Do you wish dancers would take more of your lessons and focus more on what you are teaching them?
Whether you are teaching dance online or in person...
...it is frustrating when you know you have really important and valuable information to share and yet your students don't seem to get it. When they attend your lesson but don't really pay attention, or when they start attending less often, or even completely stop attending...
Ugh! That sucks!
If they could just understand how important and helpful what you have to share with them is, right!
Today, I want to share with you what I consider the #1 most vital concept to improve & inspire your students...
...so they become captivated with your lessons and keep coming back for more.
The concept below might seem obvious but...
...58% of teachers surveyed don't plan for this at all, very few plan it well, and even those that do can still improve in this concept.
Don't let the obvious nature of this concept stop you from taking action! Make sure you are implementing and improving on it!
In this article, after I share this concept with you...
...then I'll give you an example (the Show & Go) so you can see this concept in action, along with some tips to improve your implementation of the Show & Go.
Finally, I'll share a document with you to make it easy for you to start preparing to implement this concept right away.
But first, please allow me to build up to sharing this concept by asking you a question (or two) and sharing some survey results that I get from teachers all around the world when I ask this question. That way you can understand how well you are already doing with this concept. This can help you decide whether or not to skim the rest of this article, or read every single detail.
Feel like you aren't good enough to teach yet?
If you feel you aren't that great of a dancer or teacher yet, I know how that feels! Don't worry, this will help you too!
I started out as a really really "bad" dancer, you know the “yank-your-arm-off” dancer that many people avoided dancing with...
Still, I eventually got to a point where I have now had some of the best dancers/teachers in the world take my trainings (teachers in Lindy Hop, WCS, Fusion, and a whole lot more). Follow the strategies below and you'll be one step closer to getting there, maybe sooner than you think!
Alright, let's get back to how to drastically improve and inspire your students.
Let's start by asking the following question:
What specific methods do you already use that are designed to improve &/or inspire your students?
Can you come up with at least 5 in the next 60 seconds?
Go ahead, set a timer and try it out. We'll wait 😉
If you came up with 5 or more in less than 60 seconds, great job!
You are ahead of the pack and can probably skim the rest of this message (although a refresher ain't a bad idea).
If not, don't worry, you aren't uncommon.
I ask this question to all the teachers I'm thinking of working with in more depth and just over 58% (yeah, my engineering brain had to go check the exact numbers)...
...over 58% of teachers surveyed don't have any methods yet, and very few can confidently say they have more than 5.
Here are just a few of the most common responses I've seen:
So you can see, often dance instructors either only have a few options or they don't yet know what this means.
Most instructors are just winging it and hoping that their lessons will improve and inspire their students.
This is what I call a "hope and pray" method.
Of course, it might work…
...but I wouldn't bet on it!
This is just leaving it to chance.
While this is the norm, doesn't it make complete sense that...
If you don't have methods that are specifically designed to improve and inspire your students, you are drastically less likely to improve and inspire your students.
And the flip side is true too:
If you have lots of methods that are specifically designed to improve and inspire your students, you are drastically more likely to improve and inspire your students!
This is so important, it is worth repeating (and maybe even re-tweeting).
"If you have lots of methods that are specifically designed to improve and inspire your students, you are drastically more likely to improve and inspire your students!" Andrew Sutton #DanceNinjas
So I bet you can now guess what my single biggest piece of advice is going to be for this article...
But I won't make you guess.
My single biggest piece of advice is...
Start building a database of methods that are designed to improve &/or inspire your students.
(I'll share an example below).
Imagine the difference your lessons will have when you start making sure that every 60 minute lesson you teach includes 5 - 10 methods designed to improve &/or inspire your students.
Imagine the power of teaching a lesson where within the first 8 minutes, you've already used 3 of these methods and now your students are chomping at the bit to dive deep into a technique that they otherwise would have complained is boring.
Now you've got them wanting and craving for technique lessons instead of dreading them!
