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  1. #51
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Shan -- several of the teachers I know make their primary income teaching in a university setting, so I'm not sure they'd agree with you that free classes at a college are a community service. I mean, if you take that to the extreme then shouldn't we have free classes in Arabic or gardening or algebra or any other subject students enjoy learning about? How about free college altogether?
    I taught belly dance at University of Wyoming and did not feel threatened economically or professionally by a bunch of sorority sisters teaching each other dance. A number of them became truly interested and ended up in my classes anyway. I have also seen free tutoring of students by students, which amounts to one-on-one teaching, in algebra, Spanish, and any number of other subjects. If the professional tutors in town have any problem with that form of college community service, I haven't heard about it. Personally, I think free college is a wonderful idea. It existed in California in the 1960s and 70s, but no more.

    The bottom line is the world does not owe us anything. Undercutting among professionals is- well, unprofessional- but for us to tell a college student that her efforts to expand her sister students' cultural horizons is ethically wrong is not acceptable. Approaching dance and teaching as a business does not guarentee us financial success and or freedom from competition.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  2. #52
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Correcting misconceptions and mis-learning is an important part of being a teacher; if a person doesn't want to deal with this, she might need to re-evaluate her career choice.
    I didn't say I didn't want to deal with it - I said it was much harder to change than a blank slate. And some students get very emotionally attached to some of that misinformation But more often they do nothing to correct it because they don't know they have a problem. They stay within their own self sufficient (and free) world sucking in passing students and redefining belly dance as something you do with a bare, pierced belly while communing with the goddess of free love and including a skateboard.

  3. #53
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Approaching dance and teaching as a business does not guarentee us financial success and or freedom from competition.
    I don't think it's entirely about freedom from competition. I think it's more about the perceived value to what we do.

    A commenter to this thread says "Personally, yes, I think it cheapens our product and lowers the precedent for other instructors if one or more people offers an ongoing session, gratis."

    That would be more my concern.

    Xela, the discussion has grown up AROUND your situation, but it's not really focused on you, so I don't want you thinking I'm directing any anger towards you and your situation. It's just that this is a topic that is coming up in conversation a LOT lately, and I do have concerns over what message we are sending to the public about the worth and value of our classes.

  4. #54
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    With regard to the original post , I watched those free lessons and they are short video clips used as a promo for a choreography DVD which is for sale. The clips are similar to those by Expert Village and others which are freely available on Youtube. So I don't quite know what the difference is, since there doesn't seem to be any objections to those free lessons.

  5. #55
    Member onela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post

    Shan -- several of the teachers I know make their primary income teaching in a university setting, so I'm not sure they'd agree with you that free classes at a college are a community service. I mean, if you take that to the extreme then shouldn't we have free classes in Arabic or gardening or algebra or any other subject students enjoy learning about? How about free college altogether?
    Personally, I think college *should* be free. I can't wait until we live in a world where knowledge isn't a privilidge, it's a right.

  6. #56
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I don't think it's entirely about freedom from competition. I think it's more about the perceived value to what we do.

    A commenter to this thread says "Personally, yes, I think it cheapens our product and lowers the precedent for other instructors if one or more people offers an ongoing session, gratis."

    That would be more my concern.
    And I understand that concern (I am a belly dance teacher, after all ) but I stand by what I've already said. Offering a good product to the general public that gets good reviews is more important to doing good business than is the kids at the college offering a free product to their peers. After all, you can buy a cotton sweater at one of the giant discount stores or you can buy a sweater at a more upscale establishment. One is cheap, the other is not. One lasts barely a season, the other lasts for years. Customers who care about quality are going to go for the more expensive sweater unless a) they simply cannot afford it or b)- well, I can't really think of a b unless we're dealing with some kind of sartorial masochist.

    Wow, another great discussion is going on! I love this exchange of ideas.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  7. #57
    Junior Member Crow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    And I understand that concern (I am a belly dance teacher, after all ) but I stand by what I've already said. Offering a good product to the general public that gets good reviews is more important to doing good business than is the kids at the college offering a free product to their peers. After all, you can buy a cotton sweater at one of the giant discount stores or you can buy a sweater at a more upscale establishment. One is cheap, the other is not. One lasts barely a season, the other lasts for years. Customers who care about quality are going to go for the more expensive sweater unless a) they simply cannot afford it or b)- well, I can't really think of a b unless we're dealing with some kind of sartorial masochist.

