COUNTDOWN TO 2017 #3: Put a Lid on Motormouth Minis

We’re counting down to January 1st with great ideas for your studio and teaching practice in the new year. Check back each day for a new tip!

No specific classroom etiquette is categorically right or wrong for every studio. But clarifying what your rules are and how they’ll be implemented—to students, parents and staff—ensures a consistent, effective learning environment for your dancers.

The problem: “My minis won’t stop talking, no matter how many times I ask them to be quiet.”

The solution: Change the way you respond to their misbehavior. Instead of simply reprimanding your students, help them understand why talking detracts from their learning. Maria Konrad, assistant director at the Florida School for Dance Education, wipes out classroom conversation by involving her dancers in the solution. “If everyone is talking, I have the students go outside,” she says. “Then, as they enter one at a time, I ask if they will sit quietly. That gives them investment in the process.”

She also notes that oftentimes, the most talkative students are simply smart children needing more challenges. “I have to find ways to make my class move at a faster pace for them,” she says. “I also find a moment when the kid is behaving exactly the way they should be, and I praise them for it right then and there in front of everyone.”

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