strathspey Archive: Teachiung Beginners etc

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Teachiung Beginners etc

Message 35037 · Ron Taylor · 24 Apr 2003 15:35:43 · Top

Well some very interesting replies so far, I particularly like the thoughts on "teaching methods" sent by Eric Ferguson, I wish I could teach in his Branch.

I am old fashioned so perhaps that's my weekness. I formed - together with my daughter - the Wirral Branch 20 years ago and we were determined to make it fun, sociable - and strictly teaching. We got quite a stern letter once from Miss Gibson when she heard that one evening we had a lot of laughs learning Elizabethan dancing from some visitors.

To all those overseas - we are an ageing, greying, dilapidated and worse for wear bunch of dancers, we have a small number of "dolly birds" who are out of mini skirts because they are in their late 40s or early 50's and we like a laugh - in fact I tell the class that if they haven't laughed then I as their teacher has failed.They like strict teaching

Now the Branch hasa general class which is 99% social dancing with instructions being read out - and numbers are dwindling.

I had the task of trying to rebuild another general class and I concentrate on teaching - including footwork. As an example this term we did every dance with the Tournee and concluded in getting it done to almost demonstration standards. Attmepts at set and link particularly with 3 couples were less than satisfactory to say the least.

However I get back to my original point - beginners who should NOT be in the class. They ruin every dance without fail and this results in others getting fed up - and in some cases leaving altogether. It is for this reason why I personally think that there should be some formal progression from one class to the next.

My objective is to get people to undestand re-caps We wanted to do The Irish Rover, 1st evening great. Two weeks later - hopeless. A few weeks later still hopeless. So I very carefully taught The Whistling Wind, they did it without a fault and I explained that bars 9 - 16 and 25 - 32 were identical to bars in the Irish Rover and I gave the class a printed recap of the Irish Rover and asked then to do it. The usual persons ended up in the entrance door , on the stage, did reels of 3 or 5 when they should have been 4,all this because of two or three people in three sets.

I rest my case!!!

Ron Taylor
RON29@blueyonder.co.uk

PS Have you got a vacancy Eric?

Teaching Beginners a la Caledonian Club

Message 35049 · Garth Martens · 24 Apr 2003 23:36:02 · Top

At our University group in Victoria (Canada), we have dancers of various experience: off-the-street-beginners to upper intermediate. It's fairly fast paced, a difference compared to the two community groups in Victoria (the Branch, and VanIsle). Of course there are pros and cons for either approach, but in my own experience, I find it tedious for every couple to walk "down the middle and up." Our University group isn't only for students, though - a few members of the community groups enjoy our style and regularly attend - some even claim to learn more!
Before our Univeristy group (Caledonian Club) started, there were maybe one or two active Scottish country dancers under the age of forty - and there's nothing wrong with being forty, may I add before the lynching begins - but for survival of SCD, it's important to rope in the young'uns. It was slow going for our group at first. Anita (our instructor) tells me how sometimes she would show up for the class and there would be three people. Now, however, we've become established enough to sustain ourselves, and even have our own niche in Victoria - especially on reputation of our ceilidhs, the brand of which isn't provided elsewhere.
I think it's important that there be groups with different styles. There are the "permanent beginners" who, nearing a century of life, can't take the faster pace that some of us prefer - and so what's a touch tedious for me, is crucial for them. Still, something to consider is this - many times, the "permanent beginner" might _think_ he or she needs the billionth walk through, but when push comes to shove, if they just trusted in themselves and went in smiling, it would turn out dandy for 'em.
It's a fine balance I suppose. Anita, who's the instructor for the Caledonian Club, doesn't dwell too much on the footwork (particularly if we have off the street beginners)... I mean, she shows us, and coaches the improvement of those who especially show willingness, but works at it with subtlety, and encourages us into workshops. Many of us also attend either of the community groups (although only two of us - myself included - have RSCDS membership).
We have fun - and those of us who want to work harder have the opportunity. With the influx of beginners we get every year, it's a lesson in itself to learn how to keep a set together with some chaos underfoot. Our group did for awhile have a nasty reputation of heuching too much (I was one of the original culprits who started the trend!) - and too much of a good thing becomes wretched - so thankfully we've become a tad more civil - : p
Anyway, I've rambled. I do enjoy some of the discussion in this group - toorah loora!
Garth Martens
Victoria, BC Canada
master_of_blarney@yahoo.ca

---------------------------------
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Teaching Beginners a la Caledonian Club

Message 35051 · Garth Martens · 25 Apr 2003 02:54:09 · Top

Yikes! Sorry about the lack of paragraph separation - I _swear_ they were separated before I sent them.... goes to show... you can't trust paragraphs.
-Garth

---------------------------------
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Teaching Beginners a la Caledonian Club

Message 35057 · Norah Link · 25 Apr 2003 04:41:53 · Top

And likewise for dancers who are "permanent beginners" because nothing else
has ever been asked of them. Yes, there is a place for the pop quiz, even
in SCD!

