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Thread: Teaching Qualifications

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor
    My whole focus is on the UK. What happens in NZ is not relevant. Therefore I have not taken into account the fact that no teachers in NZ are qualified and that one person from NZ thinks that is a good thing.
    I challenge you to find where Iíve said I think itís a good thing that no NZ teachers have qualifications. What I have said is that I donít consider them any worse than the UK teachers because of it.

    There is a difference you seem to be choosing to ignore because it suits you.

    The only opinion I have given is that the argument from the particular to the general is a weak argument. Perhaps you can tell us why it is not?
    What you said was ďMost of that was arguing from the particular to the general "I know this great teacher and they aren't qualified - therefore teachers don't need qualifications". This is a poor argument, but it does clearly articulate the sentiment held by the person posing the argument. They don't value qualifications.Ē. As I was the one who prompted you to bold the phrase ďAnd let's stop quoting the exceptions to the need for qualifications and start thinking about minimum standards.Ē it doesnít seem unreasonable to assume that I am the person (singular) you are referring to.

    Your summary of my sentiment is not accurate.


    Also, you have only told us that Andy McGregor is wrong in a destructive and argumentative way - I simply debating. Perhaps you'd like to be constructive and write the summary as you think I should have seen it. Let's call it a counter-argument.
    Iíve not told you youíre wrong at all, so again youíre misrepresenting what Iíve said.

    At most Iíve told you that I think you might be a little naive about teachers maintaining standards if theyíre not already inclined to. You also seem to be ignoring the points that Iíve agreed with you on and the fact that I draw a distinction between the skills necessary to be a good teacher and a good operator while as far as I can tell you do not.



    So, to answer your question (although Iíve already done it in my previous posts) how does this go?:

    The value I place in a qualification is dependent upon the rigour of the examination process. If someone has a ďproperĒ qualification in teaching dance that has taken years of full-time study at a renowned institution with extremely high standards then Iíll consider it a very big advantage. If the qualification is open to anyone, completed over a handful of weekends, run by people to whom are not necessarily fantastic dances and teachers themselves and under the banner of an organization Iíve never heard of then the value of the qualification to me is small*.

    At the moment the overwhelming number of MJ teachers have day jobs and teach more for love than money. I suggest that any qualifications they are prepared to spend the time and money to take will be toward the later end of the scale and therefore of little value to me personally as a punter.

    Also, in the end, Iíll make up my own mind as to whether I think a teacher is a good one or not regardless of qualifications. Where having a qualification I respect makes a difference is in motivating me to check them out. Itís whether they have the qualities that Straycat has so succinctly provided, and that youíve agreed with, that will determine if I stay.


    *Note that I am not suggesting this is how LEROC or Ceroc courses are run, as I do not know. Iím merely illustrating a point.

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    straycat (4th-March-2010)

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    I'm interested in reading people's views and suggestions for a way forward with qualifications - not hearing that qualifications are a waste time.
    It is good that you are looking at a way forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ View Post
    It could be that no qualificatons are the way forward, Andy.
    In looking for a way to promote qualifications, you also need to see if they make any difference.

    Andy front up, what exactly did you do to qualify you as a LeRoc teacher, how many weeks or months of training with LeRoc did you do?

    IMHO, you did not much more than say you run classes and teach and they give you a piece of paper to hang on your wall.

    True or not true?

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    You are right. We can learn from each other. NZ Monkey says he/she doesn't agree with teaching qualifications being of any use at all. I think that NZ really has nothing to contribute to a debate about qualifications apart from criticising me for debating the subject. Comments so far from NZM do not seem to be aimed at promoting debate but aimed at ending debate. This desire to make a point has coloured NZM's posting. I'm interested in reading people's views and suggestions for a way forward with qualifications - not hearing that qualifications are a waste time.

    Martin, can you tell us what happens in to qualify people to teach Modern Jive in Australia and NZ? I'd love to hear from NZ Monkey as well if he/she has anything constructive to say.
    You do not seem particularly interested in hearing what I have to say Andy.

    Also, I've not criticised you for debating the subject at all. I've criticised you for misrepresentation of my views when they do not agree with yours. That seems to be aimed at ending debate in my opinion. If anyone has a desire to make a point colouring their posting, I do not think it is I.

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    Lee Bartholomew (3rd-March-2010)

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    In all seriousness, why not start a project with all interested parties at the table to discuss it?

