With the hiatus that COVID has given (ok forced upon) the entire dance community, smart teachers are taking advantage of this opportunity to reflect, reassess their goals, and upgrade their WCS teaching.
Even if you are not back to actively teaching yet, take advantage of the extra time you have (due to not social dancing) to:
- Research and study new ideas to teach WCS more effectively and plan their implementation without any pressure or schedule yet.
- Experiment with new ideas on your small group of patient and forgiving students who are just happy to be starting classes again.
- Prepare your teaching business in advance to ride the inevitable wave of new dancers that will emerge after COVID.
So to facilitate this reflection/reassessment/refresh, here's Part 1 of a 3 part series on...
My discovery of a key element to “teach WCS smarter”
When I started coaching swimming at 14, I had an a-mazing coach and mentor named Taimi MacMillan (pronounced "TY-mee"). Her skills at coaching coaches were outstanding, and after a few years there were more teen swimmers who were interested in taking leadership in the club.
But there was only so much of Taimi to go around. I recognized that there was a limit to how we all could benefit from her wisdom, because there was no system in place to formally train and organize these rogue rookie coaches.
So I created a system.
To deliver this system, at 16, I co-published a training manual and clinic for volunteer swim coaches which was later adopted by the provincial association.
And this kinda became my M.O.
Since then, I've made a career out of analyzing and upgrading training systems for sport and building them from scratch.
I noticed it was much easier for teachers and coaches to improve their skills when they were building off an established system. It was easier to attract and motivate students within a system. It was beautiful to watch clubs, teams, and classes flourish when they had a pedagogically-sound structure at their core.
The secret was the system.
The difference a system makes in teaching WCS
Without a system
It’s a lot harder to be effective as a WCS teacher:
- WCS teachers often tell us they “feel like they’re “flying blind”, and are nervous that students can smell their lack of focus.
- Many are confused, wondering which advice to follow
- Many feel overwhelmed wondering what to teach each week
- They feel anxious when students ask questions they don’t know the answer to or have errors that they don’t know how to fix.
- It’s frustrating to them when students stop practicing or stop coming to class.
- They are stressed out, wondering if they’re going to have enough students to fill their next class.
With a comprehensive system
- WCS teachers have more confidence because they have a plan to follow instead of flying blind.
- Teachers are less stressed because they are leveraging the system: they don’t have to wonder what to teach, in what order, or which “version” is better.
- Teachers feel more certainty on how to incorporate their own ideas to adapt and modify the core system.
- Students feel more confident because they can see how all the parts fit together and where they stand.
- Students are more motivated because they see measurable results of their efforts
- Students trust that the teacher can provide what they are looking for, so they stay longer… and they bring friends.
From sport to school to dance, I wanted to be like Taimi and I wanted to create a system where everyone could experience a coach like Taimi.
Do you have a system for how you teach WCS?
If so, your next step is to start to analyze that system and make sure it is as effective as possible...which is what we will do next, so keep reading!
If you don’t have a system, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered as we’ve spent over 20 years creating what we believe is the most comprehensive and effective WCS teaching system in the world.
If you're not sure, we'll define what systems should ideally include so you can assess what you've got.
"Finally, a relevant PRO invented a digestible system... no need for us to reinvent the wheel and develop our own from a mish mash Frankenstein collection! (unless you WANT to go through all that unnecessary rigamarole). For myself, since I did go through the labor of creating a program, it was still invaluable. It helped me to see where I had holes or where a different sequencing was needed."
"I am so thankful I invested in the Swing Literacy Teacher Development Program. This course is as developed and in-depth as college courses I have taken online. It has given me the confidence to know that I am presenting my students with all the tools they need to dance WCS authentically and effectively. I have already had great feedback from students telling me that they are finally learning connection, elasticity, and other vital techniques that often get skipped in other classes. To anyone looking to get certified to teach WCS, this comprehensive program is the way to go!"
What makes a teaching system most effective?
Before we show you our system, it is important to understand what makes a teaching system most effective.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to evaluate the effectiveness of our system OR your own, right?
So PART 2 of this article series, we discuss the top priority elements that make a teaching system most effective.
There's more where this came from in our Teachers' Insiders Club:
Enter your email to get in, and we'll send you occasional free teaching tips and discounts for teacher trainings and other products we have vetted and feel are worth sharing with you.
Already have a system?
If you already have a system that you are really proud of, we get it. You deserve credit for being ahead of the game. Great job!!!
At the same time, don’t let that stop you from upgrading it even further to make sure it’s making your life easier and helping your students improve as fast as possible.
Here are some quick ways to decide if your system could use an upgrade:
- If your students are struggling to implement what you are teaching them
- If you wish students would appreciate technique more and not just patterns
- If you’re struggling to get more students to finish a beginner series
- If you’re exhausted by all the conflicting information about WCS
- If you’re running out of ideas on how to fix certain students’ errors
- If you feel like you’re on a treadmill, teaching the same content over and over
...your system could use an upgrade! Check out Part 2: Top Priorities to Refresh and Rebuild your WCS Teaching after COVID