Norah Link (Montreal, Canada)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Garth Martens [mailto:midnight_strathspey@yahoo.ca]
> them. Still, something to consider is this - many times, the
> "permanent beginner" might _think_ he or she needs the billionth
> walk through, but when push comes to shove, if they just trusted
> in themselves and went in smiling, it would turn out dandy for 'em.

Teaching Beginners etc

Message 35064 · Helen P. · 25 Apr 2003 10:36:43 · Top

It's really quite simple:

If possible, everyone should be taught in a class at close to their own
skill level;

***BUT***

Everyone should dance together sometimes, even if it's just for the
warmups.

Isolation and being treated as "second class citizens" will drive basic
dancers away in droves. That will kill the group over time.

-- Helen (MD USA)
who adores the beginners, but
needs a good dose of elegant dancing, too

Teaching Beginners etc

Message 35069 · Marilyn Knight · 25 Apr 2003 14:39:12 · Top

I couldn't agree with you more!!! In fact, it's often, in a
quote-unquote easy dance,IMHO, that experienced dancers forget and must
depend on less-experienced dancers to give a quality cue. I began as a
'space-cadet firehydrant' for lots of private reasons. And, I have
threatened moments of relapse, again for private reasons. For these
reasons, I really love gently encouraging those brave souls who want to
learn in a 'safe, beginners' class environment'. Some people are quick
to judge in a rejecting way. In this world, we really do need each
other. For me, SCD etiquette at its highest level, exemplifies that.
My confidence can be really shaken, so I really never want to do that to
another gentle soul. My not-so-private war is against haughtiness and
rudeness, etc.....
Marilynn Latta Knight
On another soapbox on a dreary Friday
-----Original Message-----
From: Helen P. [mailto:leap@mindspring.com]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 4:50 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org; RON
Subject: Re: Teaching Beginners etc

It's really quite simple:

If possible, everyone should be taught in a class at close to their
own
skill level;

***BUT***

Everyone should dance together sometimes, even if it's just for the
warmups.

Isolation and being treated as "second class citizens" will drive basic
dancers away in droves. That will kill the group over time.

-- Helen (MD USA)
who adores the beginners, but
needs a good dose of elegant dancing, too

Teaching Beginners etc

Message 35070 · Pia Walker · 25 Apr 2003 16:16:59 · Top

But aren't we all beginners - we can always learn more and learn better!

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marilyn Knight" <MarilynnK@scchamber.net>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 1:39 PM
Subject: RE: Teaching Beginners etc

I couldn't agree with you more!!! In fact, it's often, in a
quote-unquote easy dance,IMHO, that experienced dancers forget and must
depend on less-experienced dancers to give a quality cue. I began as a
'space-cadet firehydrant' for lots of private reasons. And, I have
threatened moments of relapse, again for private reasons. For these
reasons, I really love gently encouraging those brave souls who want to
learn in a 'safe, beginners' class environment'. Some people are quick
to judge in a rejecting way. In this world, we really do need each
other. For me, SCD etiquette at its highest level, exemplifies that.
My confidence can be really shaken, so I really never want to do that to
another gentle soul. My not-so-private war is against haughtiness and
rudeness, etc.....
Marilynn Latta Knight
On another soapbox on a dreary Friday
-----Original Message-----
From: Helen P. [mailto:leap@mindspring.com]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 4:50 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org; RON
Subject: Re: Teaching Beginners etc

It's really quite simple:

If possible, everyone should be taught in a class at close to their
own
skill level;

***BUT***

Everyone should dance together sometimes, even if it's just for the
warmups.

Isolation and being treated as "second class citizens" will drive basic
dancers away in droves. That will kill the group over time.

-- Helen (MD USA)
who adores the beginners, but
needs a good dose of elegant dancing, too

Teaching Beginners etc

Message 35072 · Marilyn Knight · 25 Apr 2003 16:46:51 · Top

Oh, Pia!!! I love singing on the same page with you.
Marilynn
Just a few waves away....

-----Original Message-----
From: Pia Walker [mailto:piawalke@nascr.net]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 10:04 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Teaching Beginners etc

But aren't we all beginners - we can always learn more and learn better!

Pia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marilyn Knight" <MarilynnK@scchamber.net>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 1:39 PM
Subject: RE: Teaching Beginners etc

I couldn't agree with you more!!! In fact, it's often, in a
quote-unquote easy dance,IMHO, that experienced dancers forget and must
depend on less-experienced dancers to give a quality cue. I began as a
'space-cadet firehydrant' for lots of private reasons. And, I have
threatened moments of relapse, again for private reasons. For these
reasons, I really love gently encouraging those brave souls who want to
learn in a 'safe, beginners' class environment'. Some people are quick
to judge in a rejecting way. In this world, we really do need each
other. For me, SCD etiquette at its highest level, exemplifies that.
My confidence can be really shaken, so I really never want to do that to
another gentle soul. My not-so-private war is against haughtiness and
rudeness, etc.....
Marilynn Latta Knight
On another soapbox on a dreary Friday
-----Original Message-----
From: Helen P. [mailto:leap@mindspring.com]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 4:50 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org; RON
Subject: Re: Teaching Beginners etc

It's really quite simple:

If possible, everyone should be taught in a class at close to their
own
skill level;

***BUT***

Everyone should dance together sometimes, even if it's just for the
warmups.

