Observation before Instruction
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
1. Know your students.
Learn how your dancers are motivated. Get to know their energy and hearts. What are their strengths, areas of growth?
Learn their communication style. How do they respond when you correct their mistakes in front of everyone vs. in private?
How is their confidence? Are they only receiving constructive feedback from you? Would your relationship benefit if you shared more positive feedback as well?
Be aware of their progress according to who they were last week (instead of how they compare to everyone today).
2. Observe their movements.
Be detailed in watching your dancers’ movements. What sides do they tend to favor (right or left)? What muscles do they need to strengthen? Stretch? How are they transitioning between steps?
The more detailed you are with your observation, the more effective you will be with your instruction.
3. Catch mistakes early.
Take accountability for their growth and performance. It is your job to ensure they are moving the right way, on the correct leg, arms etc.
Each day missed on correcting wrong technique or dance steps = one more week of the dancer strengthening a wrong muscle memory.
Waiting to correct their mistakes a month before the recital creates undue pressure and stress on the dancer and is a reflection of the instructor's ineffective teaching skills.
4. Instead of lecturing, provide strategic and clear feedback.
Me, We, You strategy: Show them the right way to do a dance step by doing it yourself. Then do it with them. And then ask them to do it without you.
Their synchronization and knowledge of their technique is a reflection of your instruction so make sure you are proud of it when they are on stage.