Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blood on the Dancefloor

The always insightful Jo has raised a very interesting point in her latest blog post. In short, she was talking about how Japanese schools have what ultimately equates to a "No Fail" policy so that even student who score as low as 25-30% in courses have their grades artificially inflated so that they can move on to the next level or next grade.

Reading about this, and the subsiquent comments to the post got me thinking about this whole issue from a different angle - my dance classes. Things are always fine and dandy each time I start learning a new dance style with a level 1 class. Everyone in the class is a beginner and no one is expected to know anything. But, when it comes time to register for the next level, you can pretty much group a class into 3 categories:
  • Group A: students who know what they are doing and who want to continue to learn
  • Group B: students who don't know what they are doing, but want to continue and are willing to practice extra
  • Group C: students who don't know what they are doing and should not be allowed on a dance floor for the overall good of the class - and the rest of mankind!

The reality is that some people should not be allowed to continue to a higer level as they have not mastered the information/skills/steps from the previous level.

But of course, the dance school wants to make as much money as possible. So they allow poeple to register for an advanced level even if they know full well that the person is not capable of handling the new curriculum. Sometimes you'll get a consciencious teacher who will take the offender(s) aside and try to coach them some more, but most often these poor students are left trying vainly to follow the instructions and master complex steps and patterns when they can barely do the basics. The best case scenario is that they frustrate the folks who have taken the time to practice the steps and have essentially "done the required readings!" The worst case scenario is that they can seriously injure their parter (or others on the dancefloor) if they don't know what they're doing. And we're not just talking a stubbed toe - I've been at the receiving end of some hand yanks that have left my shoulder aching for days!

I do applaude the fact that these individuals are very obviously out of their comfort zone and are trying something new in life. I still feel that I should not be made to suffer through someone else's learning process.

After all, I too am a student there.

I too am trying to learn.

I too should have the best possible chance to do so. Without fearing decapitation in the process!


CurlyGirlie said...

Hee Hee! I understand your trauma! Children cannot be failed coz they might not recover from the trauma but adults should be able to and tell ur dance school that they can make more money by having special coaching - it worked for us with all the tuitions we used to attend!

Jo said...

ooo don't get me started on mixed level classes! the good old 'bums on seats' (bums in leotards?) policies held in the name of furthering the cash inflow of an institute.

in our language schools you'll often (actually, more often than not) get students of very mixed abilities being put together because it suits the school. i've had pre-intermediate english classes consisting of elementary through to intermediate level students. it's an utter joke and a waste of everyones time.

but it brings in money.

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