    I would envisage that the outcome should be that an independent organisation should be formed to govern teaching and qualifications of MJ Teachers within the UK.
    Why the focus on "independent"?

    Let's just say that a body was set up that all MJ teachers "had" to go through to teach. And there was a set way to teach things and class control, safety, etc were part of a curriculum. And people sat on a panel to say if they had passed or not. And the end result was a 'qualification' that let you teach the MJ dance style.

    Why would any of the main MJ teaching bodies want to abandon their own methods, styles and teachings that they promote so that they can join someone else's? As far as I can see, the only difference in the Ceroc model and Andy's utopian one is that there is a business model of franchises behind the teaching.
    The only thing that seems to be a bone in some folks throat is that a 'Ceroc' teacher's qualification comes from Ceroc - and no respected dance body recognises it. Considering the stupid things that you can get HND's and doctorates in, I'm surprised that Ceroc have not gone down that line.

    The problem is that Dance is considered an art form. A profession. Someone who likes to draw is not An Artist. Someone who performs in the local panto once a year is not An Actor. Someone who picks up golf clubs once a week is not A Golfer. Someone who dances once a week is not A Dancer. So the person that teaches them does not have to be a A Teacher - they just have to teach.

    {IMHO...} Qualifications are not to prove to anyone else you can do something: they are an acknowledgement that you have done the work and gained the knowledge & experience from that course. You don't do the course to get the bit of paper, you do it for the knowledge gained from doing the course. To prove the knowledge, you just need to practice it - not show a certificate. So, yes I think that courses and training for teachers is a good thing, I don't hold to the opinion that the award it's self is worth anything - it's the experience gained in striving for it.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    Why the focus on "independent"?
    There is no such thing. Or, to be more accurate, we're all independent, and that includes Ceroc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    Let's just say that a body was set up that all MJ teachers "had" to go through to teach. And there was a set way to teach things and class control, safety, etc were part of a curriculum. And people sat on a panel to say if they had passed or not. And the end result was a 'qualification' that let you teach the MJ dance style.
    This is how teaching works. There is a curriculum, different training establishments deliver the curriculum and then an examining body examines you. There is usually another body that examines the training body in it's ability to deliver that curriculum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    {IMHO...} Qualifications are not to prove to anyone else you can do something: they are an acknowledgement that you have done the work and gained the knowledge & experience from that course. You don't do the course to get the bit of paper, you do it for the knowledge gained from doing the course. To prove the knowledge, you just need to practice it - not show a certificate. So, yes I think that courses and training for teachers is a good thing, I don't hold to the opinion that the award it's self is worth anything - it's the experience gained in striving for it.
    Absolutely right. It's what the qualification represents that's important. It certifies that, as it says on the UKA Certificate, your "ability & knowledge as a Teacher of Dancing has been probed to the satisfaction of The Executive Council".

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    Why the focus on "independent"?
    Quite simply that an organisation formed to oversee/govern/control MJ in some way that was owned or run by one of the organisations would be a complete waste of time. Even if they did manage to remain objective, anyone with an axe to grind would make a big thing of it and many organisations would refuse to join on that basis.

    I should emphasise that when I say "independent", I mean independent of ALL MJ organisations, not in the paranoid CSF way of meaning "not Ceroc".

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Now, to get back to the topic of this thread, dance teaching qualifications. Many of the answers have given me thoughts for the future and I'm very grateful, even to NZ Monkey, whatever sex he/she is.

    We've had quite a few people say that they don't value qualifications and I thought that was what they were going to say. I'm grateful to have that suspicion confirmed (yes, even you NZM - I'm secretly hoping you're a lady ). It's exactly how I felt when I started attending dance classes way back in 1977! I'd just assumed that my teacher was trained and qualified to teach and gave it very little thought. However, now I think about it, I did try a couple of different ballroom dancing schools in the Harrow area before deciding that one suited me - but I still didn't ask to see any certificates.

    Back on topic, does anybody have any suggestions for changing the situation so that people do value dance teaching qualifications?
    Last edited by DavidY; 4th-March-2010 at 11:30 PM. Reason: Copied text from split post

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    Quite simply that an organisation formed to oversee/govern/control MJ in some way that was owned or run by one of the organisations would be a complete waste of time. Even if they did manage to remain objective, anyone with an axe to grind would make a big thing of it and many organisations would refuse to join on that basis.
    I agree with this 100%.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    I should emphasise that when I say "independent", I mean independent of ALL MJ organisations, not in the paranoid CSF way of meaning "not Ceroc".


