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  1. #1
    Member Mariyam's Avatar
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    Question Weekly or monthly lessons?

    I was wondering what you prefer as a student, or recommend as a teacher:

    - weekly lessons of about 1 hour each
    - monthly lessons of about 4 1/2 hours (with breaks, obviously)

    I'm doing weekly lessons at the moment, but I'll be starting a series of 10 monthly lessons next month. I sometimes get the feeling during the weekly 1-hour lessons that time is flying so fast between warming up and cooling down, that there isn't much time left for the actual lesson. While the monthly lessons, even though they are physically more demanding, leave much more time to learn choreographies or a new skill (like zills, cane dance, etc.).

    What do you think? What is your experience as a student or as a teacher?

  2. #2
    AFK Moderator ~Diana~'s Avatar
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    I've done workshops that long but have never seen classes offered that long. I can only see hardcore learners who would want to and could last through a class that long. Beginners, no way. People can only learn so much in a time period but having only 1- 4 hour class a month leaves more time for people to forget things between classes, drop out as they lose interest, miss a class if something else falls on that one day a month, as well as not allowing them to ask follow up frequently because the classes are spaced so far apart.

    If you wonder about time, ask your students who are taking your class now. Ask them if they think the 1 hour class is good and what they think is good. Ask them what they would change about it. Might be that you need to shorten the warm up and/or cool down time.

    My question is how many 1 hour classes are included in a session? It's very typical here to sign up for an 8-10 week class with 1 hour per week.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1. Beginning dancer. Knows nothing.
    2. Intermediate dancer. Knows everything. Too good to dance with beginners.
    3. Hotshot dancer. Too good to dance with anyone.
    4. Advanced dancer. Dances everything. Especially with beginners
    .
    ~ Attributed to Dick Crum, a folk dance teacher ~

  3. #3
    Member Mariyam's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input! Well, I'm a student and not a teacher The only teaching I've ever done was showing a few moves to work colleagues!

    I've had a taste of both formulas before. A few years ago, I was following weekly classes with a teacher, and then monthly classes with another. I noticed a big improvement in my technique during my weekly lessons, after doing a monthly class. And I enjoyed the "workshop" formula. Each lesson was mostly dedicated to one aspect of the dance. So I guess I am in favor of monthly classes to complement a weekly lessons regime. But then again, I'm a hardcore student, obsessed with bellydancing However, a student could very well just sign up for various workshops instead, and obtain a similar result...

    I was just curious to hear what others thought!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    I did similar to you once. Two weekly classes (2 hours each) and one monthly class (4 hours). I liked the long class because we had time to go in depth with some things. It was a performance themed class so we learnt some short choreos and then used them as tools to practice various performance issues- Like in a restaurant setting or stage setting etc. We also got homework, improvised a lot, created own choreos and performed for the rest with feedback etc etc. All in all it definitely was mostly great. Noone in the class had problems lasting all 4 hours. The downside is that if you are ill that day or not able to come, you go two whole months without a class.

    I would not want to change my weekly classes as that is where there is continuity and where I get pushed further regularly. However, I think one hour is way too short. I prefer at least 1.5 hours of actual training to get into it. (I do realise though that it is not always possible to get)

  5. #5
    Member Mariyam's Avatar
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    My current weekly classes just last 1h15 and I am still "hungry" when it ends But it's the only classes I've found that were 1) in my area, 2) within my budget, and 3) on a day that I was free to take classes. I might venture to surrounding cities next fall, but since I'm returning to taking classes after a break of about 3 years, I didn't want to be too picky. Plus I really like that teacher

    My monthly lessons start in about 3 weeks, and I'm pretty excited It's a follow-up on the first series of monthly classes I did a few years ago. First I wanted to do the "beginners" version again, because of my long break, but my teacher convinced me that I would quickly pick it up again, so I signed up. We're going to do a bit like what you said, Gisela: choreos, with some homework in-between classes, performance in front of the rest of the class for feedback, etc.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mariyam View Post
    I was wondering what you prefer as a student, or recommend as a teacher:

    - weekly lessons of about 1 hour each
    - monthly lessons of about 4 1/2 hours (with breaks, obviously)
    I don't recommend the 4-hour approach, for several reasons.

    • The benefit of weekly classes is that the teacher can evaluate students more frequently, and correct errors more frequently. If a student has been practicing something incorrectly, it's better to discover the problem and correct it as soon as possible. After a month of practicing something incorrectly, it will be more difficult for a student to un-learn the error.
    • Adults usually find their brains saturated after 3 hours of continuous study. Anything longer than that, and they will have difficulty retaining what they have learned.

  7. #7
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    I'd prefer a mix as well, not one instead of the other, as they would complement each other. Weekly classes for continuity and regularly feedback, monthly mini-workshops to get a more in-depth knowledge of certain topics you don't get in the weekly classes.
    --
    Daim.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    I don't recommend the 4-hour approach, for several reasons.

    • The benefit of weekly classes is that the teacher can evaluate students more frequently, and correct errors more frequently. If a student has been practicing something incorrectly, it's better to discover the problem and correct it as soon as possible. After a month of practicing something incorrectly, it will be more difficult for a student to un-learn the error.
    • Adults usually find their brains saturated after 3 hours of continuous study. Anything longer than that, and they will have difficulty retaining what they have learned.
    This would be me. After working full time all day, my brain starts to turn off after about an hour and a half. For a four hour workshop, you need about a half hour to an hour break.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greek Bonfire View Post
    For a four hour workshop, you need about a half hour to an hour break.
    And even with such a break, 3 hours of learning time in one day is still pretty much the saturation point. People's brains become fatigued.

  10. #10
    Senior Member walladah's Avatar
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    Default It depends!

    First the level of the students: it needs to be really advanced to learn with monthly lessons...

    Second, the extend of commitment of the students: monthly lessons need lots of regular practice afterwards, to "learn" the skills...

    Third, the teaching method and the teacher-student cooperation agreement: actually, monthly lessons are more of the project type, not of the learning at own pace type. The teacher need to have very clear view of what she/he is teaching and the student to have clear view of what she/he wants to learn. The agreement needs to have specific project aims, f.ex. at the end of the lesson series, the student will be able to dance with props, or Egyptian raqs sharki style, or... something very concrete...

    this is why advanced students can access such type of learning: you need to know what you need to know to attend such lessons...

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