I thoroughly enjoyed being able to learn and work with Dr. Melayne Dixon and colleague Angelica Bell during my time in dance education. Below is my reflection on the time spent in this class.
Being a graduate student taking an undergraduate course felt very overwhelming at first. I was trying to figure out my grove in course work as well attempting to engage and get to know the undergraduate students in a peer-to-peer way. What were very helpful in decreasing the anxiety in the start up of this course were the conversations Dr. Dixon, Angelica Bell, and I held, and the relationship Angelica and I built as future educators throughout the semester. In the first meeting with Dr. Dixon, we discussed requirements for us as well as her need for us to help her with areas we find to need extra support. I also appreciated her introducing Angelica and me as her grad assistance so the students could conceptualize the roles we had in the course. As a graduate student doing a directed teaching I was responsible for students attendance during field trips, email communication for course work, phone calls that were about assignments and attendance on field trips, write a midterm reflection on the book assigned to us, and a finals reflection paper. To add to my duties, I would take pictures in any event or class we have and place them in Buckeye box. At The Ohio State University, dance students are required to have a blog for their portfolio. With this in mind, documenting experiences for students is an awesome way for them to express and remember what they earn. It was my hope the students could use it to look back at their experience and appreciate all that they’ve done. In addition to documenting student’s activities, I would help Dr. Dixon with Carmen questions and act as a liaison for students concerns in her course work. . .
As a student, the requirements for success in this course were to attend class, pass quizzes, attend field trips and write a reflection, teach a course, and engage in conversation and discussion in class. This class gave me a front row seat in how undergraduate students feel about their coursework and instructor. Since I was a part of the classroom discussion and reading the similar articles to them, I was able to converse with them and gain their understanding of the course work at hand. . .
I this course we had to teach a technique class to one another. For my class, I decided to teach Kou Kou and choreography using African-Popular dance moves. In preparation for this class, I researched the history and origins of this dance. I also looked at how other instructors (including ones I’ve learned under) taught this course. Most of my information came from my previous experience in African dance, Youtube, and former instructors I’ve had in the past. For my in class prep, I had two notecards to keep me on track with choreography and dance moves I wanted to teach for the day. I made sure my movement stacked on one another. I did this for my beginning level dancers so they can grasp the concepts. I introduced how to tie a Lapa (skirt) and talked through the history of Kou Kou and proper attire for the course. We do a very shorten warm-up which is a piece of the Caulker technique. Momma Fern Caulker, founder of Ko-Thi African Dance group in Milwaukee, WI taught us this technique to get up in our bodies and ready for African movement. It consisted of rebounds (repetitive buoyance plié’s and on balls of feet), high knee, and creasing or sitting in oneself. After this, we went to the floor and did some movement to traditional drums. I started with a slow beat to get them familiarize to the movement, and then I sped it up in the end. After this, we came to the center to learn the favorite dance of West African in choreography. I used Afro-Beat music mixed in with our pop culture music in America. I did this to keep students engaged. As an instructor, this was my very first time teaching college students African dance. I was very pleased with how I maintain the flow that was going because I do tend to talk a lot while teaching. I would say I wish that I could pull more energy out of the students more, even though it’s 8:30 am on a Monday.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning and growing in Dance Education during my Direct Teaching term. I’ve learned how to manage college student and course work, stiffen through complaints and solutions with students, learned the in’s and out’s of education and dance and how they connect in many forms, and how to be myself in a Higher Education environment. I could see myself teaching this and other subjects in the future. I am appreciative of the support and the relationship I’ve built with Dr. Dixon and Angelica throughout this semester.