Imagine the day when you have 50+ methods to choose from and they are so ingrained in your teaching that you don't even have to think about using them.
Improvement & inspiration just spills out of your teaching at every moment of every lesson...
That is where I want you to get as a teacher!
And now that you've read this, you are ahead of the pack and on the path towards constant improvement and inspiration!
Now you might be wondering "What are these methods to improve and inspire?", so let's take a look at one!
The Show & Go
This is where you show the move (or concept/technique) twice and only twice, and then let your students try it.
No explanations, just show it twice and let them try. Failure is totally acceptable, let them try!
Why does the Show & Go improve & inspire your students?
First, let’s break things down into 3 different scenarios.
Let's look at each of these scenarios to see how the Show & Go Method improves & inspires in each scenario.
How Each of the 3 Scenarios Improves & Inspires Your Students
1. Your student gets it right away
If your student gets it right away, you save yourself the time you would have taken to break it down.
This means you are able to teach them more and much faster, thereby improving them more and much faster...
...which is also very inspiring.
Wasting time is a drag on inspiration. Saving time is a boost!
2. Your student does NOT get it at all
If your student does not get it at all, and then you break it down for them and they eventually get it, you've just proven to them that you improved their dancing.
Along with clearly improving them, the feeling of struggling and struggling and finally accomplishing something is much more inspiring than accomplishing something without ever having struggled.
3. Your student gets some but not all of it
If your students get some but not all of it, you can pinpoint your instruction so you are only teaching them how to fix the exact thing they aren't quite getting yet.
This means you aren't wasting time teaching them the parts they already know which means they will learn faster...
...which as mentioned earlier is inspiring on its own.
Plus, it makes you look like a genius when you can pinpoint the specific issues they are having, and having a genius instructor is very inspiring too!
Do you see how powerful the Show & Go teaching method can be?
If not, read the tips below, as they might provide some clarification for you.
Otherwise, read the tips below to ensure you are implementing the Show & Go effectively.
Here are some tips to make sure it goes well:
Show & Go - Tips To Improve Implementation
Tell your students you are about to do a Show & Go and make sure they know what that means. This isn't a test to see if they are paying attention, so make it clear that they should pay close attention.
You can say "We're going to do a Show & Go. That means I'm going to show you this move twice and only twice. Then I'm going to have you try it out before I break it down. So pay close attention. Ok, everyone ready?"
After you show it once, tell them you are only going to show it one more time.
You can say "To be clear, I'm only going to show you this move one more time and then I'm going to have you try it out. Everyone ready?"
Once your students are used to this method, you can just say "Let's do a Show & Go. Everyone ready?"
Depending on the move, change your presentation angle on the 2nd 'show' so they see it from another angle.
Show it slowly so they have time to process it. It doesn't need to be super slow, just try not to rush it.
Choose something that you can successfully teach them by the end of class. It is not very inspiring to see something cool and then never be able to do it. It is ok if they can't do it perfectly, but they should feel like they can do it to some degree.
Choose something that looks good/cool/inspiring. You are asking them to try it without giving much explanation about the value of being able to do this, so if it doesn't look exciting, you will have less buy-in.
There can be exceptions to this guideline when you are stacking this teaching method with another inspirational teaching method but on its own, it works best when teaching something that looks appealing to the eye.
Just like anything, it is possible to overuse this, which could decrease the inspirational aspect of it. Find the balance that works for your students.
Thank You Joe Demers!
Thank you to Joe Demers from Denver, Colorado for teaching me the Show & Go many years ago.
While I have created many methods myself, I also learned many of them from amazing teachers that I've met along my travels to over 244 cities in 38 countries to teach and research dance. I try to credit them as much as possible, as having those examples has helped me to better create my own.
Do You Already Use The Show & Go?
If so, that is great!
I wouldn't be surprised if you already use a few more methods that improve/inspire your students without even realizing it. Often teachers do. That said, a key element to going from good to great and making every lesson you teach a raving success, is knowing your lessons are jam packed with these methods...
