Magazine article Dance Teacher

A Fresh Look at K-12 Dance Standards

Magazine article Dance Teacher

A Fresh Look at K-12 Dance Standards

Article excerpt

The benefits for K- 12 and private sector educators of The National Standards For Arts Education.

At the second annual Dance Teacher Summer Conference in August, I presented a session entitled "Understanding K-12 National Standards" to an audience consisting of two-thirds studio dance educators and one-third K-12 dance educators. As a teacher who has been consumed by the standards movement for the past seven years, I felt that this topic might be old hat. More than 60 people attended however, eager to absorb information and discuss the fine points of the topic.

My session began with some basic facts and data about standards and how they are used in the classroom. The second part of the session revolved around a discussion of two questions:

1. What do studio teachers need and want to know about standards?

2. How can standards enhance studio practice?

The resulting conversation was lively, insightful and beneficial to all. Here are some highlights.

>>>The National Standards for Arts Education were developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations under a grant from the U.S.

Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The document established content standards in dance, music, theater and visual arts. Most importantly, these standards helped legitimize dance as a course of study on a par with math, science and English that can take place in both the public and private sectors. The standards document is an important advocacy tool.

> > > Partnerships between K- 12 and the private dance education sector are of critical importance in the field of dance education. The participants at Dance Teacher's conference agreed that dance in K-12 and in private studios should be approached as a package, with each sector providing a distinct part of a child's dance education. This can most effectively be accomplished by making sure that all educators have an awareness of what is required of K-12 dance courses. Most school districts have adopted or adapted standards that define learning goals within a content area. A clear understanding of these standards can provide a starting point for discussion between K-12 educators and studio owners on how to optimize students' dance education. This kind of collaboration will also assure parents that they are not paying for something at the studio that their child can already get in school. The different programs should complement each other while serving different goals.

>>>The standards document, which details the importance of dance in a child's education, can also be used for the purpose of marketing a private dance studio. This document can be a particularly important tool in communities where there are no in-school programs. …

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