Thread Index

Teaching and guns

Previous Thread Next Thread Indented

  • ...

    Alan Paterson March 13, 2006, 1:05 p.m. (Message 44668)

    On 13/03/2006 12:29, Andrea Re wrote:
    
    > 1) probably the long established classes don't welcome new members 
    > because, and rightly so, they can't be bothered with the Cumberland 
    > reels and the likes of it. If the group can't be bothered organizing 
    > beginners' classes, the group is to blame, not the teaching of steps.
    
    OK. Fair comment. However (as in our case) what do you do if you have 
    8-10 regulars and (on a good day) 2 beginners?
    
    If I were ever in the situation of having 6-8 beginners with whom I 
    could do a separate class, it would be like having my Birthday on the 
    25th December.
    
    
    Alan
    
    P.S. Having received today my Scottish Country Dancer magazine I now 
    know what Andrea looks like. Aha! Chris Ronald as well. Isn't it odd how 
    one makes pictures of people with whom one corresponds - and these are 
    totally wrong?
  • ...

    GOSS9@telefonica.net March 13, 2006, 1:54 p.m. (Message 44673, in reply to message 44668)

    Whereas I agree with you idea, I don´t with your example. Cumberland is 
    the last dance I would want to introduce to beginners. To get a good 
    foundation and sense of dancing, phrasing, and music, why would one 
    want to start with a dance with a 6 bar figure splitting a 4 bar 
    phrase?
    
    I say this as one who has been teaching SCD since the 60´s, and have 
    noticed that the early focus on the exceptions and fiddly bits, is what 
    not only turns off potential danceers, but infects those who continue, 
    in that they fail to develop and trust an instinct that says there is a 
    pattern here.
    
    There was a psych study that proved how any reinforcement positive or 
    negative can work if consistant, but inconsistant reinforcement tended 
    to cause problems. Even child abuse is an effective teaching method of 
    consistant. To carry this allusion farther, the societal problems to 
    day have more to do with inconsistant reinforcement that breeds 
    distrust.
  • ...

    mlamontbrown March 14, 2006, 11:27 a.m. (Message 44701, in reply to message 44673)

    Richard wrote:
     
    > There was a psych study that proved how any reinforcement positive or
    > negative can work if consistant, but inconsistant reinforcement tended
    > to cause problems. Even child abuse is an effective teaching method of
    > consistant. To carry this allusion farther, the societal problems to
    > day have more to do with inconsistant reinforcement that breeds
    > distrust.
    
    I thought there was evidence to show that the optimum way of learning was "random
    rewards", i.e. when you got a reward for doing something correctly, but not every
    time.
    
    I can remember finding this worked with me - a four day dancing weekend, with the
    teacher giving out no more than half a dozen "Well done xxxxx" during the weekend.
    (where xxxx is someone's name) ---- Everyone worked really hard to try and get one of
    these sparse phrases  of individual praise.
    
    OK, it is not what I actually do now, having been taken up with the modern approach
    of "giving plenty of encouragement" - I even try to limit the number of "buts" when I
    tell them something is "well done", and when I am concentrating I even remember to
    phrase the qualifier with "it would have been even better if ......." instead of
    "pity you forgot...."
    
    I think the trick is not to reward efforts with either silence or criticism and fault
    finding.
    
    Malcolm
     
    Malcolm L Brown
    York
  • ...

    campbell March 14, 2006, 3:03 p.m. (Message 44702, in reply to message 44668)

    Anselm wrote:
    
    > The trick, apparently, is getting people to find out that while they
    > *think*
    > they're having lots of fun when they're just stampeding around the set
    > like a
    > herd of hippos, that once they've got the hang of current SCD technique
    > they
    > will be having even *more* fun. I don't have a foolproof method for doing
    > this.
    
    As the originator of this thread, and having so far got away with only a
    few bullet grazes on the left thigh as I ducked round the corner, I think
    Anselm has got closest to what I would call "the next step".  My feeling
    is get them in by lowering the bar as far as possible, certainly below any
    sense of having to master footwork first.  Once they are in, they will
    begin to look around and rather enjoy the superior footwork of those
    around them.  Then they will look down at their own hippo feet and feel
    slightly embarrassed and want to improve themselves.  In other words they
    find out by looking at the example set them by those around them.  I feel
    the example should be set purely by demonstration, not by remonstration. 
    As the teacher, I try to drop hints through humour, point out examples of
    good footwork by those around, indicate that I have got a long way to go
    myself but that it is enjoyable to improve.  And do the occasional
    boringly easy dance so they have a chance to try to get their feet right. 
    But it is never stressed, always in the background.  I am usually
    reactive, only occasionally assertive.  With the result, as I mentioned in
    my first email, that our club has a reputation for "appalling" footwork
    amongst the purists.  It was even suggested that we had a cheek inviting
    Marian Anderson out to play for such low standards of dancing.  Sigh!!
    
