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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Default How many weeks is your beg. session?

    I'm taking a poll:

    1. Do you offer your beginning classes in sessions or semesters? (set weekly amounts, like 4-week sessions or 6-week sessions)

    - If you offer classes in sessions, what's the best number of weeks for beginning classes? I've seen 4, 6, 8, and 12 weeks. What works for you?

    - Do you have a set syllabus for your sessions? Do you always teach the same things in your sessions, or do you vary what you teach based on how much you think the students are quickly picking up?

    - If you have a set syllabus (for example, a series of movements taught in Beginning One session, with a different series taught in Beginning Two) do you ever encourage students to RE-TAKE a session they've already taken, if it looks like they didn't really "get it" the first time?



    2. Do you have one on-going beginners class wherein you allow drop-in students?


    - If you allow drop-ins, how do keep the students who come every week from being bored when you teach the new students?



    3. Do you have multiple levels of ability in your classes? (Like beginners mixed with intermediates, or intermediates mixed with advanced students)


    - If you have multiple levels in class, how are you able to challenge the more advanced students while not intimidating the less advanced ones?


    4. Once you've taught the "beginning" stuff, what do you do with your intermediate students? Do you drill movements, teach choreographies, encourage some type of freestyle circle dancing, what? In other words, how do you keep the intermediates and advanced students coming back to class?


    I'm finishing up my student teaching and trying to figure out if I want to use the syllabus and format of my teacher or if I can improve on it by trying different things. So I'm looking for ideas about what works and what doesn't, especially for new students, but not quite beginners.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ranya's Avatar
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    what a great thread!
    I do have my beginners stricly separated from the advanced ones, at least those who have been studying with me from the begining. I always face a bit of a problem with students that come from other dance schools, because they may have learned something my beginners did not but at the same time may not know something that I teach them. But all in all I do not mix my classes and I do follow a "plan" that can be adapted to the skills of the actual class:
    In the beginner class I mostly teach basic movements and isolations, posture, hand positions, make an introduction to the history of the dance and some of the rhythms (baladi, saidi are more than enough for beginners), they need to start to feel the music, to know how to move on the "dum" and the "tak".
    As for intermediates, I do more difficult movements, layering, really perfecting the style and loads and loads of musical analysis (what is saiidi music, what is shaabi, "no you do not do assaya on a drum solo and a veil choreography on a typical saidi song with mizmar in it..etc" - that kind of stuff), I teach them all the basic rhythms used commonly.
    Once they are confident enough in their movements and can do it without looking in the mirror, they pass to the advanced group - that is where I start teaching with props...Some prefer teaching about a particular music style when teaching a particular prop. I prefer however to teach in advance so they already develop a feeling for the music and can connect with it more easily...learning veil or assaya and mostly sagat is sooooo much easier then. so my advanced group is not really divided when it comes to technique of movements and isolations and so on, but rather those who like to do veil, who like to do balancing, who like assaya etc.
    When I lived in Slovakia I did not do choreography but since here in France I do not own my own studio but work in a dance school with different dance styles in it and a big show at the end of the academic year, I guess I will do choreography...One level usually takes three months with one 1 and a half hour class or one 2 hour class per week. so 12 sessions. I think less is not appropriate unless the class is longer, but it can happen also when the group is very talented and gifted...
    that's how I do it

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Beginning

    Dear Aziyade,
    I will try to answer in context below.


    [QUOTE=Aziyade;19203]I'm taking a poll:

    1. Do you offer your beginning classes in sessions or semesters? (set weekly amounts, like 4-week sessions or 6-week sessions)


    A'isha writes- I offer my classes in beginning, which lasts about a year and continuing classes and speciality classes, which go into folkloric dance and other aspects of Middle Eastern dance not covered under the name belly dance.

    - If you offer classes in sessions, what's the best number of weeks for beginning classes? I've seen 4, 6, 8, and 12 weeks. What works for you?

    A'isha writes- I changed to the year long session because I did not find the shorter sessions to be satisfactory for what I wanted to teach and how I wanted to teach it.



    - Do you have a set syllabus for your sessions? Do you always teach the same things in your sessions, or do you vary what you teach based on how much you think the students are quickly picking up?

    A'isha writes- I have a class plan. With beginners, I stick very close to the plan, but in other classes, there are addendums and stuff that comes up that may not be in the notes for class. I leave a NOTES section on all continuing class hand outs.