Isolation and being treated as "second class citizens" will drive basic
dancers away in droves. That will kill the group over time.

-- Helen (MD USA)
who adores the beginners, but
needs a good dose of elegant dancing, too

Teaching Beginners etc

Message 35080 · Helen P. · 26 Apr 2003 01:09:42 · Top

Now, if we could just have the whole choir a-singin' with us... ;-)

Yes, Pia, you've really hit it: we *are* all beginners. Wouldn't you just
love it if, oh let's say, Barishnikov would magically appear as part of the
dance set whenever someone starting being nasty to a "lesser" dancer? <wg>

And Marilynn, "Some people are quick to judge in a rejecting way" also
applies to quite a few of the people making mistakes (and don't we all?
<g>). People who are especially shy, insecure, or arrogant -- which is
usually just insecurity is disguise -- may reject a helpful word or gesture,
and misjudge the action as hostile. This unpleasant behavior then upsets
the other dancers, and is a real slap in the face to the person who went out
of the way to help a fellow dancer.

It can be a especially bad problem for raw beginners, though, because (1)
they are then rejecting the help which they very much need and (2) they can
get themselves so upset that they'll leave SCD forever.

So a "safe, beginners' class environment" is a definitely a good idea all
around. It helps give new dancers the security they need to enter the
general group with a positive, enjoyable attitude.

-- Helen (MD USA)
who's already enlisted in Marilynn's
not-so-private war against haughtiness & rudeness

From: "Marilyn Knight" <MarilynnK@scchamber.net>
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 10:47 AM

Oh, Pia!!! I love singing on the same page with you.
Marilynn
Just a few waves away....

From: Pia Walker [mailto:piawalke@nascr.net]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 10:04 AM

But aren't we all beginners - we can always learn more and learn better!

From: "Marilyn Knight" <MarilynnK@scchamber.net>
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 1:39 PM

I couldn't agree with you more!!! In fact, it's often, in a
quote-unquote easy dance,IMHO, that experienced dancers forget and must
depend on less-experienced dancers to give a quality cue. I began as a
'space-cadet firehydrant' for lots of private reasons. And, I have
threatened moments of relapse, again for private reasons. For these
reasons, I really love gently encouraging those brave souls who want to
learn in a 'safe, beginners' class environment'. Some people are quick
to judge in a rejecting way. In this world, we really do need each
other. For me, SCD etiquette at its highest level, exemplifies that.
My confidence can be really shaken, so I really never want to do that to
another gentle soul. My not-so-private war is against haughtiness and
rudeness, etc.....
Marilynn Latta Knight
On another soapbox on a dreary Friday

From: Helen P. [mailto:leap@mindspring.com]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 4:50 AM

It's really quite simple:

If possible, everyone should be taught in a class at close to their
own
skill level;

***BUT***

Everyone should dance together sometimes, even if it's just for the
warmups.

Isolation and being treated as "second class citizens" will drive basic
dancers away in droves. That will kill the group over time.

-- Helen (MD USA)
who adores the beginners, but
needs a good dose of elegant dancing, too

Have a nice weekend

Message 35071 · Pia Walker · 25 Apr 2003 16:17:05 · Top

To All

Have a nice weekend

Pia

Have a nice weekend

Message 35073 · Marilyn Knight · 25 Apr 2003 16:47:35 · Top

With lots of Happy Dancing with lots of Delightful Souls!!!

-----Original Message-----
From: Pia Walker [mailto:piawalke@nascr.net]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 10:05 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Have a nice weekend

To All

Have a nice weekend

Pia

Have a nice weekend

Message 35081 · Helen P. · 26 Apr 2003 01:18:06 · Top

Thanks! You, too! :-)

'Scuse me now, it's time right now to start it...

-- Helen (MD USA)

From: "Marilyn Knight" <MarilynnK@scchamber.net>
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 10:47 AM

With lots of Happy Dancing with lots of Delightful Souls!!!

From: Pia Walker [mailto:piawalke@nascr.net]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 10:05 AM

To All
Have a nice weekend

Have a nice weekend

Message 35077 · Ron Taylor · 25 Apr 2003 20:14:47 · Top

Why, what's happening this weekend? EVERY weekend should be enjoyable. !

Ron Taylor
RON29@blueyonder.co.uk
----- Original Message -----
From: "Pia Walker" <piawalke@nascr.net>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 7:04 AM
Subject: Re: Have a nice weekend

> To All
>
> Have a nice weekend
>
> Pia
>

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