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Thread: Teaching Qualifications

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    The flipside of this comes from the dancers in the group lesson who got the move/movement on the first teaching .
    In MJ, apart from workshops, there is generally only two levels and the decision as to which level you are at, is by self assessment. This means teachers often have to pitch to the lowest ability. Most other dances have more levels, AT has about 5. Personally I prefer the relaxed attitude MJ has to teaching and do not like the "by invitation only" classes that exist in AT. I am prepared to regularly revisit the basics. A good teacher usually manages to slip something useful into every class, regardless of what level they are teaching

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    The flipside of this comes from the dancers in the group lesson who got the move/movement on the first teaching - or have it from the previous time it was taught or get the move really quickly. You feel an unspoken pressure from the people getting the move to get on to the next part of the lesson.
    There are invariably too many technical aspects to the more sophisticated moves to allow one to cover everything in one lesson. One approach I use is to make use of this fact, so in the second lesson, I'll place emphasis on different technical aspects of the move, giving new information to those that have done it before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    This pressure seems to increase as more and more students start getting it right. And when you're down to just one or two guys who haven't got it the pressure to move on with the lesson is almost deafening.
    There comes a point when one just has to move on for the benefit of the class as a whole. Judging where that point is can be a fine art....
    That may sound harsh, but not everyone can get everything in a class. (actually, I tend to work on the principle that no-one gets everything) Part of the trick is coaching people to be OK with that, and not to worry about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    N.B. There might be some readers of the Forum who ask, "can people get it so wrong for so long when there's a teacher on the stage showing them and telling them how to do it?" Those readers have never taught a lesson to dancers of mixed ability including complete novices!

    Not just mixed ability. It's those little filters in our minds, re-interpreting or even blocking out things we're told. We all have them, no matter how much we'd like to think otherwise. Dance classes are an interesting environment to watch them in action...

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by geoff332 View Post
    One thing I'd like to see is teachers picking some basic technical theme and teaching a movement that emphasises that theme every week or two for a few months. Once most people have truly mastered that technique, drop it down to a less regular cycle and pick something else to focus on. Again, a lot of the better teachers seem to do this either because they know what they're doing or because they get it intuitively.
    This is pretty much how we were taught our salsa classes, as our teacher was a stickler for technique. I loved the way it was taught, and it's made me a much better MJiver than I would otherwise I would have been. However, once people reached improver level, they tended to get bored as they weren't there to learn to be great dancers, they just wanted a few moves as a hobby, and never went along to freestyles. It also didn't help the clicheyness of the freestyles either as only the better dancers went and it was hard to progress further as you only really got a chance to dance with similar level dancers.

    I would love there to be more technique training within MJ classes to encourage people to improve. The problem is that the people who probably need it the most at our venues are also the ones who would moan about having to learn it and would leave. That's fine if you want to have a smaller dancing fraternity, but could end up being very elitist.

    In terms of teaching, I think the teachers (in my experience, at ceroc) who teach more technique are those who've had either other dance teaching experience or who've come from other more technical dance styles. And it's those people who can often make the best teachers with what other knowledge they can add to their core teaching.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by straycat View Post
    It's those little filters in our minds, re-interpreting or even blocking out things we're told. We all have them, no matter how much we'd like to think otherwise. Dance classes are an interesting environment to watch them in action...
    Sometimes I wonder if I should have a psychologist or even a psychiatrist observing the lesson. From the way people act and react during the lesson you really can see differences in people's personality and personality disorders

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by David Franklin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by me
    The problem I see with setting a curriculum is that it has a definitive start, progression and end:
    Well, don't you *want* people to progress?
    Yes, but why does it have to be a linear progression? More and more universities and courses are becoming segmented and diverse - you build up 'points' in various modules that contribute towards a qualification.
    Most games with long term playability have the same skill development engine: do tasks to build up 'points' in various areas that can to be used to develop 'skills' and improve. MJ has it's bonus missions to get extra points in development - they are called workshops. (To draw from this model, I think that the stats generated by the Ceroc swipe-in database should be used to reward the attendees for various accomplishments.)

    I've seen a fair amount of Lindy teaching discussion, and there seems to be a consensus that it's *very* hard to improve beyond a basic level through drop in classes. It's the flip side of "no progression"
    I think that the general playing field of a standard MJ night being 'drop in classes' is hard to beat - The only thing I can think on would be to remove the 'intermediate' class completely and have that as a separate entity, but I've not thought that one through yet.

