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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Default Does this teaching philosophy sound shady?

    "To be able to teach, mainly at low levels, it is not necessary to be a great dancer. Being able to dance at a higher level than the one you are going to teach is always more than enough."

    Amazon.com: Belly Dance: The Teacher's Book: Methodology, guidance and didactic resources (9781450507479): Amaya Felices, Maria Falces: Books


    I know nothing about her, or her book. I have ordered it though, and will provide a review when I receive it.

  2. #2
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    In my experience it's less about the dance skill & more about the ability to communicate & demonstrate effectively.

    I'm not sure I agree with the author's philosophy at all.

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I have to disagree -- in part, I think. At least about being a good dancer.

    I do not believe that a person can be a good teacher without also being a good dancer.

    That's kind of like me offering to teach guitar lessons. (I am barely more than a beginner.) I can teach you some chords, but my own weaknesses include: reaching fingers into complicated chord shapes, transitioning between chords, keeping a consistent tempo, finger-picking skills in general, reading the bass line, being able to play with any dynamics, etc. There is NO way whatsoever that I could adequately prepare a beginning guitar player for future lessons. More importantly, I'm quite likely to encourage that student to develop seriously bad habits that might take years to unlearn.

    Thinking that a teacher only needs to have SLIGHTLY more experience than her students is what has degraded our dance. If you aren't good at something, why on earth would you teach it????


    I understand completely the difference between knowing how to do something and teaching another person how to do that thing. I also understand that there are certainly guidelines and suggestions on teaching adults that are not subject-specific. (Like learning of the various intelligences, modalities, teaching theories and so on.)

    But I certainly don't think that even if you have a PhD in TEACHING, you only need to know a little bit more than your students do IN THE SUBJECT MATTER. I know a heck of a lot about music and ballet, and I played the clarinet up through college. That absolutely DOES NOT qualify me to teach someone to play the saxophone or to train them in Irish step dancing.


    eta -- let me rephrase that. I would NEVER trust a ballet teacher who had never performed, or who had only taken a couple of years of ballet classes. She would have no idea what actual performance dance is like. Also she probably wouldn't understand the purpose of some of the training. Theory and practice are often radically different.

    Do we disagree? I know we've had the "do I have to be a good dancer to be a good teacher" thread before, but I can't find it.
    Last edited by Aziyade; 12-03-2010 at 10:02 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LadyLoba's Avatar
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    As a beginner, I would not be comfortable going to a teacher who thought like this...I think you need a high level of skill in whatever you're going to be teaching AND teaching skills themselves.

    Somebody who was just slightly better than you could help you....if I got to take a belly dancing class, and was placed in a Beginner II class, somebody who just finished that class and was in Intermediate Belly Dance could certainly tutor me..but I would want someone advanced in the art form to be doing the actual teaching.
    Last edited by LadyLoba; 12-03-2010 at 10:07 PM. Reason: correcting the grammar...

  5. #5
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    I sort of understand her philosophy but I don't agree with it. I think to be the best teacher you need to know your material, know how to present the material to a variety of learners and know how to monitor a student's progress. If someone is barely above their students, the students will not have the opportunity to advance in the manner they should. I am a teacher so this is from my perspective as I work with students every day. Besides as far as dancing goes, we've seen too many examples of people who set themselves up to teach after having learned the basics.

  6. #6
    Senior Member LadyLoba's Avatar
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    Teela, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you're referring to another form of the "6 week wonder" I was asking about recently....

    We were talking about someone who, after taking one or two 6-10 week "Beginner" sessions declares herself a great dancer, and goes out there and gets hired to perform...I understand often for a lot less money than a truly professional dancer would charge...making it hard for the people who actually deserve the jobs to get them.

    But teaching was also touched on.....and I really would not want lessons from someone like this, even if they were advanced or skilled in another form of dance. I agree with Aziyade....I started writing fiction and non fiction as a hobby when I was 8 years old and kept at it as a hobby my whole life, until college when I started doing it for academic credit....and graduate school when I got a full MA in Literature and Writing, and then began to do writing tutoring, writing workshops, freelance journalism, and now more fiction and non fiction writing professionally....and I would still have absolutely no business teaching a poetry class or leading poetry workshops, because I have done next to nothing in that particular form.

  7. #7
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    "To be able to teach, mainly at low levels, it is not necessary to be a great dancer. Being able to dance at a higher level than the one you are going to teach is always more than enough."
    I haven't read the book, but the way I read this quote is that you cannot teach on a higher level than your own - which is true.
    Now, whether one always should teach anyone at a lower level, whatever lever one is, is another question. So is it when one dancer is good and mature enough to start teaching. I'm not going to answer these questions, as they will always be subjects to discuss.
    --
    Daim.

  8. #8
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    "To be able to teach, mainly at low levels, it is not necessary to be a great dancer. Being able to dance at a higher level than the one you are going to teach is always more than enough."
    I have to agree you don't have to be great, otherwise very few of us would have teachers! But I agree with what Teela said. Without a certain depth of knowledge and understanding you're in danger of teaching a pretty dumbed down version.

    The "levels" are the issue for me. Taking it to extremes it could mean the six week wonder is OK to teach what she has learned to complete beginners. From where I'm sitting her "level" is going to be pretty much indistinguishable from her students i.e. new beginner, but she won't see it that way - after all she can "do the moves" now, right...? Especially if her teacher has labelled the classes so you are intermediate after 6 weeks... she isn't a beginner anymore...

    (OK I'm feeling quite sorry for this hypothetical 6ww now - she doesn't know what she doesn't know, and her teacher and this book are enabling her... )

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    "To be able to teach, mainly at low levels, it is not necessary to be a great dancer. Being able to dance at a higher level than the one you are going to teach is always more than enough."
    Actually, I agree if by "dancer" you mean "performer". A teacher doesn't have to be able to physically dance much above her students - but s/he needs to understand the dance and be able to communicate it to the students. The easiest way for the physical aspects of teaching is to demonstrate with your own body. However, this could be done using another dancer or even video. Whatever means is used the teacher needs to understand how to create the movement and how to spot what difficulties the student is experiencing. Many "great" dancers cannot do this as they adopted the dance as easily as breathing and cannot understand why the students cannot do the same.

    If I had to choose between a naturally gifted great dancer with no understanding of how movement is generated, physical limitations, safety or teaching methodology, and a good teacher who has a grasp of the above but herself was a so-so dancer, I would always choose the latter for less experienced dancers.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    I agree with Kashmir. Often the best teacher for a beginner is one who is not naturally gifted, but has a great love for the subject, and struggled to master it.

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