...not just assuming you'll use them if you wing it.
So how do you know?
Prepare For Every Lesson To Kick-Ass!
Whether you realized this before or not, hopefully you are now at least starting to understand the importance of using methods to improve and inspire your students in every lesson.
Your next step is to make this concept easier for you to implement.
To do this, I keep a database of all my methods so I can quickly review them before my lesson and decide which ones I definitely want to include in the lesson and where I want to use them. I even did that with this article.
Sometimes I'll spontaneously add a few methods during the lesson, or switch which ones I'm using, but I find my classes always end up drastically more effective when I plan ahead of time and then adjust when necessary instead of just starting the lesson and hoping I'll implement some of my methods naturally.
If you aren't already doing this, let's get you started!
Important Tip - Review Your Database Before Each Lesson
- Keep a database of all your methods to improve & inspire your students.
- Before each lesson, review your database.
- Decide which methods you definitely want to include in that lesson and where you want to use them.
- Be willing and ready to spontaneously add or switch methods during class when it makes sense for your students.
Create Your Database
If you haven't already created a database of methods to improve and inspire your students, here is a spreadsheet you can use to start building your database.
Add the Show & Go method to your database so you can be sure you don't forget it.
Once you have 50+ methods, you'll likely start to forget some really friggin' powerful ones, and checking your database will feel like stumbling on these treasures all over again.
It'll be like having access to birthday presents all year round!
Want To Learn More Methods To Improve & Inspire?
My upcoming Premium Private Lessons Program is going to cover a lot of these methods to improve & inspire your students, as they are a key element of teaching premium private lessons.
Your Next Steps
If you want dancers to take more of your lessons and value your teaching more...
Your next steps are really simple!
Start your journey to becoming an "uncommon" teacher with 50+ methods to improve and inspire your students so improvement & inspiration just spills out of your teaching at every moment of every lesson!
Follow the 3 steps below and get started:
1. Add the "Show & Go" to your database
Add the "Show & Go" teaching method to your database of methods that both improve & inspire your students.
Feel free to use this handy dandy "Improve & Inspire Database" Template that I've already started for you. It already has the Show & Go filled in so you can see exactly how I recommend you fill in your database.
2. Videotape yourself using the Show & Go during your next lesson
It will probably go great but in the off chance that it doesn't, you can review that portion of class to see what went wrong and figure out how to fix it for next time.
If you are teaching on Zoom, be sure to record both your screen and your student's screen so you can re-watch their experience and look for improvements based on the 8 Show & Go Tips shown above.
If it doesn't work, don't immediately throw it out!
First, try to fix it!
If a dance move doesn't work the first time you try it, you don't immediately throw it out right? This is a vital difference between average instructors and great instructors. Average instructors 'fail' and decide it doesn't work. Great instructors will try again and again, making the appropriate adjustments until they make it work (just like great dancers do in their dancing).
One way to make this easier on yourself is to share your 'failures' with a mentor and get guidance on what you can adjust to make it work. You will be able to do this with me during my upcoming Premium Private Lessons Program.
Prep yourself ahead of time and videotape a Show & Go (or several).
3. Continue to add methods to improve & inspire to your database
If you already have more methods to improve & inspire your students, add those to your database too.
Every time you learn a new method, add that to your database.
Let's fill it up with 50+ methods so you never forget any of these valuable teaching methods and are always a few minutes away from a kick-ass successful lesson that keeps your students coming back for more.
4. Request the details for the Premium Private Lessons Program!
Ok, you don't technically have to do this last step (or any of them, as of course it is your choice).
That said, it will teach you many more methods to improve & inspire your students...
...and I am only taking a maximum of 20 people into this first version of the program (as I'm doing some pretty crazy guarantees that require a small group for me to ensure everyone is successful)...
...so if you want to be one of the first to know when I open it, request more details about the Premium Private Lesson Program!
The Premium Private Lessons Program
Sign up to stay informed for when it opens and get some free teaching tips in the meantime.
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