Ten top tip for primary dance

Top Ten Tips for Teaching Primary Dance

Dance in the primary school is fantastic – the kids are full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm, but sometimes it can feel a little like herding cats. So here are my top ten tips to make sure that everyone has an effective and enjoyable learning experience…

Don’t turn the music to a loud setting – if children are working with a partner or in a group they’ll need to talk… if they can’t hear each other the voices will just go up & up.

Comment on what you see – describing the actions and skills you see will help the children understand their movement vocabulary, but also be able to use the correct terminology when giving feedback to a partner.

Finding a partner – allowing the children to work in groups of different sizes will create greater variation in responses, but it will also support the less confident child.

Watch from the corner – you’ll see the whole room more easily.

Create a playlist of music for dance – these days finding music is easy, but there’s almost too much! When you find a great piece add it to a playlist – it saves hours in the long run.

Picking music – generally seek out instrumental tracks; lyrics can restrict interpretation. Music written for film scores is useful for topic based work as it sets an atmosphere or context. If there is a song you love then consider using the karaoke version.

Don’t join in too much – it’s lovely to engage with the children, but chances are they will simply copy whatever you do and not think independently. If you’re happy to move with them to get them going – then gently move to the side for them to take over.

Encourage variety – when you ask them to show you a turn, don’t stop at one – ask them to show you a different way… and another… and another… and another… it’s not until the fourth or fifth that you’ll start to get some real variety and originality

Gradual stop – when you want the children to move onto the next task don’t suddenly stop them… countdown from five to zero & gradually fade the music as you go – it’s easier on your voice & allows the children to finish off what they’re doing.

Smile lots – we model the behaviour we get back, so if you want them to enjoy the lesson and therefore be more engaged, then you need to show them how much you’re enjoying it (especially on those days when you’re not feeling it!)

Other tips can be found on Twitter @cpringdance #dancerteachertip

Primary dance resources are available ‘Simple Steps to Teaching Dance’ by Claire Pring from Millgate House Publishers, millgatehouse.co.uk or on the TES website ‘clairepring’.