    - If you have a set syllabus (for example, a series of movements taught in Beginning One session, with a different series taught in Beginning Two) do you ever encourage students to RE-TAKE a session they've already taken, if it looks like they didn't really "get it" the first time?

    A'isha writes- Yes. In fact, my continuing students often like to take the same material more than once, because the more they get, the more they understand how to approach things that we covered before. I have a series called "Exploring" that is a rotating series and many of my students like to take it more than once.



    2. Do you have one on-going beginners class wherein you allow drop-in students?


    A'isha writes- Yes

    - If you allow drop-ins, how do keep the students who come every week from being bored when you teach the new students?

    A'isha wrties- I explain to them that the more often we repeat the basics, the better they will begin to understand them. They agree.



    3. Do you have multiple levels of ability in your classes? (Like beginners mixed with intermediates, or intermediates mixed with advanced students)


    A'isha writes- I have only beginning and contiuing classes. There are multi-level students in all of my classes, but I discourage beginners from taking classes that are too advanced for them and I want them to stay in the beginning class for at least a year.

    - If you have multiple levels in class, how are you able to challenge the more advanced students while not intimidating the less advanced ones?

    A'isha writes- By giving individual attention and pointing out ways in which the movement can have more depth for those who are beginning to understand that movement is more than just movement and has musical implications, for example. Eech student learns at their own pace and my job is to keep it stimulating and rewqarding for each individual as much as possible.


    4. Once you've taught the "beginning" stuff, what do you do with your intermediate students? Do you drill movements, teach choreographies, encourage some type of freestyle circle dancing, what? In other words, how do you keep the intermediates and advanced students coming back to class?

    A'isha writes- My beginners learn fundamentals, variations, a short choreography, they start learning finger cymbals, they get a little schooling in rythms and musical styles, etc., and they learn a bit of veil work. My continuing students learn to explore movement and music in depth, they learn various folkloric dances, they learn to choreograph, they take more in depth music instruction and simply continue to build on what knowlede they got in the beginning year.


    I'm finishing up my student teaching and trying to figure out if I want to use the syllabus and format of my teacher or if I can improve on it by trying different things. So I'm looking for ideas about what works and what doesn't, especially for new students, but not quite beginners.

    Best wishes for a rewarding format!!
    Regards,
    A'isha

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Hi Aziyade, Miss Ya Girl! Good Topic! Here we go:
    . Do you offer your beginning classes in sessions or semesters? (set weekly amounts, like 4-week sessions or 6-week sessions)
    At our school we ofer two beginner classes;Beginner a and Beginner B. Each last 12 weeks and has its own curriculum and they are progressive in nature. The first class is basic moves with a short choreography at the end. The second class has more challenging moves, layering, music interpretation, emotional response, using releve and a longer choreography at the end. I have taught in the university and rec center settings for 6 week sessions and it really isn't enough time to learn much. At the beginner level most students are just having 'fun' so they are not required to take A or B over unless they want to. We also offer private lessons for those who wish to cement their knowledge.
    2. Do you have one on-going beginners class wherein you allow drop-in students?
    No we don't have a drop in policy, but we allow new students to enroll until the 3rd week of Beginner A. Students can bring their friends to observe a class. It just cuts down on the confusion for the student who is more casual participant since our curriculum is progressive.
    3. Do you have multiple levels of ability in your classes? (Like beginners mixed with intermediates, or intermediates mixed with advanced students)
    No we do not mix levels at our school. First, the curriculum or focus is different for each level and because students already learn at a different pace in a same level class any way. How would you like to take college level calculus when you barely know algebra?
    4. Once you've taught the "beginning" stuff, what do you do with your intermediate students? Do you drill movements, teach choreographies, encourage some type of freestyle circle dancing, what
    After 6 mos of basic instruction, students who are now addicted move to intermediate level. Intermediate lasts 1-2 yrs, these students are interested in performing at haflas, nsg homes etc. They are also investing more money in the dance,i.e. costumes, zills, veils . Intermediates focus on polishing up skills in beginner series. They learn to dance with props, deeper rhythmical analysis. At this level they are invited to attend workshops and attend performance class. Improv is encouraged at the beginning but let me tell you, at this point most still 'hate it'

    For Advancing students(such as myself) there are opportunities to dance at events sponsored by others, so in a sense the advancing students are in the school's troupe which is by invitation only.We are encouraged to create our own choreographies or choreos for the troupe, idependent study based on our own needs and serving as role models for the newer students.
    I know you're gonna be a kick-ass teacher(in a good way)Best Wishes
    Yasmine

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gia al Qamar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    I'm taking a poll:

    1. Do you offer your beginning classes in sessions or semesters? (set weekly amounts, like 4-week sessions or 6-week sessions)

    I teach all class levels in 6-week sessions.