    I think I agree with this. But what does "CSF" mean?

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    Why the focus on "independent"?
    I would imagine that any teaching organisation woud have to be independent in the sense that if you can afford the entrance fees, are "good enough", and prepared to sign up to its terms and conditions, then that should be sufficient criterion to be awarded the qualification.

    Proximity to other teachers qualified by that body (or others), requiring you to be nominated by third parties, or other extraneous reasons shouldn't limit your application.

    There's a lot of discussion on the merits of teacher qualifications elsewhere.

    SpinDr

    P.S. I don't think it's necessarily the qualification that gives kudos to a teacher -- it's the teacher that gives kudos to the qualification -- at least in the first instance.

    P.P.S. Should I add that I'm a qualified salsa teacher? Well, I did a one-day course once -- have never taught a soul!

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    (yes, even you NZM - I'm secretly hoping you're a lady ).
    Well, I can wear a dress, but only for special occasions
    Last edited by DavidY; 4th-March-2010 at 11:31 PM.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by NZ Monkey View Post
    Well, I can wear a dress, but only for special occasions
    We must have been twins, separated at birth

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    Back on topic, does anybody have any suggestions for changing the situation so that people do value dance teaching qualifications?
    1) Make the qualifications worth the paper they're written on.

    Not going to happen.

    2) Spend loads of cash raising public awareness to the need for serious qualifications from dance teachers.

    Not going to happen.

    3) Lobby the government to introduce legislation to make dance teaching qualifications compulsory.

    Not going to happen.
    Last edited by DavidY; 4th-March-2010 at 11:31 PM.
    Let your mind go and your body will follow. Ė Steve Martin, LA Story

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    Andy front up, what exactly did you do to qualify you as a LeRoc teacher, how many weeks or months of training with LeRoc did you do?

    IMHO, you did not much more than say you run classes and teach and they give you a piece of paper to hang on your wall.

    True or not true?
    Of course that is not true.

    Speaking for myself I had been running classes for some time and got my teacher's training and coaching from Nigel Anderson. We started with two solid days of training over a weekend and then entered into a period of on-going coaching - I can't remember exactly how long it took but I seemed to always have more questions for him before I felt competent to teach. This was a period of months rather than years.

    I took the LeRoc exams because it dawned on me that I should have some qualifications in dance teaching if it was to become a large part of my life. I can't remember if I filled out a questionnaire or written paper before the exam, sorry, it was a long time ago. The exam I clearly recall is a one hour exam with two examiners firing questions at you and asking you to demonstrate how you teach. It is not a box ticking exercise and you are really grilled in this exam. It put me in mind of a viva examination for a PhD!

    For people who are not already dance teachers and have not been trained elsewhere there is a long training process before you can take the exam. Brian Ross took the exam at the same time as me and told me that he'd had 6 months training one night a week with a LeRoc approved teacher's trainer before he was allowed to take the exam.

    And, of course, you need to be able to dance Modern Jive before you can teach it!
    Last edited by Andy McGregor; 4th-March-2010 at 12:23 PM.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    Of course that is not true.

    Speaking for myself I had been running classes for some time and got my teacher's training and coaching from Nigel Anderson. We started with two solid days of training over a weekend and then entered into a period of on-going coaching - I can't remember exactly how long it took but I seemed to always have more questions for him before I felt competent to teach. This was a period of months rather than years.

    I took the LeRoc exams because it dawned on me that I should have some qualifications in dance teaching if it was to become a large part of my life. I can't remember if I filled out a questionnaire or written paper before the exam, sorry, it was a long time ago. The exam I clearly recall is a one hour exam with two examiners firing questions at you and asking you to demonstrate how you teach. It is not a box ticking exercise and you are really grilled in this exam. It put me in mind of a viva examination for a PhD!

    For people who are not already dance teachers and have not been trained elsewhere there is a long training process before you can take the exam. Brian Ross took the exam at the same time as me and told me that he'd had 6 months training one night a week with a LeRoc approved teacher's trainer before he was allowed to take the exam.

    And, of course, you need to be able to dance Modern Jive before you can teach it!


    Very clear answer Andy, thank you for taking the time to write it.

