What All Teachers Can Learn from National Dance Institute

Photo Credit: Melissa Sherwood

Photo Credit: Melissa Sherwood

This September, I had the good fortune to work with outstanding artists/humanitarians at Arts in Action (AIA) in North Carolina as well as Ballet X’s Dance Exchange in Philadelphia. I love bringing National Dance Institute’s (NDI’s) methodology to artist educators and teachers who share my commitment to creating artful positivity in our schools.

In both settings, I kept the ideas and words of our beloved star educator, Shelly Harwayne, close at hand. She beautifully articulates what every teacher can learn from NDI. I hope that you are one of them.

· Never ask students to do things that you are not willing to do yourself.

· Provide students with real-life reasons for working hard.

· Never underestimate the power of demonstration.

· Have high standards and expectations for all.

· Marvel at what students can do.

· Provide lots of ways for students to excel.

· Value second language learning as a strength, not a weakness.

· Teach with voice. (Value passion, humor, and metaphor).

· Offer assessment-driven instruction. (Always keep your eyes on the students).

· Provide supports for “extra-time” kids. (Empower children to take on the role of teacher).

· Create a caring social tone.

· Value the importance of making your teaching public.

· Give children a world-view.

· Trust that intellectual curiosity can be contagious.

· Enrich students’ lives with the visual arts.

· Be joyfully rigorous at all times

· Have zero tolerance for passivity.

· Help children imagine a life doing interesting things.

· Carve out ample time for celebration.

· Appreciate the power of rites of passage in a school.

· Value professional growth as your life-line.

· Don’t teach what you don’t value.

· Embed the teaching of routines into content.

· Communicate clear expectations.

· Demonstrate independence.

· Build strong content knowledge.

· Respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose and discipline

· Comprehend as well as critique.

· Understand other perspectives and cultures.