Dance Classroom Management: Be Seen Looking

Hey everyone!

It seems that I took an unplanned break from blogging to focus on some other areas of my dance business! But, now I’m back with new ideas and newly inspired, ready to start writing here again.

A little earlier this evening, I was reading about teaching preschool dance classes, and the author recommended that we dance teachers use some behavioral management methods that I will talk about in further detail later–positive behavioral narration and specific public praise.

Behavioral narration and public praise are two techniques I absolutely love using to help manage my dance classroom. However, as I was considering these two methods, I couldn’t help but backward mapping and considering what newer dance teachers might have to do before feeling comfortable enough to use either of those tools.

I know that finding one’s “teacher voice” (and yes, dance teachers have a “teacher voice” also) can be difficult and take years to understand and develop. This made me think about all of the non-verbal cues that I’ve learned to use in my dance classroom space over the years, whether I’m teaching dance for my studio-based dance classes or for my dance programs in schools.

One simple, effective strategies I use is called “Be Seen Looking.” It is one of the short phrases that was drilled into my head (thankfully) during my intensive classroom teacher residency program. It is a tool I continue to use today to manage my dance classroom.

In Teach Like A Champion 2.0, Be Seen Looking is listed as High Behavioral Expectation Technique #51. This technique is described as a way to, “prevent nonproductive behavior by developing your ability to see it when it happens and by subtly reminding students that you are looking” (p. 387).

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When I was taught this technique, I remember being encouraged to do it overtly and with a flair of drama (which is typically my student when teaching). For example, in the dance classroom, after giving a clear direction or explanation such as, “I’ll know everyone is ready when you are all standing with your feet in first position and your arms in low fifth position (or en bas),” I might lift my chin just a little and simply wait, while checking the position of each student’s feet and arms.

I think this is a powerful technique for many reasons:

  1. It is quiet and doesn’t distract from your lesson.
  2. It gives the dance teacher an opportunity to develop their teacher presence and non-verbal teacher “voice”.
  3. It reminds the students that you care about what they’re doing during class time.
  4. It lets students know that they should be vigilant about listening to directions during class.
  5. It’s easy to remember and simple to implement.

The Be Seen Looking technique is part of a cycle that works to get 100% of students’ attention 100% of the time. Page 387 of Teach Like A Champion 2.0 states:

“Great teachers ensure that they have 100 percent of students with them for the teaching and learning; their expectation is 100 percent of students, 100 percent of the time, 100 percent of the way. Great classroom managers generally step in to address distractions earlier than other teachers, allowing their interventions to be almost imperceptible. The recipe implicit in their success is simple and powerful: catch it early and fix it noninvasively, without breaking the thread of instruction.”

That is my Management Monday tip for today, folks!

What techniques are you using or encouraging teachers at your studio to use manage student behavior and maintain atmospheres that are focused on learning in an engaging and artistic environment? Let me know in the comments!

Dance Daze in Schools

We love being able to teach dance at schools and community centers throughout the Bay Area and the Tri-Valley! Every day, we are working hard to establish more partnerships with preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and even high schools! With the Dance Daze in Schools Program, we aim to provide high quality arts education through classes that are structured, fun, and engaging for students at their own school!

The photos in this post show some fun times we had at a recent Dance Daze in Schools preschool class!

If you are a parent or a school administrator interested in bringing a dance program to your school, contact us today!

(510) 523-2568

info@dancedaze.org

Dance Daze Fairy Tale: A True Story

Once upon a time, there was a brand new dance program in Alameda, California called Dance Daze. It was founded by Saumirah McWoodson, an extremely zestful dancer and educator who had been dancing all over the place since she was 5 years old. Saumirah loved dancing so much that when she grew up, she decided to study ballet in New York City! She became an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher and was so eager to teach dance to children, teens, and adults that she started her own program!

The Dance Daze studio was located within Bridgehead Studio, at 2516 Blanding Avenue in Alameda. The street, like its name suggests, was pretty bland, but the beautiful mosaic on the outside of the building made it sparkle like the diamond it was!

Dance Daze - 2516 Blanding Avenue

 

Slowly, but surely, tons and tons of students of all ages began taking classes at Dance Daze. A trip to the Dance Daze studio was always exciting for everyone, especially because of all the gorgeous art on the walls that was often changing!

Hallway

 

There was a big studio downstairs in the building that Dance Daze students used for large classes of about 10 or more people, but students usually started off taking classes in the smaller studio upstairs. The hardwood floor was simply gorgeous.

Dance Daze Small Studio

 

Parents liked the upstairs studio because there was a comfortable waiting area inside and a lovely rooftop patio outside where they could lay out while their children were in class!

Patio

 

Saumirah somehow eventually got everyone she knew to fall into a dance daze with her! (Maybe it was because she was so dedicated to keeping the world up-to-date with Dance Daze via Facebook and Twitter!) Within a few years, Dance Daze classes were taught all over the United States of America! Many of Saumirah‘s students became professional dancers when they grew up and made enormous amounts of money doing what they loved. Saumirah was happy that she got to pursue her two biggest passions of dance and education and spread them throughout the land. (This made her smile even more than normal, even in her old age.)

Despite all of their crazy successes in life, neither Saumirah nor her students ever forgot about their early experiences that all started when they first walked down the halls of Dance Daze, and they all lived happily ever after.

Exit Sign

 

THE END

Dance Daze After-School Programs

If you’ve been skimming through our site for a while, you know that we often talk about how in addition to training pre-professional dancers at our static location in Hayward, we also go into schools and community centers to teach dance!  It’s one of our favorite things to do!  Check out the (very blurry) video below of Dance Daze classes for beginning dancers in an after-school program! We’ll be posting more videos in the coming weeks, so make sure to keep checking back for updates!