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J M (Mike) Nelson
Phone: 612-810-0157

Ways to Minimize Learning in a Partner Dance Lesson

It is easy for the teacher to frustrate and discourage the student because the student naively presumes that the teacher knows what they are doing. Therefore, if they cannot progress as expected, they assume that is their fault rather than the teacher's. For partner dance lessons, more often than not it is the teacher, not the student, who is primarily at fault for the pervasive frustration and lack of progress. Here are some ways to assure that your students do not retain much, thus will need more lessons more often. In the case of dance teaching, incompetence seems profitable.

Overload Short-Term Memory. One way to assure maximum frustration and minimize learning is to be sure to give directives that contain more items than the students can recall. Not only will they be frustrated, but their capacity to recall will be reduced, they will not be able to perform, and, since they will likely assume that the teacher knows what they are doing, they will feel incapable, more insecure, and might even give up.

Ignore the Law of Readiness. Another way to minimize learning is to ask the student to do something for which they are not prepared. Learning new behaviors has prerequisites, and if the students does not have the prerequisite knowledge and skill to follow your directives, they will be further frustrated and their feelings of inadequacy will escalate.

Limit Practice. Move on to another variation as soon as the class can replicate, and you will assure that they will not retain the lesson. Never allow them to practice past the point of mastery, otherwise they might retain too much and not need so many more lessons. Also, make sure that they feel increasingly inadequate by telling them how smart they are and how many more steps you can cover because they pick up things so quickly. That way you make them feel like they are getting their money's worth while making sure that they don't learn much.

Never Provide Resources. Since few students engage in independent study, by not providing resources, retention aids, or even an outline, your students will be less likely to retain what you present, they will not learn, and they will need more lessons.

Caveat! Hope that they never encounter a competent teacher who knows enough about learning to design a lesson where actual learning can occur, but don't worry too much about that . Most partner dance teachers are likely as egocentric, self-absorbed, and presumptuous as you, so they, too, aren't likely to teach very much.

Good News. The traditional dance curriculum is designed to limit learning; follow it religiously, and you will continue to alienate some and frustrate the others and get continued business from those who are too ignorant to recognize your incompetence. Dance Home Page Dance Curriculum Dance Articles

Copyright (c) 2006, J. M. Nelson. All rights reserved. Reproduction of contents prohibited without prior permission from the author.