As the autumn season approaches, dance teachers often find themselves facing the challenge of keeping their students motivated amidst the distractions that come with back-to-school activities and impending holidays. Nurturing and sustaining motivation among your dance students during this season is a crucial part of ensuring their growth and progress. Here are 8 strategies and tips from a teacher's perspective to help you inspire and motivate your students throughout the fall season.
Set Clear Class Goals
Begin by outlining clear and attainable goals for your dance class during the fall. Share these objectives with your students to provide them with a sense of purpose and direction. Having specific goals will keep your students focused and motivated to improve. I like to set a couple of goals for each class during this time and then sit them down and have them help set a couple of goals together as a team. I find this helps them be more invested and engaged in the goals when they have a say in what they are.
Support and Encourage Organization
Teach your students the importance of organization in setting a practice schedule. Encourage them to keep dance journals or digital planners to track their progress, set reminders for practice sessions, and note any inspirations or ideas. IT is important for us to help teach them how to organize their time to set specific practice times and track their progress.
Offer Variety in Dance Styles
Introduce new dance styles or techniques to your students during the fall season. A change in routine can rekindle their enthusiasm for dance. Consider organizing workshops or themed classes to keep things fresh and exciting.- Later in the fall I always love to change it up in my class and teach a different style or a new technique to keep my students interested and excited. I find that just a small tweak in the theming makes a big difference.
Foster a Sense of Community
Promote a sense of community within your dance class. Encourage students to work together and build strong bonds. A supportive and tight-knit dance community can be a significant source of motivation for your students. Fall is a great time for team bonding. Plan some fun activities for your classes to do together to foster a sense of community inside the classroom.
Curate Dance Playlists
As a teacher, you have the opportunity to create inspiring dance playlists for your classes. Select music that resonates with the students and keeps them engaged and energized throughout the session. A great way to do this is to ask them to share their favorite artists and songs so you can create the playlist together.
Acknowledge and Celebrate Progress
Recognize and celebrate your students' achievements, whether they've mastered a new skill, shown dedication by attending class regularly, or have followed the dress code. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in maintaining motivation. I like to acknowledge and reward with high-five cards, buttons, stickers, and shout-outs. I change it up to keep it exciting.
Encourage Mindful Practice
Stress the importance of mindfulness in dance practice. Encourage your students to be present during each session, helping them fully immerse themselves in the joy of dancing and minimizing distractions. This is a really important one right now as students are more stressed than ever. Help them learn how to shift gears away from the stress and focus on the joy of dance.
Maintain a Positive Atmosphere
Create a positive and encouraging atmosphere in your dance class. Your enthusiasm and support will significantly impact your students' motivation levels. Something I see missing in the classroom is seeing students cheer on other students when they go in groups. If your students are not cheering for each other and showing enthusiasm when they are split into groups, that is a great place to start to create a positive atmosphere.
Remember, as a dance teacher, your role goes beyond imparting dance techniques. You also serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for your students. By implementing these strategies and fostering a nurturing environment, you can help your students stay motivated and continue their dance journey with enthusiasm, even in the midst of seasonal distractions. Fall can be a season of growth and progress in dance class, and your guidance plays a pivotal role in making that happen.
Pam Simpson is the founder, president, and driving force behind Forte Arts Center, which was established in Morris, Illinois in 1993. In addition to building her business from a small, one room studio to a large, multi-location organization that offers dance, tumbling and cheer programs as well as private music lessons, Pam is a leading force in the realm of small business ownership in the dance and tumbling industries as she travels all over the country speaking to and educating for large organizations such as Rhee Gold Company, Dance Teacher Summit, and More Than Just Great Dancing. When not working on her businesses, Pam enjoys spending time with her family and visiting her daughter, who is a performer at Walt Disney World.