Teaching in Primary Schools
15 October 2018
Two teachers report on teaching dance in primary schools and the ISTD’s Spring Programme course on introducing the new National Primary Class Examination
From Vanessa Pesci
We were very fortunate to be taught the entirety of this new syllabus by Barbara Simons, who was responsible for writing this new examination. Not only was her delivery very clear but it was also heartening to hear that her emphasis was on encouraging us to find the ‘fun’ in the content, to inspire our young dancers. As a teacher who has not previously been involved with the National Faculty this was a brilliant introduction and I am certainly looking forward to teaching this within my Key Stage1 lessons.
The afternoon session was led by Pippa Cobbing, Ballet teacher and Primary Steps Programme Manager at The Royal Ballet School. She led a very interesting workshop on teaching within the primary school setting. Areas of focus were how to adapt teaching across differing year groups, managing challenging behaviours and classroom strategies. Her passion for making dance accessible within the curriculum was obvious and as a teacher who is already delivering dance in many curriculum settings I have certainly got lots of fresh ideas to take back to my schools.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I would definitely recommend keeping a look out for similar workshops being hosted by the National Faculty.
The course has given me a clearer understanding of how best to approach schools to encourage greater dance participation
From Claire Targonski
As a student teacher, studying DDE Modern, I was looking forward to doing some National dancing again and learning about how best to work dance into Primary schools. I wasn’t disappointed. Barbara Simons was an enthusiastic teacher who took us through the new syllabus, explaining how best to work with primary school age children and what had driven the changes to the syllabus. We spent the morning having fun galloping, clapping and dancing in groups and getting creative with rhythm. We had the opportunity to review the syllabus as a whole, courtesy of four volunteers performing it from start to finish.
The afternoon was then spent with Pippa Cobbing who explained the complexities of The Royal Ballet School outreach programme, how schools and dance teachers can work together towards building an inclusive and greater focus on dance and finishing by taking us through a practical introductory dance lesson for six year olds. Lastly we had the opportunity to plan a lesson based on that lesson structure, which was very useful to take away.
It was a busy day, but the course overall was a well balanced mix of practical and theoretical learning that has given me plenty of ideas for primary dance classes as well as a clearer understanding of how best to approach schools to encourage greater dance participation. I’d certainly attend another one.