Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Art Of Success

Learning fast is only possible if the learner takes risks and fails from time to time. Once people start taking risks and messing up, those moments have to be used constructively to get a learn effect. How can you support that as teacher?






There are two main ways we can handle problems as teachers. One is helping, the other one is letting the students solve their own problems.

Do It Yourself

I'm always positively surprised by how much students can solve problems by themselves just by trying a few times by themselves and sometimes a change of partners does it. I always start with letting the students attack the new material by themselves when I teach something new, because the more problems students solve themselves the more independent they grow and the bigger challenges they will be able to face and solve in the future. Also the sense of gratification increases.

And Round And Round It Goes


Usually, I let students try three times with their partner, rotate and let them try again. The remaining problems will need some attention. I advocate to not just provide the solution but show how problems get solved. This way,  students can add this new variable to their problem solving competences.

Problems or mistakes are usually already what we want our students to do just missing one or two ingredients to make the soup tasty. To solve problems one needs to learn to what one can pay attention to. So make them switch their focus onto the missing part.

In the very first classes my students usually watch feet, falling into the trap of thinking that dancing is feet, they don't ask me questions about where to place their bodies. In an advanced class the focus to solve a problem for a particular move or technique or visual might be the orientation of knees or their distance.

To change their focus, e.g. tell them to watch the free arm and then demo a bad and a good version and let them try again. Making them aware of a body part they didn't pay attention to will add to their repertoire.

Making them watch their own movement (by demoing what they do, without  mocking them) and then letting them find the error would be alternative to the first option.

Watch Out!


Problems can be dissected almost infinitely. I don't advocate this. Often, something that people see my body "do", is actually a result of of something else that I do. When solving problems, try find the real source, even if it might tackle some topic that was not mentioned in the question. A classic example for this is the free right arm of the leader during a rockstep. Yes it swings back, but I don't actively move it there. It's a result from moving back with my whole body.

Teaching your students how to handle mistakes and problems will turn their failure into success!

Thumbs up/+1 for success!


Read "The Art Of Failing"