10 Ways to Empower a Student Teacher

By Smagatz-Rawlinson, Diane | Dance Teacher, August 2017 | Go to article overview

10 Ways to Empower a Student Teacher


Smagatz-Rawlinson, Diane, Dance Teacher


At Wheeling High School in the Chicago area where I teach, more than 85 percent of the students are taking their first dance class. My advice to any new student teacher is: Avoid assuming that students already know how to count music, travel in lines, recognize terminology or even understand basic classroom etiquette.

Student teachers here lead four or five classes every day in dance and/or physical education for 8 to 15 weeks, depending on university requirements. Here are some of the ways I help prepare them for success.

1 I ask new student teachers to take classes in something they don't know before they teach class. It's difficult for them to sympathize with complete beginners if they can't relate to being a novice again instead of the expert.

2 Since public-school classes are brief (35-45 minutes), we focus on weekly objectives and physical preparation for the daily activities. Attendance sheets with student photos help new student teachers Jearn names quickly.

3 I have them teach a few classes before they observe me teaching. As a mentor my goal is to help them develop their own style, not to be my clone. I don't want them second-guessing their approach if it differs from mine.

4 Be sure to give student teachers specific feedback about why something does or does not work. I'm also sure to point out any descriptive language, Imagery-even effective jokes-that connected with the group.

5 Don't be afraid to let your student teacher struggle and even make mistakes. Afterward, we mutually analyze the situation, and I listen to their reflection and solution.

6 At least once, "map" their floor pattern-diagram where they walk in the classroom, stop to demonstrate or provide a correction. …

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