Dance ED Tip #27:
3 ways professional development for dance teachers needs to improve

April 24, 2018 - Olivia Mode-Cater

 
Like many of you, I have gone to my fair share of professional development sessions. As a K-12 teacher, I have gone to many general education workshops where the content didn’t feel very relevant to what I do in the classroom and, on my own, I had to try to make connections to the methods and strategies being presented. As a dance teacher, I have also attended quite a few dance-specific professional development workshops. For some of them I left feeling invigorated and excited, but for many others I have left feeling frustrated that I didn’t leave with more information than I came with.    
 
When I created Dance ED Tips, my mission was to create programs, events, and resources that addressed the frustrations I was dealing with. Here are the 3 main concerns I wanted to tackle:
 
 
1. Professional development for dance teachers by dance teachers.  
I am tired of going to workshops that are not led by dance professionals or dance professionals who do not have experience in the types of places I work in. Dance ED Tips workshops, events, and programing, however, is all led by seasoned dance teachers who have worked in multiple settings with varying populations and age groups. The tips that I share come from people who actively work in the field and understand the joys and struggles of being a dance teacher.  
 
2. Professional development needs to be solutions-based, not problem-based.  
This was a main frustration of mine. I would go to workshops that would bring up excellent concerns that I dealt with, but by the end of the workshop we still had only talked about the problem and not the solutions. Some problems are big and can’t be solved in 1 workshop, but I still wanted the opportunity to brainstorm some potential answers with the other teachers in the room. At Dance ED Tips, I give you strategies that have worked for me and when I don’t have the answers I turn to you and the other incredible educators in our community to see what other possible solutions are out there.  
 
3.  The methods and strategies shown in professional development workshops should be able to be applied quickly and work in real classrooms.  
 
This was the final frustration for me. Some workshops did provide great solutions; however, applying them would require lots of planning and restructuring, which were things I just didn’t have the time for. That’s why I called my company Dance ED Tips, and not Dance ED strategies. Tips are quick, simple, and easy to use. All the resources I share with you are ones that work and that you can quickly imbed them into your classroom. This gives you the time and energy to focus on other important things going on in your life.  
 
 
All of these issues are things I kept in mind when designing my summer workshop: How to Improve Students’ Dance Technique.  In this 3-hour solution-based workshop, you will be led by an experienced teacher (me!) who will teach you strategies that work and that can be used in your classroom the next day. In celebration of National Dance Week I’m offering a $10 off coupon for anyone who signs up by April 29th! The code is DANCEWEEK. This discount paired with the early bird pricing makes it a really great deal.a I only have 30 spots for this workshop so make sure you sign up before it sells out!
 
Happy Teaching!
Olivia