The majority of parents want 'Qualified Teachers' to teach their children ballet or dance, but, there's more to being a good teacher than following a syllabus.
A poll last found that the majority of parents wanted ‘qualified teachers’ to teach their children. Unsurprising really, until you consider what that word ‘qualified’ really means.
Our success lies in the quality and expertise of our teachers, with all having a teaching qualification. So what makes a good teacher? They have four characteristics.
First, they love dance and have excellent knowledge (the two go together). Research shows qualities of the best teachers and this came top of the list.
Good knowledge on ballet matters not only because at the top of the ability range you need to be able to stretch pupils but also because teachers with good knowledge tend to make lessons for younger children more interesting. They have more substance to be interesting about.
Secondly, they need to have the right personality. Teaching is partly acting, and acting ability helps greatly. Above all you need to be able to control a class, because without good discipline it difficult to achieved in dance.
But the best teachers are the ones that can connect with the children 1 to 1 as well as a group and have respect along with a proffesional manner and the right qualifications.
There are other personality traits that matter too. Good ballet teachers are very hard working, putting a huge effort into preparing dance lessons, noting each child’s ability and giving extra time to children who need it.
They are able to manage stress. They are passionate about their ballet school and their dance students, keen for all to do well. They are highly organised, because switching in a few seconds from one class to another, keeping track of individuals, remembering which extra duties need to be done - all this requires good organisation for a ballet teacher.
Thirdly, they need to have certain teaching skills. This is why all ‘unqualified’ teachers need some training, both before they start and throughout their few terms of teaching.
They need to be shown how to deliver a lesson with pace and interest, how to use their knowledge effectively, how best to teach tricky dance moves, how to learn the dance language, how to ask questions of dancers in the most effective way.
Finally, they need to have high expectations of their ballet dancers. This is a characteristic of all the best dance teachers. They are determined that every dancer will master ballet or jazz or their chosen dance style.
This attitude sets the scene for everything.