    Obviously Lindy isn't MJ, but given these are people who've tried both options (drop in classes and progressive courses running over several months), I think their experience is worth noting. Particularly as the "hard to improve beyond a certain level" comment is *very* common amongst Modern Jivers.
    The biggest flaw here is at core of the argument: that MJers attend a class night to improve

    I'm not convinced that this is the primary or even secondary reason for attendance. In fact I would probably put the music played ahead of the teaching {bias? moi?} - especially for those who have reached that "certain level" ~ so does this imply that the DJ's should get more training and support than the teachers? Or at least as much.
    They certainly seem to take more flack than the teachers do - Could it be because those of a "certain level" stop paying attention to the teachers and pay more attention to the music?

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    The biggest flaw here is at core of the argument: that MJers attend a class night to improve

    I'm not convinced that this is the primary or even secondary reason for attendance. In fact I would probably put the music played ahead of the teaching {bias? moi?} - especially for those who have reached that "certain level" ~ so does this imply that the DJ's should get more training and support than the teachers? Or at least as much.
    There is a group of people who attend MJ nights with no thought of improving their dancing. Most of them come just for the freestyle.

    The problems arise when they join in with the lesson at the MJ night. There is an implicit assumption with a lesson that it is a learning situation and people taking part would like to learn. I think that anybody who takes part in the lesson with no desire to learn really is in the wrong place and should be elsewhere while the lesson is going on or sitting quietly and not disturbing those who would like to learn.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    Yes, but why does it have to be a linear progression?
    I agree wholeheartedly!

    This is the beauty of MJ, it has no fixed structure, therefore people can develop their own styles or bring other styles in.. No other dance form really shares this freedom and the reason why so many people love it!

    You can do competitions if you like but even if you've never won anything, taken any exams or done any official training at all, it will not stop you being able to dance with anyone.

    The biggest flaw here is at core of the argument: that MJers attend a class night to improve
    And here again I agree, I reckon the largest percentage just come for a night out, to meet people and have a bit of a boogie. And if they pick up a new move along the way, its a bonus!

    Personality and like-ability, is IMO the beginner teachers most important requirement.

    All this talk of the standardisation of MJ and recognised qualifications by a self-appointed board, leaves me cold!
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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadget View Post
    The biggest flaw here is at core of the argument: that MJers attend a class night to improve
    If you want people to improve their dancing - first show them something they want. Then show them a route towards achieving it.

    I believe that all of us who got our start going to class nights spent our early days learning, improving, and enjoying that process. So what changes? In simplistic terms, either people no longer see anything new that they want to learn... or they no longer see any route towards learning it.

    Where this leads to in weekly classes is that people stop seeing anything they want to learn in those classes (and this can easily happen even when those same people actually still have a lot they could learn, did they but recognise that). So they stop seeing the class nights as learning environments. That said, I am basing this purely on my own experiences learning MJ. Hence - I could easily be very wrong about all this.

    What it adds up to is, I feel, that teachers who want to keep that progression going must always be looking at ways to continually inspire their students. You can never sit still....

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    As a means of teaching people to dance the normal Ceroc intermediate class is pretty close to a nonsense. However it does give them some tools that make learning easier. What it is good at is getting people to meet people, and get used to meeting new people, and getting people to bond together in a common task. It gives many of the naturally shy, who can find the courage to stick with it, a major leap forward in their social development that they can carry forward to the world outside. it

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    There is a group of people who attend MJ nights with no thought of improving their dancing. Most of them come just for the freestyle.
    May be, There is also a large group who believe they can dance, and only come along to learn new moves and there are many teachers who cater to this need.

    The customer is allways right so you cant really blame the teachers who gives the customers what they want

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by philsmove View Post

    There is also a large group who believe they can dance.....
    And isn't this the whole point in a nutshell???

    I thought I could dance - I knew a wide range of moves - thought that was it, ah, but NO!! I knew moves, but I didn't know "movement" - but now after 6 months of teaching from a couple refered to a long way back in this thread as "A-list", I'm now getting "movements" and have to say that as a result have just had the best weekends dancing to date, with many memorable dances with some top ladies

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by alinp View Post
    And isn't this the whole point in a nutshell???
    I think so

    We have a group of people, who think they can teach, providing a fun, value for money. evening out, for another group of people who think they can dance

    And what's wrong with that

    I thought I could dance, but having watched the aforementioned A list teachers, I know that I cant and probably never will

    See the happy moron,
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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by philsmove View Post

    I think so

    We have a group of people, who think they can teach, providing a fun, value for money. evening out, for another group of people who think they can dance

    And what's wrong with that
    Absolutely nothing. Most ppl who go to an MJ evening, whether with Ceroc, LeRoc or other provider, go to learn a few moves so they can have a fun night out dancing. They're not worried too much about the technicalities - so as long as they're taught safely, what's the fuss???

