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  1. #1
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Default Taking breaks is an important learning device

    For the past two years I've been incorporating a cuppa break into my classes & workshops every 45-60 minutes to give students time to recover, their brains time to rest & some valuable Q&A time. The following link shows that I have been on the right track with this (as does feedback from attendees & students)

    Taking breaks improves practice (Science Alert)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    That is so true! I always find that if I practice and practice something after about 3 run throughs, I begin to make mistakes - forget what i am meant to be doing & make a right mess of things LOL! I thought I was just weird & going senile, that I should get better with each run. OK I'll forgive myself now
    ~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)


  3. #3
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    I'm all for breaks but I think a break every hour is overdoing it. Depending on how mentally or physically strenuous a given activity is then it may be necessary, but for the most part I don't think belly dance in particular is neither physical nor mental enough to require that many breaks.

    But it sort of depends on what you consider a break. If it's just a matter of running to the back of the room, getting a few sips of water, and running back, this is something that should be allowed or incorporated into any class, even if it's just an hour long. Anything more (5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc) should only happen every 2 or 3 hours, IMO. I can't stand going to a 2 or 3 hour workshop that gets constantly interrupted for breaks. Especially when they say "only 5 minutes!" and then it ends up taking 15.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yame View Post
    I'm all for breaks but I think a break every hour is overdoing it. Depending on how mentally or physically strenuous a given activity is then it may be necessary, but for the most part I don't think belly dance in particular is neither physical nor mental enough to require that many breaks.

    But it sort of depends on what you consider a break. If it's just a matter of running to the back of the room, getting a few sips of water, and running back, this is something that should be allowed or incorporated into any class, even if it's just an hour long. Anything more (5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc) should only happen every 2 or 3 hours, IMO. I can't stand going to a 2 or 3 hour workshop that gets constantly interrupted for breaks. Especially when they say "only 5 minutes!" and then it ends up taking 15.
    True Yame, constant breaks could be disruptive and expensive if you're paying for a class/WS. In class we might stop to grab a few sips of water, the class doesn't actually stop, the teacher may be changing music or explaining something and those who need a drink will quietly grab a few sips.

    I just find that if we are doing a couple of hours full on practice of a choreo, after a few repeats I start to make mistakes and that is darn frustrating ( I think the brain/body goes into a meltdown mode), then I feel I need to break or change to something else for 5 mins or so.
    ~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
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I strongly disagree. I've had good (above average) retention in my classroom from people who admit to me that they don't practice outside of the once a month class. They are improving at a faster rate than the students I had in the weekly classes who practiced up to 3 hours a week in their own time. Does that alone not speak wonders for my method?

    The cuppa break is about 2 minutes of gossip (how are you going, what are your kids up to) while cuppas are being made, then it's straight into dissecting the class, covering anything that is unclear, etc. If people misuse the opportunity to recap whilst everything is fresh (including the questions!) that's their concern, but if you want retention you do need to relax & let it sink in.

  6. #6
    Member Janene Aliza's Avatar
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    Wow, that's impressive, Darshiva !!

    That definitely seems to be how it works for me -- once I've initially grasped a move and seem to be doing it properly, after a while I have to move on to something else.

    Also, when I was in school, some of my teachers suggested that if you don't remember the answer to a test question, skip it and move on to the next one (then come back to it later). You're brain will subconsciously keep working on that original question and you'll remember the answer (it really worked for me, too!!) Sounds like the same concept that you are describing.

  7. #7
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I think that's why there are so many different types of class, Janene. Some people learn really well with the cram method, but others work exceptionally well with the 'well earned holiday' method.

    Brains are funny things!

  8. #8
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I consistently forget to take breaks. My father was the same way; I suspect it is genetic.

    At least once during a 90 minute class I try to remember to say, "Go grab a drink of water" but most of my students manage to ward off dehydration on their own.

    Belly dance in the Rockies ain't for sissies.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

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    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    I read a study years ago that said after 45 minutes your ability to take in and process information decreased and after an hour forget it, paraphrased of course, so I can't say it's really anything new. I have noticed that just a 5 minutes break can make all the difference.

  10. #10
    Senior Member walladah's Avatar
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    Default Yes, it holds!!!

    And it holds in any learning activity, like learning a new language/skill, working on a research project, learning a choreography or playing the piano...

    Of course, as already mentioned here, a break is necessary if you are practicing regularly, i.e. every day. If you go once per week to attend a 1,5 hour lesson, without practicing at home, then what break from the activity do you want? the activity itself is a break...

    And actually, concerning dance, the breaks are even more important, because it is not only about neurons and brains to have some time to make their new connections and digest the new stuff. Our muscles and bones need also time to repair themselves, otherwise we get prone to accidents.

    THis is why everyday practice should not exceed normally the 2,5 hours... moreover, this is why when we work on a choreo or a new dance project, we need to have some time NOT to work on it!! [not to stop practice, but at least getting to work on other themes] because both bodies and minds need to accomodate themselves with the new stuff and this is not possible to be done when we keep feeding them everyday with the same food.

    Breaks are parts of learning process, sometimes of even re-defining our relation to the entire activity itself...

    A good friend had told me many years ago when i was complaining that depending on the conditions around and my own mood, i might not play the piano regularly as i was supposed to, so my technique was not advancing... "ok, you might lose in technique, but you gain in interpretation". Interpretation (ermeneia in Greek) means the expression of feelings and of the inner meaning of an artwork, and interpretation cannot be taught in art, it comes through maturity and personal development.

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