Monday, January 14, 2013

The Power Of Two

It is a truism that two can do more than one. Two pair of eyes see more than one, two brains can search for better solutions than one. If you are two teachers in class, you can split even split the existing tasks - taking care of music, counting in, explaining, rotating partners, etc and have a lot easier life. But there is more to having two teachers than it just being easier and more fun for us.

I often got and sometimes still get asked to teach alone some place. Some organizers tell me to "just take a good follow" to demonstrate the material. This often seems to happen due to financial reasons. 
To me lindy hop is a couple dance with two equal roles. While we like to talk about leaders and followers, first of all a dancing couple exists out of two dancers. Having only one role present implies that one role is less important than the other role. I have seen many leaders teach alone, but only very rarely followers. Maybe this is one of the reasons why so many people that dance the follow part stop earlier with classes than leaders. If you want both sides to learn and get better, you will need to teach both sides equally.

The funny thing is that having two people teach actually has learning implications. For one, there is a role model for each role. Both sides have someone to look at and be inspired by, it is a motivator.
The other less known fact about two teachers is about attention. Attention is necessary, else the information you try to get across will be lost. Studies have shown that attention is time limited. But if there is occasionally a change, the attention can stay longer. Switching who is talking back and forth in class makes listening easier and will keep your students attention longer.