    Those who want to advance their MJ will seek out the better teachers, who attract business based upon (generally) reputation and word of mouth. Anyone who actively seeks out a class with the likes of Amir or S&N isn't really worried about a teaching qualification!!

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by alinp View Post
    Anyone who actively seeks out a class with the likes of Amir or S&N isn't really worried about a teaching qualification!!
    Because it'll be an unqualified success.

    Andy McG' wants to be a qualified success

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by alinp View Post
    Anyone who actively seeks out a class with the likes of Amir or S&N isn't really worried about a teaching qualification!!
    I think you will find that Amir and S&N have received huge amounts of dance training. Some of that will have had a qualification at the end of it.

    Point? You expect me to have a point?

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    I think you will find that Amir and S&N have received huge amounts of dance training. Some of that will have had a qualification at the end of it.

    Point? You expect me to have a point?
    It seems the point is that it is the training that the teachers have had and how they can apply that training that is important not their qualifications. Which is what the majority of people have been saying.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by ant View Post
    It seems the point is that it is the training that the teachers have had and how they can apply that training that is important not their qualifications. Which is what the majority of people have been saying.


    Lets be honest when you go to a class you want to be inspired by the the teacher. I think you have more chance of being inspired by somebody who has been taught how to dance properly and more importantly can actually dance.

    In the WCS world we are very lucky to have 3 really inspirational teacher, in Paul Warden, Cat Wiles and Lee Easton . Boy can all 3 dance and even better they are all great teachers

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by philsmove View Post
    May be, There is also a large group who believe they can dance, and only come along to learn new moves and there are many teachers who cater to this need.

    The customer is allways right so you cant really blame the teachers who gives the customers what they want
    I think this is absolutely right. There's a lot of different customers attending a Modern Jive night with differing needs. And those needs change over time as customers progress on their dance journey. The end point of that journey for many people is that they are satisfied with their dancing and simply want to dance. They don't want lessons any more and the teaching becomes irrelevant to them.

    And there's also the group of guys who just want to learn new moves because they've understood how the dance works.

    But it's still a journey and some people are just starting out on their journey. And those are the ones who need decent teaching from trained teachers.

    Quote Originally Posted by ant View Post
    It seems the point is that it is the training that the teachers have had and how they can apply that training that is important not their qualifications. Which is what the majority of people have been saying.
    I think those people are right to say that it's the training is important. The qualification is just a piece of paper. But I'd like to know that the teacher has had some training and that the training was successful. Passing a test that the training was successful and showing a piece of paper is the traditional way of providing the proof that you've had the training and that it was successful.

    Saying that the training is sufficient is wrong. Consider medicine, would you be happy to be treated by a doctor who'd been to medical school but failed his final exam? Of course not! They failed because he/she failed to take in the training. All the piece of paper does is prove the training was successful.

    Of course dance is not medicine and the consequences of a dance lesson from someone who has had no training or failed their tests are less dire than treatment from a quack. But the principle is the same.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry View Post


    Lets be honest when you go to a class you want to be inspired by the the teacher. I think you have more chance of being inspired by somebody who has been taught how to dance properly and more importantly can actually dance.

    In the WCS world we are very lucky to have 3 really inspirational teacher, in Paul Warden, Cat Wiles and Lee Easton . Boy can all 3 dance and even better they are all great teachers
    Gerry is talking as an experienced dancer who can tell the difference. Most people responding to an advertisement are complete novices. To them Modern Jive looks fabulous no matter who is doing it.

    As an example, of how easy it is to impress beginners, we all know people at dance who can't hear the beat properly or are difficult to dance with but show off drops or lifts. When beginners see them they are impressed and often say so. But we, as experienced dancers, know that those drops 'n' lifts show-off dancers are dreadful.

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    Re: Teaching Qualifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy McGregor View Post
    ... But we, as experienced dancers, know that those drops 'n' lifts show-off dancers are dreadful.
    Masses of first timers last night. Woohoo!

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