Saturday, 13 May 2017

HI, I would like to talk about the use of music in ballet classes, continuing where we left off from last Sunday´s morning talk. I find this topic very interesting as I see how different types of music influences the class atmosphere and motivation. I like to change the class music from the ”traditional” type of music for ballet classes to pop, jazz or whatever the pupils ask for. I was wondering when we were discussing this though, what are our experiences are with either a pianist or a playlist? I have used both  and I feel the difference is significant. With a pianist, it is almost like the pupils ”remember” that they are in a ballet class, maybe because they associate her with playing for them? They seem to maintain the classical style. With a playlist, the class is very different as it almost becomes a jazz class! Could this be because their association with a playlist is influenced by their free time, interest in music or being a teenager/young adult? Their movements become freer and the quality changes. They is no doubt that the contrast in the music has an effect. I am aware when making a class to pop music that I need to try and find music that will bring out the same aesthetics as the movements/exercises they are used to, I´m not always successful in that! Could that contribute to their change in style or difference in their musical quality?

As a result of this conversation, the past week I´ve been asking my pupils how often they would like to have non-classical music for their classes. I was really surprised as the majority said they enjoyed having it as a ”special treat” but would not want it frequently. A couple even commented that it was also the classical music that motivated them to do ballet!

Does anybody have any thoughts on this topic, would love to hear them!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Hi Everyone, I have recently finished teaching a group of students in higher education and have been reflecting a lot about recent events. Working towards their exam class, which was taught and practised over a six-week period, they asked me if they could have a” fun and cosy class”, as some thought this would motivate them towards their exam. This in turn, has me reflecting and thinking about my role as a” motivator” at this level. Teaching at recreational level I will often alter my class either by changing the music (swapping classical for pop music), allowing them to swap their uniform for colourful dance clothes, bring a friend day, etc. The list is endless as we know, but should the role as motivators to our pupils and students stop at a certain point? At a higher level of education is their motivation not intrinsic? Are they not there because they want to enter the profession? I think back to my education, and of the tedious repetition of doing syllabus class day in day out for years, yet on a” low” period, we all had to find ways of motivating ourselves. Has education and society changed, so we now have more responsibility to motivate our students even when they are adults? With more focus on students taking responsibility for their own learning and becoming autonomous learners, I would presume that self-motivation is an element of this. Providing a safe learning environment is the responsibility of the educators, but surely the students to need to accept a certain amount of responsibility? I have no objection dropping a technique class for something else that day, but should a” cosy” class motivate them towards their exam? I would think that an exam is a motivating factor.

I would love to hear any opinions on this subject as it has me a little perplexed and questioning what is my role as a teacher at this level.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Working on module 2 has me continuously thinking and wondering. Still indecisive about my research topic I have been throwing myself into reading different articles, and I have to admit that I believe I have been living in my own bubble for some time. With my blinkers on, I have had a strong opinion of what I consider dance is and how it should be taught. Ive always thought about myself being open-minded and embracing change, but I see this may not be the case. In todays world where dancers have to be adaptable and versatile, I wonder why I havent adapted (or have I and dont acknowledge it?) Is it time for change on a higher level (what harm would it do to try?).

Speaking to my advisor last time, I aired my concerns that my topic may have some consequences which could affect me. I am, of course jumping to conclusions as I dont know the outcome. So Ive been questioning what truth is.  My perception of truth is connected with my world, my reality and what I believe to be right or wrong. But my world has changed dramatically over the past years, yet Im still living and working in my truths of yesteryear. Working deeper for this module I am trying to expand my horizons and question what do I actually know, and am I certain of it? If not, is it such a crisis? Knowledge is ongoing, never ceasing to stop, this I have to keep in mind.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Hello Everybody!  After the Skype meeting yesterday I am feeling a little apprehensive about what module 2 is going to hold for me. I have been feeling up and down about it, and I don´t know why. I learnt so much about myself and my practice in Module 1 but this module is daunting to me. I wonder if I feel ”safer” when I am talking and writing about myself, I expect because I am not treading on anybody´s toes so to speak.