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    Andy McGregor (4th-March-2010)

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    Andy front up, what exactly did you do to qualify you as a LeRoc teacher,
    If you want to take the LeRoc exam you need to contact Janet Gay at exam@leroc.org.uk

    She will send you everything you need to know and put you in touch with suitable teacher's trainers.

    I spoke with Janet a few weeks ago and she tells me that there has been a great increase in the number of people asking to do the exam.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    The real qualification is knowledge & experience. A certificate just states that you have the minimum required knowledge to teach the subject.

    A reliable way to benchmark teaching and dance ability would be when the dance community introduces and enforces Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in a similar way to the professional bodies prepresenting engineers, doctors, lawyers and accountants.

    I work in the Law Library and the barristers need to attend x amount of CPD hours of training every year in order practice and they get a certificate every year that allows them to practice.

    If CPD was introduced in the dance community, it wouldn't have to be enforced that if you don't attend you can't teach, but people would be encouraged to attend CPD training and encouraged to promote that they have attended x amount of CPD training. The CPD training should also have a practical element to it as well.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Doyle View Post
    If CPD was introduced in the dance community, it wouldn't have to be enforced that if you don't attend you can't teach, but people would be encouraged to attend CPD training and encouraged to promote that they have attended x amount of CPD training. The CPD training should also have a practical element to it as well.
    This is a fabulous suggestion. I should have thought of it myself as I've been involved in Postgraduate Education of doctors for the last 30 years

    I'm told that the LeRoc Federation used to have teacher's moves workshops. Long before my time.

    I'm looking into the possibility of organising some kind of quarterly moves exchange day for teachers and the logical extension could be to make it part of CPD for the LeRoc Federation.

    Of course it will be much easier to organise outside the LeRoc Federation rather than try to get agreement from the Fed Committee. Herding cats is now offically easy ...

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    I think I agree with this. But what does "CSF" mean?
    Ceroc Scotland Forum

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Back on topic, does anybody have any suggestions for changing the situation so that people do value dance teaching qualifications?
    The only way that is going to happen is if people value their dancing to be more than a "hobby". By that I mean a fun thing to pass the time, get some exercise and some social interaction.

    A teacher is only one component of a night's dancing: Should the venue have an "approved" dance floor? Should the DJ play from an approved list of tracks and/or have a qualification? Should there be a lighting technician, sound engineer, professional greeter, table service,... And after you have all the environmental variables max'd out to be a perfect night, the masses will still make the choice based on location, what's going on in their lives, and where their mates are going.

    Why do people have to value teaching qualifications? Why does it need to change? It is the teacher that (should) gain from the qualification and the teacher that should value the personal experience gained from getting it.
    For regular "people" it could be a zen master who floats through all the moves and conveys everything with clarity, consistency and precision; or a troll with scraping knuckles that grunts incoherently and you learn nothing from. Either way, if the "people" have a good time, they will return.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    Why do people have to value teaching qualifications? Why does it need to change? It is the teacher that (should) gain from the qualification and the teacher that should value the personal experience gained from getting it.
    For regular "people" it could be a zen master who floats through all the moves and conveys everything with clarity, consistency and precision; or a troll with scraping knuckles that grunts incoherently and you learn nothing from. Either way, if the "people" have a good time, they will return.
    You only have to look at the history of Aerobics teaching. At one time aerobics was a boom industry with many, many more classes than Modern Jive. Just about every woman over 16 went to an aerobics class. Unfortunately there were quite a few cowboys who jumped on the bandwagon and people got hurt. So the YMCA came up with a qualification and many venues would not allow Aerobics teachers to book a hall without showing their certificate.

    Modern Jive is nowhere near as popular as aerobics and it's unlikely there are the numbers attending dodgy classes for there to be enough injuries appearing in A&E departments in significant numbers. It doesn't mean there aren't risks, it just means that there aren't the numbers attending MJ classes for the numbers to reach a level of statistical significance.

    However, that is different when you take into account all partner dancing. Thankfully most partner dances are taught by qualified teachers.

    One thing you need to consider when reading the responses of people posting stidently on this thread is that those shouting the loudest and throwing up smoke-screens and vague accusations are teachers who hold no qualifications - of course they are going to say that qualifications aren't needed. And, of course, us qualified teachers, who value qualifications are going to disagree with them.

    My answer is that there is noting wrong with being qualified. But there can be something wrong with being unqualified.

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