    Campbell
  • ...

    Anselm Lingnau March 14, 2006, 3:28 p.m. (Message 44703, in reply to message 44702)

    xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xx.xx wrote:
    
    > My feeling
    > is get them in by lowering the bar as far as possible, certainly below any
    > sense of having to master footwork first.  Once they are in, they will
    > begin to look around and rather enjoy the superior footwork of those
    > around them.  Then they will look down at their own hippo feet and feel
    > slightly embarrassed and want to improve themselves.
    
    It has been my experience that many of the, er, hippo-feet dancers, especially 
    those with some tenure, are pretty much immune to the example of other 
    dancers with gazelle feet. Why bother, we're having fun already! And don't 
    *we* look just as graceful as those others? After all, we've been dancing for 
    twenty years already! And yes, we do feel we ought to be on the demonstration 
    team, thank you very much.
    
    On the other hand, many do want to »improve«. As a teacher, I tend to 
    concentrate on these rather than waste my breath and class time on those who 
    think they are God's gift to country dancing but in fact have come in 
    straight from the pond. They're apparently having fun so why torture them 
    with footwork that they weren't going to waste any effort on back when the 
    coelacanths thought trying to breathe air might be a cool idea for a change.
    
    > As the teacher, I try to drop hints through humour, point out examples of
    > good footwork by those around, indicate that I have got a long way to go
    > myself but that it is enjoyable to improve.  And do the occasional
    > boringly easy dance so they have a chance to try to get their feet right.
    > But it is never stressed, always in the background.  I am usually
    > reactive, only occasionally assertive.  With the result, as I mentioned in
    > my first email, that our club has a reputation for "appalling" footwork
    > amongst the purists.  It was even suggested that we had a cheek inviting
    > Marian Anderson out to play for such low standards of dancing.  Sigh!!
    
    This sounds like you're doing the right thing, in the long run. If your group 
    prospers, and if Marian doesn't drop her box in shock, you must be doing 
    *something* right. Keep up the good work!
    
    Anselm
    -- 
    Anselm Lingnau, Frankfurt, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.
                                                -- Oscar Wilde, *An Ideal Husband*
  • ...

    Jim Healy March 14, 2006, 5:20 p.m. (Message 44704, in reply to message 44703)

    Greetings!
    
    Campbell writes:
    
    >It was even suggested that we had a cheek inviting
    >Marian Anderson out to play for such low standards of dancing.  Sigh!!
    Sight unseen I am sure that Marian will see nothing in South Africa that she 
    doesn't see every week of the year - especially in Scotland. On the basis of 
    my fairly extensive experience of dancing abroad, the overall standard wil 
    probably be 'better' than she usually has to look at from the stage. (The 
    measure of 'better' being a different question.)
    
    Jim Healy
    Perth and Monaco
  • ...

    simon scott March 14, 2006, 7:23 p.m. (Message 44708, in reply to message 44703)

    xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.xx.xx wrote:
    
    > My feeling
    > is get them in by lowering the bar as far as possible, certainly below
    > any sense of having to master footwork first.  Once they are in, they 
    > will begin to look around and rather enjoy the superior footwork of 
    > those around them.  Then they will look down at their own hippo feet 
    > and feel slightly embarrassed and want to improve themselves.
    
    I totally agree with getting new dancers moving, enthused, and actively
    dancing without a "huge" or "laborious" technique session, initial.
    
    HOWEVER, I do believe that some aspect of the elegant style of this
    dancing, much of which comes from its precise footwork, should always be
    a part of each class.
    
    One if the reasons I believe this is that bad habits are very easily
    formed. I know that it is more difficult to break bad habits than it is
    to form good ones to begin with.
    
    Simon
    Vancouver
  • ...

    Ron Mackey March 15, 2006, 2:02 a.m. (Message 44715, in reply to message 44703)

    > This sounds like you're doing the right thing, in the long run. If your group 
    > prospers, and if Marian doesn't drop her box in shock, you must be doing 
    > *something* right. Keep up the good work!
    > 
    > Anselm
    
    	One suspects that the smile will remain firmly in place and 
    she will just keep cooking with gas!!

Previous Thread Next Thread