    Wow, another great discussion is going on! I love this exchange of ideas.
    If I may contribute my 2 pence, I think you've hit the nail on the head. The market's invisible hand usually takes care of any perceived unfairness.

    It an age old complaint: the mines are closing, there's too many immigrants taking our jobs, we have to protect our industry from predatory competition...

    In this world if your service is not worth what you charge for it, people are not going to buy it. If it IS worth what you charge for it, but there's too many people offering the same quality of service, then the price will deflate. Adapt, evolve, grow. If you don't offer something above the competition, you are going to end up last in the game. If you can only learn one thing from human nature, that is it. It's not pretty, but it's the reality.

  8. #58
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    I didn't say I didn't want to deal with it - I said it was much harder to change than a blank slate. And some students get very emotionally attached to some of that misinformation But more often they do nothing to correct it because they don't know they have a problem. They stay within their own self sufficient (and free) world sucking in passing students and redefining belly dance as something you do with a bare, pierced belly while communing with the goddess of free love and including a skateboard.
    I'm sorry, Kashmir, I missed this somehow. Just so you know, the statement about dealing with it was not aimed at you.

    Some people can be retrained, other people refuse to allow their slates to be re-written. I've had students who gathered their misinformation from well-paid teachers which I find more objectionable than those who stay in their own little worlds of belly dance free love skateboarding. (I love that image and tried to rep you for it, but must spread the love around first.) "Free" doesn't necessarily mean
    "incompetent" but I take your meaning.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  9. #59
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I see the other side of the coin, but I think everyone is assuming that the general public, or the "market" is going to assume that we DO actually have something OF VALUE to offer them, and then they will seek out the better teacher, and so forth.

    We all can recognize the inherent value of most products -- a shirt can be worn. A cake can be eaten and enjoyed. Wood furniture can be utilized and appreciated for its beauty, or burned in a fireplace in an emergency

    We recognize the value of many services too -- without the trashmen, what would I do with garbage? When I break a bone, I need a doctor to set it so it can heal properly. I appreciate and enjoy the pampering I get with a pedicure.


    Where we have a problem is when the product or service being offered has no perceived value to the public. Have you ever been watching late-nite TV and you see an advertisement for some ridiculous product and you think to yourself, "Who in their right mind would buy that?"

    I already know people who say "why on earth do you need to take classes to learn how to belly dance. You just get shake your butt. How hard is that?" The concept of taking a class to learn bellydance is as alien to them as the concept of taking a class to learn WALKING. So in their minds, there is no perceived value to a bellydance class.


    In my thinking, we need to start associating a higher perceived value for both belly dance classes AND performances. Seriously -- why the heck do we pay $275 for some guy to show up at a kid's birthday party in oversized shoes and garish makeup, just to make stupid jokes and blow balloon animals? There is a birthday-gram service in my town where for $250 you can hire a pretty woman in lingerie to sing Happy Birthday to the client. People don't blink an eye at paying for a clown, or for a woman in lingerie to jump out of a cake, but they can't understand why I won't do a full show for them for $25.

    Is it "fair" that a pretty girl in lingerie who sings "Happy Birthday" has a higher perceived value than a trained dancer? No. But I think we do it to ourselves when we don't take into account that we are selling a product or service with no inherent value, only a perceived one.

  10. #60
    Junior Member XelaHayam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onela View Post
    Personally, I think college *should* be free. I can't wait until we live in a world where knowledge isn't a privilidge, it's a right.
    Me too! Haha - yeah coz even though we get all these "free" opportunities, we have to pay a butt-load in tuition to even have access to it! Econ 101: there is no such thing as a free lunch you end up paying for it one way or another, lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    "Free" doesn't necessarily mean
    "incompetent" but I take your meaning.
    Haha, you managed to say that way better (and shorter) than me. lol. I need to learn how to a) not take things so personally, and b) talk less =^.^=

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