As a school teacher, I’m always looking for ways to fully engage students in their lessons. This summer, while teaching summer school, I taught my students how exercise helps their brains. As a reward for doing great on a lesson, the children would get to run a lap around the playground. For brain breaks, we would do push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. in the classroom. It was the first time in my life I had to tell people, “No, I know you want to do more push-ups, but let’s sit down now and study more phonics.” The fitness trainer in me was extremely conflicted!
Last week, I took a fabulous workshop about how a story can be read, told or acted out – the latter being the most memorable for children. I concur completely. Children will remember a historical figure better if they acted out the person’s life, rather than just read a book or were told a story about the person. They will also remember a foreign language better with physical movements.
Physical and theatrical learning work! For the last six years, there have been a group of scientists and athletes who explain their Ph.D. research in dance. It’s called Dance Your Ph.D. There is prize money for five categories: physics, chemistry, biology, social sciences, and the best dance of the year. Think about this: math and science artistically explained through dance.
Check out a fabulous explanation here: Dance versus Powerpoint. This talk drives home the point that very complex ideas and lessons can be broken down and simply communicated through physical expression, not just pen and paper. This very funny one is the 2014 winner of the year. Scroll down to the middle of the page to watch the sperm competition.
What else could we learn, teach and communicate if we did it through dance? Think about turf wars in break dancing, passion in tango, and excitement in Lindy Hop. Emotions, new information and self expression, all through dance. Try it with your children and see…