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Teaching Philosophy

Dance is an art form that enables us to study ourselves and communicate with each other without even realizing it.  As an educator, I believe students should be given the opportunity to develop their innate talents. I encourage students to tap into their natural desire to create, and nurturing this process gives them the tools they need to become independent and analytical thinkers.  By challenging them to apply their knowledge in new ways, we can foster opportunities for self-expression and risk-taking through art-making.


My teaching approach focuses on building human connections to foster empathy and relationships inside and outside the classroom.  I am committed to creating a community approach that balances technique and theory with creative expression and the development of choreography to demonstrate how the art of movement can be used to decolonize codified language.  By creating a respectful and validating environment, I make sure to set aside time at the beginning and end of each class for individual and group reflection on learned knowledge.  I am invested in every student and work hard to build a sense of community in the classroom.


Establishing a safe, inclusive, and stimulating environment is a top priority in my classroom.  As one of the most personal and vulnerable forms of art, dance requires a space where trust, respect, and encouragement are abundant.  I strive to recognize and celebrate each student's uniqueness and tailor my instruction to accommodate different learning styles and abilities to ensure that dance education is accessible to everyone.  Collaboration is at the heart of my teaching approach.  Peer learning in dance enhances understanding and appreciation of the art form, and students learn to communicate, critique, and work with others through group choreography, improvisation sessions, and feedback exchanges.  These interactions are crucial in mirroring the nature of professional dance endeavors and broader societal engagements.


One critical aspect of my teaching philosophy is the integration of historical, cultural, and contextual studies of dance.  By exposing students to various dance genres, origins, and the sociopolitical factors influencing certain dance forms, I aim to cultivate a diverse, well-rounded understanding and appreciation for the depth and breadth of this art form.  This cultural and historical consciousness helps students place their practice in a larger context, enhancing their interpretative skills and social awareness.


My commitment to continuous learning and adaptation is persistent in the ever-evolving realm of dance, which consistently witnesses new trends, styles, and teaching methods.  I prioritize staying up-to-date with advancements in dance science that prioritize safe practice, physical health, and mental well-being to develop my students and myself as an educator.  Teaching is a fluid, ongoing process, with my students significantly influencing my evolution as an instructor.  I am committed to fostering a deep, enduring passion for dance among my students, encouraging a lifelong bond with this transformative art form.

Cultivating a Culture of Creativity and Inclusion

In a world brimming with diverse cultures, ideas, and experiences, I am uniquely positioned to observe a facet of that diversity firsthand.  It's not merely an observation; it's an honor.  This feeling stems from the realization that many before us have worked tirelessly to forge a path of inclusivity and fairness.  I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and practice as an educator.  This means I prioritize creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students, regardless of their backgrounds.  I strive to select materials and utilize approaches that foster a sense of representation and inclusivity.  Everyone should have equal opportunities to succeed and share their unique perspectives.  Ultimately, I aim to facilitate a safe educational experience that empowers students to reach their full potential.


Throughout my journey as an educator, I have had the privilege of working in diverse cultural and socio-geographic landscapes.  From indigenous populations in Hawaii to Hispanic and LatinX populations in California, including many immigrants and first-generation students, as well as students with diverse needs, IEPs, and refugees and asylum seekers, I have had the opportunity to engage with a wide range of students.  These experiences have taught me that every classroom is a microcosm of the world, bringing together individuals of different races, ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, abilities, and learning needs.


In pursuing equity, I recognize that treating all students equally does not necessarily foster fairness.  Instead, I commit to identifying and accommodating each learner's distinct needs, circumstances, and aspirations.  I have employed differentiated instruction strategies, providing various forms of content and assessments to cater to different learning styles and abilities.  For students with special needs, I have collaborated with specialists to integrate appropriate educational aids and technologies, ensuring an accessible learning environment.


Creating a safe and welcoming environment for my students is of utmost importance in my classroom.  I encourage my students to feel comfortable sharing their unique stories and perspectives. Honoring diversity of thought and experience leads to a richer and more inclusive learning environment. Throughout the school year, I carefully design projects and discussion topics that challenge my students to explore a wide range of global perspectives, encouraging them to think beyond their own experiences and develop empathy for others.  I aim to foster a sense of community and mutual respect among my students by creating a classroom culture that values diversity.


My dedication to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within education is an ongoing journey shaped by experiences, education, and reflection.  I continually seek to learn from my students, adjust my strategies, and embrace change to meet the needs of all learners.  I am driven by the belief that when we acknowledge and value what makes us unique, we create an enriching learning environment where every student has the opportunity to succeed and feel valued.

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