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  1. #1
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    Default to challenge or not to challenge?

    How do people feel about challenging their teachers?

    Have you ever done it? if so, what was the situation?

    Do you feel it is not your place to challenge and you should remain silent?

    What are your general views on challenging?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    I haven't done so (I don't think), I have corrected a historical point, with one teacher and also asked her ( a couple of years ago) what made the style she teaches Egyptian, mainly because I felt what she teaches has some Turkish style. She told me the person who taught her, taught Egyptian style and had spent quite a bit of time in Egypt. I haven't challenged her as I fell that my knowledge is still being honed. Also a couple of years ago I knew even less than now.

    My other teacher is a Lebanese lady and her style is definitely a blend of Lebanese and Egyptian. This teacher's Mother is Lebanese and her father was born in Lebanon but his parents were Egyptian. Relatives from both sides were very much into folk dancing and actually performed locally in Lebanon. So I wouldn't challenge her LOL!

    If I was sure about something I may ask why about the issue, but don't think I would go so far as to challenge.

    How do I feel about challenging, I think if you are very sure about an issue and even have some way of backing up what you have to say, then OK, but I wouldn't do it in front of a whole class, I would speak with the teacher after class or something.

    ~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
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    At the beginning of any class I teach, be it belly dance or creative writing, I explain that I, like all teachers, teach from my own experience, taste, and preferences. I am not infallable, I am not the last word in style, I do not encompass all available knowledge. The idea behind taking a class is to learn all you can from a teacher, incorporate into your life what you can use, disregard the rest, and go on to your next learning experience.

    There is a certain kind of person who delights in challenging every other word out of a teacher's mouth. They aren't in class to learn but to indulge their egos. I don't get them very often, and they are more likely to be in creative writing classes than dance classes, but they make me tired and I generally end up asking them flat out why they bothered to take the class.

    Another kind of person approaches in private or politely requests recognition in class in order to offer a different viewpoint. I have no objection to this as it can lead to some very illuminating discussions.

    Myself, I don't challenge teachers unless they are obviously the sort of people who delight in fierce discussions (I had plenty of history teachers like this).

  4. #4
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    How do people feel about challenging their teachers?

    Have you ever done it? if so, what was the situation?

    Do you feel it is not your place to challenge and you should remain silent?

    What are your general views on challenging?
    I've never had reason to do it, and don't feel it's my place to disrupt the class, embarrass anyone, or generally be a pain in the proverbial. No one's paying for my 2 cents worth and I don't want to come over as a smart ass.

    Workshops and regular classes are a bit different. In a workshop I'd let it pass, or maybe ask a question if I was genuinely confused.

    In class, if it was a big issue like a gesture that I'd heard elsewhere that you should never do, or some piece of misinformation that I felt strongly about, than I might mention it out of class in an "I heard that this was... what do you think?" way.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    How do people feel about challenging their teachers?

    Have you ever done it? if so, what was the situation?

    Do you feel it is not your place to challenge and you should remain silent?

    What are your general views on challenging?
    I came late in life to dance classes. Before, I took lots of discussion-based classes, so it was natural to me to discuss movement origination and how movements feel during dance class. I did once tell a teacher that she was powering a certain move from the floor up while demonstrating, instead of from the hip as she was telling us we should. Now I would know better than to say that sort of thing out loud - dance class etiquette is different from regular classroom etiquette.

    I think that the intent makes a major difference. People who have questions/exceptions need to be sure that they can voice their views in a manner that seems respectful to everyone else in the room. If they can't pull that off, they should be quiet.

    I had a math teacher who would assign math problems to be done on the board, and encourage us to correct each other with the words "I challenge that!", followed by a (hopefully) more correct breakdown of the problem. After that approach, any more conversational examination of the topic at hand seems much less confrontational in comparison.

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    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    Have you ever done it? if so, what was the situation?
    I have never done it but I had a situation where maybe I should have done it. My teacher said the ladies dancing khaleeghy toss their hair to show their hair, while I A'isha Azar wrote on this forum they do it to mimick the movements of water plants and waves in the sea. I trust A'isha's explanation is the right one because she studied Khaleeghy in depth and didn't just take a few workshops in that style like my teacher did. I didn't "challenge" my teacher though because we didn't devote the entire class to khaleeghy and I guess I didn't really dare to do it at that moment since I haven't been studying dance for so long yet.

    Do you feel it is not your place to challenge and you should remain silent?
    I think it's maybe better to wait until class finishes and speak about it with the teacher in private than immediately do it in class itself. It's hard though when you haven't been studying the dance for a long time yet. There's many inaccurate information out there and sometimes I don't know who actually does have the accurate information. Remaining silent can leave a bad feeling though. Probably in most cases the teacher doesn't know she has inaccurate information and might appreciate it to be enlightened.

    What are your general views on challenging?
    It should be possible but as I said, preferably after class in private with the teacher.
    Last edited by Moon; 05-18-2009 at 07:11 AM.

  7. #7
    V.I.P. Caroline_afifi's Avatar
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    I do think this sort of thing is very difficult and there are various ways of doing these things.

    If you have a good relationship with your teacher then it is so much easier. People often say to me 'I heard this or that'...

    I also offer space for discussion as I feel tthis is a very important part of the lesson.

    There is often no wasy answer to this and each situation is unique.

    I have geard of some teachers being a bit nasty to students who dare question them and I think this is very sad.
    I dont think this is what teaching is about at all.

    I used to ask questions when I was a student and generally I had a very positive experience.

    The only time I didnt was in a Leila Haddad workshop at majma (many moons ago).

    I get on really well with Leila but she does not remember me as a student or biting my head off.

  8. #8
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    Belly dance teachers shouldn't be any different to any teacher. You never mind a student asking a question, challenging what might be a common held belief BUT it is all about the way it's done. You had no love for the kid who bawls out.."That's not right,miss" but you did for the one who said "I heard that.........., miss what do you reckon?"
    Many time..I've loved saying.."Let's find out..few things are rarely black and white"
    and wow betide either the teacher or student who tries to make a fool of their opposite.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    How do people feel about challenging their teachers?

    Have you ever done it? if so, what was the situation?

    Do you feel it is not your place to challenge and you should remain silent?

    What are your general views on challenging?

    it depends on how you challenge.
    i guess it is a matter of diplomacy. If a question is asked in a way that can allow the teacher to think or probably re examine whatever was taught then that is fine.

    what i find offensive is when someone decides automatically that they have the right to say what they know in a very authoritative manner, because it refutes what the teacher has said.

    always bear in mind that its a teacher. you can always learn something...

    i think it could be especially tenuous if it is an adult class.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Mya's Avatar
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    If i felt that for some reason I had information to the contrary of what was being taught and i wanted to discuss it, i wouldn't do it in front of the class. I don't think it's great taste to show someone up like that or to embarass them. i would ask her aside afterwards.

    I don't believe i ever did it with regards to dance in particular but i did it with regards to something dance related. Through no fault of mine it happened in front of the entire class, but i didn't do or say anything that i'm embarassed to say now, so no harm done. What was funny though was to see the whole class part like the red sea to get away from she who dareth challenge.

    I don't see anything wrong with challenging, so long as it's not done in a way that disrespects or embarasses anybody. I myself, like Shanazzie tell my students that i am NOT by any means all knowing and i encourage them to research and talk to each other and to me about what they find. I can't very well go and tell them that they can only talk about what they find if it matches what i've told them!

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