Teaching Children Dance Can't Dance  Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

An appropriate dance for a small, rural classroom in the Midwest during Christmas would not necessarily be appropriate in a multiethnic and multilingual large urban school, or at very least modifications might need to be made in the lesson plan.

Using the teacher's body as a presentation technique, and observing dances are some of the helpful suggestions offered by the book. Also, using the children's own innate sense of movement is another helpful suggestion. If a child can run, hop, jump and skip, the child can dance! Especially for the lower grades, such as kindergarten to 2nd grade, using fun tactile things like streamers and balloons, dancing in a playground, pretending to be clouds, rain, and waves are ways to use this age group's fluid imaginative capacity. Imagining being at a circus, using percussion instruments like people did in the past to provide rhythm for dance might seem like 'obvious' suggestions to teach dance, but only obvious because the authors show how beautifully they are incorporated into a lesson plan that exploits the children's open love of movement and learning, at an age when school is still 'cool.' teacher can still engage shy students or students beginning to have 'hang ups' about dance with the right types of dance, like using the playground or creating sports dances. Birthday celebrations help children feel special and birthday dances are both appropriate celebration techniques as well as ways of teaching dance that make dance seem like a party, not an assignment in the eyes of the child. And yes, the "Dancing Homework Machine" deserves special mention for its fun use of a subject of frequent debate between children and adults!

The authors' intent is to teach all teachers, regardless of the teacher's own comfort level and background in dance, how to teach dance in a meaningful and educational way, rather than to just ask students to occasionally 'jump around' to 'burn off energy.' It shows respect for the craft of the teacher as well as the craft of dance. It should be read by all elementary school teachers anxious for practical advice on incorporating dance into their lesson plans, and who seek helpful suggestions in creating dances and explaining the need for dance to parents and administrators. Even non-professionals, who teach, for example, ballet to young children, could use some of the authors' suggestions to use imagination to make a dance lesson more meaningful, like becoming a jumping frog while learning how to pirouette. And parents might enjoy the book as well, to make their own child's life more kinesthetically vibrant, or simply for activities to keep children busy at birthday parties.

Works Cited

Cone, Theresa Purcell & Stephen L. Cone. Teaching Children Dance. 2nd Edition. New York: Human Kinesthetics.

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