    - Do you have a set syllabus for your sessions? Do you always teach the same things in your sessions, or do you vary what you teach based on how much you think the students are quickly picking up?

    I have a general outline for beginners and Intermediates as far as core elements and skills...how these are taught, the order in which they are taught and the combinations used to teach them vary. I always teach veil in every class level and session, but will add zills when I feel the beginners and intermediates are ready to add them. In short, good structured outline with lots of room for creativity!

    - ...do you ever encourage students to RE-TAKE a session they've already taken, if it looks like they didn't really "get it" the first time?

    In a broad sense...yes. Most students know when they need to repeat a session. VERY few take the beginner 6 weeks and ready to move on to intermediate...ditto advanced. Most will stay for 2-6 sessions at one level before proceeding to more challenging level classes. I've rarely had to suggest that a student stay in or return to lower level classes.


    2. Do you have one on-going beginners class wherein you allow drop-in students?


    I offer a 'look-see' rate for one drop in class for new students so they can check out the class and see if it's for them. Otherwise, I don't like drop in students, I feel that they tend not to get the education that they need and slow down the rest of the class until they do...


    3. Do you have multiple levels of ability in your classes?


    I have intermediate-beginners in the beginner classes...some more advanced in the intermediates...but most are in the same skill level with different degrees of ability.

    - If you have multiple levels in class, how are you able to challenge the more advanced students while not intimidating the less advanced ones?

    It's fairly easy to assign a more challenging version of a movement to a more advanced student in a class. Adding arm movements while doing hip work...layering shimmies over slides...stuff like that...

    4. Once you've taught the "beginning" stuff, what do you do with your intermediate students? Do you drill movements, teach choreographies, encourage some type of freestyle circle dancing, what? In other words, how do you keep the intermediates and advanced students coming back to class?

    Definately start to challenge them with prop skills, combos that show ways to transition from move to move, layering...new challenges! At the advanced level, I begin to offer performance opportunties, such as hafli and showcases etc.


    Thanks!

    You're very welcome!
    Gia
    Last edited by Gia al Qamar; 02-02-2007 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Original color choice for font was un-readable!

  6. #6
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aziyade View Post
    I'm taking a poll:

    1. Do you offer your beginning classes in sessions or semesters? (set weekly amounts, like 4-week sessions or 6-week sessions)

    Since I teach through parks and recreation, I have no choice on how long my sessions are. They have ranged from a four class session to the current sixteen class session. All have their good and bad points. I dislike the four class sessions because they generally include all levels of dancers, and I find this very difficult to deal with. I have convinced the rec center to not do this to me anymore. I also teach one private class, all beginners, and it is an ongoing thing, basically for a group of women who do it as a girls' night out.



    2. Do you have one on-going beginners class wherein you allow drop-in students?

    No drop in students, thank goodness. That would make me nuts.



    3. Do you have multiple levels of ability in your classes? (Like beginners mixed with intermediates, or intermediates mixed with advanced students)

    My rec students are all what I would categorize as beginners, from rank never done it befores to beginners with some experience (I suppose they might be considered intermediates...) My continuing class has multiple levels, but those levels aren't so far apart as to render classes difficult.

    4. Once you've taught the "beginning" stuff, what do you do with your intermediate students? Do you drill movements, teach choreographies, encourage some type of freestyle circle dancing, what?

    I move on to more difficult movements, layering, perfecting what has already been learned. I start my students out dancing together and for each other from the very first class when they learn to walk, and we build on performing skills from there. I know some teachers feel that this is too hard on shy students, but it has always been done in my classes to the sound of giggling, which loosens everyone up and puts them at ease with each other. I also teach some choreography, which is a personal challenge for me since I do not like choreography and am an impromptu dancer myself. But we build the choreography in class, piece by piece, with input from the dancers, so that it is a group effort and they learn choreography at the same time they learn to dance as a group.
    I hope this made sense and didn't ramble too much.

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