Friday 10 February 2017

TDfU! WOW an Amazing Approach to Teaching Dance! by Elisha O'Lain

By Elisha O'Lain, PE Specialist

The need to knows first; if you do not get past the first paragraph of this blog make sure to check these website resources out!

  1. Teaching Dance for Understanding Website:
  2. Pl3y 3 INC website:
    • Where you can find professional development opportunities
    • And find Dance Pl3y's philosophy

As a middle school physical education team we are always looking for ways to keep out program fresh and ensure we have a scope and sequence in place that engages our students and builds knowledge and basic skill grades 5 through 9.  The Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) Model has been successfully incorporated in our PE program and links directly to inquiry based education a focus in our school board.  As a result of the TGfU model in place in our PE program we were excited to try the Teaching Dance for Understanding Model after being introduced to it through a session at the 2015 HPEC/PHE Canada Conference in Banff.

We introduced the TDfU model in our grade 5, 6 and 7 population this year.  The results were positive and rewarding.  Enjoyment, engagement and learning about the specific aspects of dance all increased in our classes.

The biggest success; students were moving, exploring, taking risks and having fun.  The current music, simplicity, repetition and ability to make each move your own took away anxiety regarding being the focus of others attention.  Students who were reluctant to dance were out on the floor as part of the mass moving and even smiling.

Key explorations that we found to have great impact:
1)  witnessing how students interpret different types of music without the influence of others (moving on the spot with your eyes closed).
2) exploring what emotions or thoughts specific types of music elicit in each of us (through exposure to a wide range of music and group/class discussion)
3) how students demonstrated their interpretation of the elements of dance through movement (use of spots/cards with one element of dance and creating a movement around this element as a pair and then as a group)

The 75 minute workshop attended laid the foundation for being able to introduce the TDfU model.  We are lucky in Alberta to have an amazing resource in Tracy Lockwood a TDfU Master Trainer.  Here website:  

Love the Joy of movement