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Teachers: Tired? Here’s how to motivate yourself and your students

Did you know that one of human’s basic needs is having a sense of control and autonomy in life?

It’s no secret that as humans we need a number of essentials to survive.

Can you name a few?

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter

Abraham Maslow, developed a guideline for human needs as part of his exploration into human motivation.

The American Psychologist differentiated needs as deficiency needs and self-actualisation (the need for development and creativity).

Traditionally dance has been taught from military model, with strong emphasis on role power. As opposed to personal power, which is our ability to have an effect and to have influence.

If we’re always being directive in nurturing our students, are we really giving them room to grow as performers?

For students to dance smarter, they need opportunities and time to think and explore for themselves.

Can you remember the environment you grew up in as a dancer?

Some of the beliefs you may have internalised as a result might include:

  • Students shouldn’t talk or interrupt, especially in ballet.
  • Students have very little control.
  • What students wear and where they stand should be decided for them.

All you could do was comply.

It comes back to that old saying: “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life“…

With this in mind, refreshing your teaching could mean having your own needs met as well as those of your students.

It is essential to create a quiet space in which to evaluate the things in your life

Marie Kondo

Less is more.

With simplicity and clarity in your teaching, not only can students focus more on their development, you will have more energy to help them discover their potential.

What would you change if you could go back to being that young dancer?

By giving students a bit of control back, they are able to get into approach mode, where instead of being motivated to avoid something bad happening, they are motivated to really go after their goals.

When your motivation is changed to approach, not only will you give students more chance of fulfilling their potential, you as a teacher will become more effective.

With a few changes in your vocabulary, instead of automatically giving a correction, you can help your students to build self-awareness, allowing them to think and problem solve.

For some effective strategies to get you started, download this helpful cheat-sheet

Even more importantly, giving your students more responsibility for their progress will free up some energy for you to thrive as well!

What if you could create a class and studio environment in which your students maximise their performance AND their wellness?

For further guidance visit for our exclusive teachers’ course: StageMinded Teaching.

For teachers, as for students, the most effective form of evaluation is someone who sits beside us and helps us grow.

Carol Ann Tomlinson

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