I received feedback that I need to be more critical and maybe it is this I am troubled over (yes, I know it is a major point at Masters level!). What if my opinions are silly or ridiculous, not worthy of the paper they are written on? How can I think deeper and not just on the surface? What if someone confronts me about my views, could I stick up for my beliefs or would I ”keep the peace?” These are questions that I seem to be reflecting on. Module 1 didn’t just make me reflect on me as a teacher but also as a human being. Recent events have made me think about my personality, which in turn has had me reflecting on my beliefs and views both professionally and personally.

I have been thinking about a topic and I am indecisive. I know I want to pick a topic that interests me, and will have an impact on my future practice but what? I enjoyed writing a particular AOL and this maybe a possibility, but the challenge is to find literature. I had difficulty finding sufficient literature for the AOL so how will a research paper go?

Maybe it is to go with my gut feeling and tackle these issues when and if they occur. This surely is part of the process?

I would love to hear anybody's thoughts!


Luckily I had not posted this before I went to work, and reading it back I can see how this reads. I’m realising that this journey is not just about my practice but opening my horizons and exploring more and developing. Maybe there is a reason there isn´t so much literature on my choice of topic, maybe it hasn´t been written about before? That could be exciting, researching an area which has not been explored and researched. What could I contribute, that is an exciting question!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sorry for the delay in posting something, like everybody else it´s non-stop isn´t it? I have to say that this module is getting more interesting by the week! I am discovering views and opinions that I have never really thought about before. I´ve always thought of myself as having opinions but "going with the flow" not to cause conflict or to sound silly, or uneducated etc. Today, I feel slightly proud as I was in a meeting and stood my ground, I was not going to be "bullied" into being quite or feeling inadequate! This actually isn´t what I said I would blog about but I just wanted to share that with you all!
I have to admit that I have always been a bit wary about dance being an academic subject (yes I´m a product of dance training from the early 80´s!), but I am seeing the rewards of various frameworks. Gibb´s reflective cycle really has opened my eyes, the fact that feelings and emotions are involved in the learning cycle has made me realise that I could have tackled some situations differently. Would I have had a different experience if I was not so emotional myself, should I have been more professional in my actions? Questions that I still don´t know the answers to yet, but I´m hoping to find out.
Kolb´s experiential learning cycle is fascinating (could be intriguing too because I was a student when his book was published) and I see that his model is something that I practice, but only in my later years. I wonder what path my teaching would have taken if I had experienced this tool at the beginning of my practice? Am I a better teacher because I did not have a framework to connect with, or would it have saved me a lot of time and effort? Would love to hear anybody´s views. Samantha

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Hi Everybody! After our conversation yesterday, I would like to reflect about dance pupils and their focus on learning dances/performing in relationship to learning technique and having technique classes. I firstly, teach classical ballet which we know has a strong focus on technique. As a pupil, learning dances in classes were only in connection with an exam or performance, so learning a routine weekly was never the norm.  Society has changed, and I wonder if children today do not want to work on the “boring” stuff.  I see my pupils changing from ballet to other forms, could it be that ballet´s progression is too slow or that it is too repetitive? Do pupils today expect results quicker maybe? Have genres such as hip-hop and street, where there is less focus on technique, and certainly more “freedom” and individuality, contributed to pupils´ expectations of a dance class?
Has society today created a generation of “quick fixers”? Pupils today certainly do a lot more activities and swap from one to the other. Could this contribute to the lack of patience to hold out and learn technique? I wonder too, if programmes like “So You Think You Can Dance” also contribute to the focus on performing and not class work.

I know the respect I have for the dance as an art form, but maybe my ideology needs to be more up-dated. I´m wondering if it´s me who needs a shake-up and change my teaching to today´s society and youth….. a lot to think about! Would love to hear some views!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Hi, this is my new blogg! Welcome and I hope that you will enjoy the posts that are to come!