a teacher wants lots of students but if this is a serious study you can't go back in the lessons every few weeks or so and lose the momentum and interest for those who have been w/ the class for a long time.) That's one thing that would make me leave a class or look for another one -- not respecting different levels of student - beginner, int and advanced as most other dance styles, ballet have and stick to so classes have a somewhat measured pace to aspire to and achieve -- I am NOT saying I resent new beginners - not at all - it teaches me how much I have learned and let's me help someone else. BUT if it's all the time and you feel you are doing the same thing over and over the $$ of the class, finally you will question whether it makes sense to stay there....
    2. The teacher plays favorites. I have left at least one teacher because her "fave" and sometimes the "fave" is a fairly beginning student not as skilled as I feel I am and Whoa, this new fave (some of you know what I am talking about) suddenly gets to work w/ the teacher outside of class -- gets performance gigs etc and they are the best of friends - the rest of us are chopped liver??
    Even if it isn't one "fave" there is a situation in nearly every class where I am where the teacher has a troupe whose members are all; in the class and they get to perform - the rest of us are on our own and unless were to dig up a troupe on our own (and choreo etc pieces), are out in the cold. Again, it's up to them if they want to do that but that creates a two-tier student rank as those students who are in "the troupe" and those who may never be and are not included. Again,-- pls understand I am talking about people no more skilled -- they have performed a lot more tho and that is Why they are more skilled in performing, yes -- I'm just saying maybe the troupe rehearsals, discussions etc should be handled in a class or meeting SEPARATE from the class so that this type of division does not get emphasized and demoralize some students --

    3. My last comment to keep this w/in reason -- Um.......(Gee this one was really important and haaa my mind just went blank!!) -- May I come back later if I think what it was?

    Yasmine - I imagine these issues may not be at all what you have and could be the student was not that motivated etc (and wanted to try BD lessons but it "isn't their thing" etc - you have to be a bit obsessed to really become good at it, I feel, and becomes part of your life AND your loved ones/family need to be supportive and understanding about it --
    Please understand I am sharing som eof this (which is actually hard to talk about - I don't want to sound whiny etc but some teachers seem to have no idea what effect their actions have on very motivated students (who are not the fave, in the troupe, etc) -- Ludy -
    Last edited by Ludmilla; 11-30-2006 at 11:09 PM.

  6. #6
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    .........NOt sure if this was the #3 item I was going to say above - but just another comment comes to mind - a pet peeve for me is classes that are -- or become -- really big. The intimacy and cameraderie/congeniality w/ other students melts away if you are bumping into eachother and have no where to dance with several feet around you on all sides to practice in, get a piece of mirror etc. That can make even the best teacher/class a frustrating and nerve wracking experience esp after stresses of work of the day etc -- you go to class to get away from that....
    I know we don't have private classes but a class with at least enough space for all the students that are there (and for me 6 - 14 students in the class is good and suitable -- seas of people - I just can't learn and someone ends up in the very back and probably can't hear, either.) -

    Yasimine - Sorry if I have gone way overboard but I have experienced all 3 of these problems w/ finding a class where I felt comfortable and happy. (some people may love this so much they can put up w/ all sorts of inconveniences or challenges but I need some level of convenience and welcome feeling, to learn. Perhaps you are asking about issues that have nothing at all to do w/ these factors I have said -- But thank you very much for giving me chance to think about why I stick w/ some classes and some just have more minusses than plusses...........I'm sure yours are fantastic and wonderful and I wish I could join today!!!!!

  7. #7
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Hi Yasmine - what an interesting question...

    Well I can only reply as a student, but I expect the 4-5 week drop out is people just deciding it isn't for them, for all the reasons you suggest. I'm amazed at the number of people who'll pay quite a lot of money for 2 terms of classes and quit after a few of weeks (so what did they expect a Spanish course to involve when they enrolled? duh! ). Though I can understand people finding bellydance to be not what they expected - people come along with very different preconceptions and reasons they want to learn. So there's probably some serious adjustment going on in those first weeks. Later drop outs are a different issue IMO.

    Seeing other posts now...

    Agree about classes not progressing - very frustrating. This is the only reason I ever dropped out of a pre-paid course...

    Favourites - haven't experienced this one yet, very unprofessional... . We're all paying for the tuition and the teacher's friendships and other projects are irrelevant and should be left out of it.

    Choreographies - good point Teela. It gets very boring for those who aren't in the show to practise as much as those who are in it need/want to. And having to "pass" the show choreography to progress, how depressing is that? Can't the teacher see who in the class is not quite ready to move to the next level then?

    A lot of times it takes months of taking class with the same group before anyone actually has a real conversation with each other...
    OMG I thought that was just us reserved English types!

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Thank you so much Ladies for responding! I appreciate all of your input and every word makes perfect sense. Teela, I personally don't agree with the push on choreography for "shows" and If I were a student in those classes I would quit too. Ludmilla, playing favorites in class is like playing favorites with your children , I'd quit that class quick,fast and in a hurry!
    Each time I start a new class, I remember what it was like the first ime I stepped inside a classroom
    As a teacher, it's hard sometimes to draw the fine line between gentle encouragement on an individual basis and over-correcting a student constantly. Sometimes it's better to allow the student time to "get' the move and offer genuine praise at the effort.
    So keep the comments coming, I think we can all learn from each others perspective.
    Yasmine

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    From what Iíve seen, itís usually a combination of lack of money and real interest. The atmosphere in class is pleasant and supportive, and our teacher is very good, but I live in a college town and lessons are kind of expensive for many here. This year the class seems to have shrunk in half since October. On the other hand, the instructor is teaching more classes this year, so it could be that people have spread out among the different classes.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mouse's Avatar
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    I've noticed classes here get smaller in the middle of winter when the weather is horrible and again in the height of summer when its really hot.

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