Creating a positive atmosphere in dance lessons part 3

Miss Howes, from Manor School Sports College Northamptonshire shares how she creates a positive atmosphere in dance.

To help with my students’ mental health I love to get them to watch videos of their work back over a period of time so that they can see their progression and reflect. I really find that this acts as a confidence boost, as often in the world that we live in and the influence of social media, it is hard for them to see the positives in themselves and these are often overlooked. I felt using student exemplars is just as powerful a tool as using professionals; it’s important to keep them grounded!

I also started something in my training year as a dance teacher to improve behaviour and confidence in my students, that has stayed with me until this day – the positive phone call home. Never underestimate the positive impact this can have on a student’s wellbeing and the rapport it can help you build together. I have students now who still speak to me about that positive call I made a long time ago that really helped to change their mindset. So fellow teacher I set you a task – can you make 3 positive calls each week over the next half term to see how it helps your students develop their mindset and wellbeing. My advice, I like to make them on a Friday after school as it’s such a boost for your morale too and a positive start to the weekend.

As a department we also feel it is really important to study relevant topics to support students’ mental health and confidence. For example, our KS4/5 dance company worked on creating a piece last year around the stigma people face when coming out and the importance of a support network for somebody going through this process. Students really connected with the piece and came together as a team to bring the story and reality to life.