Tips for starting a AQA GCSE Dance Course
Danielle Humphrey, secondary dance teacher, gives her advice on starting a new GCSE Dance course
Before launching GCSE Dance at your school be sure to do your preparation, from a teaching perspective but more importantly for recruitment to the course!
Start promoting Dance as a thriving and important part of the school culture, ideally, at least a year prior to launching GCSE Dance. Run clubs, trips to performances, in school performance like a dance or talent show and enter local or national competitions. The more you can engage students in Dance and showcase student talent the higher the level of recruitment you will have for the course. These events will also feed through to parents. It is just as important to have the parents supporting the subject and understanding it’s academic and holistic underpinning. Sending postcards home and contacting parents about their child’s involvement and talents is crucial.
Get ready to teach:
You have the students but now you need to prepare yourself for the teaching part. Take part in a CPD course. There are lots of options available but remember that not all are official AQA courses, so choose carefully.
Join the GCSE Dance Teachers Facebook group or other networking groups. One of the best ways to improve your knowledge and get support is from other GCSE Dance teachers, particularly if you are the only dance teacher in your school, although bear in mind that this doesn’t replace advice that comes directly from AQA.
Consider the resources you will need to run the course effectively. Basics such as an appropriate space, sound equipment and changing facilities are essential. You will also need to be able to show online clips of the GCSE set professional works (AQA) to students so make sure you have the facility for this. The practical coursework (NEA) is now recorded live, marked by teachers and sent off to the exam board for moderation so a good video camera will be needed. There are few resources available for teaching the written component of the course. You may want to consider creating your own PowerPoint and workbooks or sharing resources with other GCSE Dance teachers ensuring the information is correct with the dance companies of the set works.
Planning can seem like a solo task but contact other teachers and use the board example schemes of work. Remember Dance should be a practical subject so try to teach the theoretical elements through practical experiences.
If you are struggling with the load, or want to give students an experience, you can get in professional set work dance companies or AQA itself to teach workshop days or deliver elements of the course, such as the set dance phrases. If the cost is too high for your school, consider teaming up with other local schools to share a practical day to help share the costs.